Saint-Gobain Targets Energy Savers With Ferrari Glass

Date: 6 August 2009
Source: Bloomberg.com
Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Cie. Saint-Gobain SA, Europe’s biggest glassmaker, is turning to electrically charged “smart” windows that adorn Ferrari SpA’s Superamerica to counter slumping sales and fulfill European Union energy-saving norms.

Glass that alters tint or emits heat and light at the flick of a switch may bring in annual sales of 150 million euros ($213 million) within five years, said Thomas Bertin-Mourot, head researcher and marketer of the Paris-based company’s Quantum Glass unit.Revenue from Saint-Gobain’s biggest industries, automotive and construction, fell 24 percent in the first half.
 
“We don’t want to remain high-end,” Bertin-Mourot said in a telephone interview. “We want to develop the market, find some volume applications and reduce costs.” The aim is to use contracts with international companies such as Hilton Hotels Corporation and Apple Inc. to develop the technology and bring down costs.
 
Saint-Gobain and European rival Pilkington, owned by Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd., are developing glass to help customers comply with a European Union directive calling for a 9 percent cut in energy use by 2015. The French company’s “smart” glass costs about 10 times more than normal glass and Bertin-Mourot seeks to bring that ratio down to two or three times.

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