Market Trends: Solar Control Glass Expected to Help Drive U.S. Flat Glass Market
Domestic demand for high-performance flat glass is expected to exceed $9 billion by 2017.
U.S. demand for high-performance flat glass products is forecast to rise 4.4% per year to 910 million ft2 in 2017, valued at nearly $9.2 billion. This will reportedly represent a substantial improvement from the performance of the market over the 2007-2012 period, when demand in area terms suffered an outright decline (see Table 1). These and other trends are presented in “High-Performance Flat Glass,” a recent study from The Freedonia Group Inc.
Demand for solar control glass is forecast to rise 12% per year to nearly $2.5 billion in 2017, a significant improvement from the pace of the 2007-2012 period. Consumption of solar control glass products is largely concentrated in the architectural market and will benefit from rapid increases in new building construction. Low-emissivity (low-e) glass is the most commonly used solar control product in residential window systems. Sales of low-e glass are expected to see especially fast gains through 2017.
Electrochromic mirrors represent the largest application for solar control glass outside of the architectural market and account for the bulk of smart glass demand. Sales of these products are expected to see strong growth, but will trail the average as growth in motor vehicle output lags behind the rapid gains in building construction. Smart window glass products—including electrochromic windows, suspended particle device (SPD) windows, and liquid crystal device (LCD) windows—will make strong gains but will continue to represent a minor share of the total market.
The security and safety glass segment holds the largest share of high-performance flat glass sales, accounting for over two-thirds of the total in 2012. Consumption of security and safety glass is projected to grow 6.8% per year to nearly $5.8 billion in 2017. The fastest gains are expected for laminated hurricane glass, although this will remain a regional product. In the motor vehicle market, laminated glass will increasingly be used in side and rear windows and roof applications, and will continue to take market share from tempered glass.
Demand for other high-performance flat glass products is also expected to be solid through 2017. Heads-up display windshields will post strong sales growth as these products become more common, although demand will remain largely confined to aircraft and higher-value motor vehicles. Demand for self-cleaning glass will rise at an especially rapid rate from a small 2012 base. Sales of other products, including anti-reflective glass, leaded glass, and electronics glass, will rise at a more moderate rate.