Editors Pick Top Stories of 2008
For many who work in the glass industry 2008 may be remembered
for much of what it brought, and even, in some cases, took away.
This past year saw the emergence of Building Information Modeling,
a continued push toward green building and solar technologies and
the increasing demand for decorative glazing products. The year
also took away some operating facilities and cancelled a number
of building contracts. Yes, 2008 was certainly a year of both gains
and losses. But what was the headline of 2008? Most everyone is
likely to have a different take on that, including the USGNN.com
editors. Here are some of our top headlines and stories for 2008.
"Of course the economy dominates everything," says USGlass/usgnn.com
publisher Debra Levy. "But if I had to choose top stories per
se, I would say the European Commission's fines against the glass
manufacturers, both for the boldness and the size of the fines.
Couple this with the fact that most of the companies charged deny
the accusation and it's quite a story. Although the actual fines
took place in November 2007, the impact was felt well into this
year due to the resulting litigation in this country. The emergence
of solar glazing as the next growth area for our industry is another
important story and bright spot for the industry now and in the
future," she added.
Editor Charles Cumpston sees a number of issues as being key headlines
"The economy, of course, has been the big story of 2008. Fortunately,
it has not had its full impact on the commercial construction industry
just yet. The continued growth in the last year of the green movement
has been a positive for the commercial glass and metal industry
because of the environmental friendly qualities of the materials
and the products that the industry has developed to fulfill the
need for energy efficiency. It was possible to assess all these
factors at the glasstec show in Düsseldorf, Germany, as the
global industry came together in one location. The shifting centers
of influence around the globe--China, Russia, Eastern Europe--point
out how much our industry has become international and the impact
that the global economy plays on our industry (CLICK
HERE for related story).
Editor Ellen Rogers also sees the state of the economy a key headline
"On January 16, 2008 we published information from the AIA
HERE to read that story) that stated: 'Led by demand for institutional
projects, the growth in 2008 is expected to be at a slower pace
than recent years, with commercial projects likely to see the most
decrease. Also there is expected to be continued volatility in the
costs of building materials.' Not long after, headlines about price
increases, plant shutdowns and layoffs started showing up rather
frequently on USGNN. On February 2 AGC Flat Glass North America
in Kingsport, Tenn., announced layoffs and then a few months later
announced plans for "realignment." On February 4 we ran
that Westshore Glass of Tampa, Fla., filed for bankruptcy (CLICK
HERE) and just a few weeks later announced its intention to
lay off 113 employees of its employees (CLICK
HERE). In more recent months, PPG has closed a plant and Viracon
announced layoffs in Statesboro, Ga., and Owatonna, Minn. This tough
economy will definitely continue to make headlines in 2009, possibly
even into 2010."
"It certainly has been a tumultuous year," agrees USGlass
editor Megan Headley, "and we've seen a number of company transformations.
Related to the AGC realignment noted above, glass companies began
to explore some new opportunities. Green trends remained hugely
important, but we also began to hear a tremendous amount of news
about solar energy and business opportunities for glass companies.
Back on February 13, Glasstech announced the formation of its new
solar systems business (CLICK
HERE for the announcement and HERE
to see related video interview). In May, Architectural Glass &
Aluminum Co. partnered with thin film producer Heliovolt to create
building integrated photovoltaic products (CLICK
HERE). Later that month, Cardinal announced plans to open a
solar panel factory (CLICK
HERE), and then in June Arch Aluminum & Glass followed suit
HERE). In October, solar energy was even the theme of this year's
biggest glass show, glasstec (CLICK
HERE). Now, in the last couple of weeks, we've even begun hearing
about transparent photovoltaic windows (CLICK
HERE) and other innovations, and I have no doubt this will increase
What do you think was the top story of the year? CLICK
HERE to discuss this and other stories on the USGNN.com message
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