AGC Takes a Stake in the Triple Glazing Question

With triple glazing now hot topic, AGC’s Mark Rodgers considers the huge implications for the UK glass and glazing industry if triple glazing becomes the residential sector’s product of choice.

Whilst triple glazing is not new to the UK, it is only specified for a small percentage of total insulating glass production.Indeed, our demand for this option currently stands at less than 2% compared with 30% in the rest of Europe. For a glass manufacturer like AGC any growth in the UK’s triple glazing market could be viewed as an opportunity to sell more glass. However, we believe it’s important to look beyond the benefits for own business and to consider the potential impact of a move towards triple glazing for the industry as a whole, and our glass processing customers in particular.

That’s why AGC has signed up as one of the key stakeholders in The Triple Glazing Question, an industry forum hosted by Edgetech UK at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 10April 2014. This event will be an open discussion about what a move towards triple glazing means for all those involved in the glass and glazing industry, from systems companies to fabricators and installers, and the opportunities and challenges it raises.

AGC is keen to play a prominent part in debating the pros and cons of triple glazing, and we already have solutions should the trend for triple glazing continue. Particular attention should be made towards the increased external condensation that will result from the improvements in thermal performance that triple glazing will bring. AGC has a variety of options for triple glazing such as our toughenable Low-E range, including Planibel Low-E Antifog glass (practically eliminating external condensation) as well as a range of Low Iron glasses to meet the need for increased light transmission. So we’re ready, but are processors and fabricators ready to invest in the new machinery and production methods necessary to make triple glazed units cost efficiently? And if they can’t, do they risk being left behind?

Output for triple glazed units on a typical production line reduces significantly, therefore causing a considerable drop in capacity. Any growth in triple glazing production could well leave many companies facing reduced output and increased costs that they are unable to recoup. We simply don’t know if the market will recognise that it takes more glass, sealants, spacers, energy, processing time etc to produce a triple glazed unit and be prepared to pay more. Furthermore, charging a premium for higher performance IGUs may not be an option either as currently the energy ratings for triple glazed units are very much the same as for high performance double-glazed units. After all, A WER of A+ can be achieved with double or single glazing.

Whatever the outcome of the UK’s Triple Glazing Question, AGC believes it’s vital for everyone in the glass and glazing industry to get involved and have their say. That’s why we’re encouraging our customers to join us and other key stakeholders at this important industry forum in April. For more information and to register, visit: www.tripleglazingq.co.uk to secure your place.

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