Crystal balls

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell wonders what will be the next big thing.

The long-term success of the glass and glazing industry, in my opinion, has a lot to do with trend-spotting, and getting up to speed with new products to meet those trends before the competition has chance to catch up.

Colour, flush sashes, composite doors, bi-folding doors, orangeries, aluminium… these are among the recent trends that have driven growth for many companies up and down the supply chain.

As the reports from various analysts and crystal ball gazers point to a less certain future in the construction industry, one can’t help wondering what will be the next new product that will encourage homeowners to upgrade and spend.

Maybe it will be (finally) solar power – this time without the need for government grants to drive interest. The reason I say this is because scientists have devised a way of producing glass that allow visible light to pass through, while absorbing the ultra-violet waves and turning them into energy.

The trials are at an early stage, but think of the opportunities available. Energy is getting more expensive, and not everyone is sold on the idea of installing huge solar panels on their roofs. Using sealed units to harness this technology seems like a no-brainer, and it could drive a new area of growth for our industry.