The glass we use in our windows and doors in the residential and commercial sectors is getting smarter, quickly. It’s not just becoming more and more energy efficient, but we as an industry are understanding better how glass can be used to help control the comfort and climate levels in buildings. Home owners are understanding the link between glazing and comfort too. This is where electrochromic glass is going to make it’s presence known.

What is electrochromic glass?

From niche to full blown market

A recent report from research company n-tech Research has looked into the growing EC market and has just announced a very positive outlook for the product. Here is a snippet from their findings:

A new report from industry analyst firm n-tech Research indicates the market for electrochromic (EC) glass and film systems will approach $3.0 billion in revenue by 2020, and keep growing to nearly $4.2 billion by 2023. Much of the revenue generation will come from the mature sector of self-dimming auto mirrors, but the real growth opportunities will be in smart windows for buildings and vehicles, as well as potentially new applications such as lenses for mobile devices.

Their market research suggests that the market for this product will stand at just under $1.5bn by the end of next year. So to predict growth to almost triple it’s market size in the space of just 7 years is impressive. There’s no clear indication as to whether this is based on American or global market figures. Although there are a number of international based glass companies mentioned within the report.

Here is a chart mapping the rise of electrochromic glass over the coming years, and in which industries it will grow most in:

The car industry looks set to do well from EC glass. But there is also a clear indication that there will be some steady growth in the residential market. This video, by Sage Glass, explains how EC glass works, and why it’s beneficial to buildings:

A product for more than just conservatory roofs

The benefits of this type of product are obvious in certain applications. Glazed extension roofs for example. It provides an ideal solution to stop the typical extreme temperature contrasts our conservatories have been subjected to for decades. Imagine the potential that this product has within the UK market alone. It could be massive.

But it may not be massive. This type of product does not come cheap. And nor should it. It is highly engineered, expensive to make, companies have invested vast sums of money to bring this technology to the glass sector. If it was cheap, it probably wouldn’t work. Therefore this type of product will naturally filter down to those home owners who have the funds to spend on this sort of thing and value their privacy and comfort.

Lets not restrict this to glass roofs though. The applications for EC glass are as large as the whole glass sector itself. This could be installed in all window and doors products in essence. It’s simply the pricing point which will limit it’s growth. If, as with all new technologies, price can come down over time without compromising on quality and build, EC glass will find it’s way into many more homes and commercial buildings not just here, but around the world.

It does present a fantastic new sales opportunity for those UK window and door companies proactive enough to seek it out and make it work within their product portfolios. It won’t be for everyone. And certainly not everyone can afford it. But it does show where the future of glass technology is going, and it’s a very bright and prosperous on at that.

Read the full n-tech Research report

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