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EPBD creates opportunities for high-performance glazing

Europe“s glass industry will continue to lead the development of energy saving technologies in buildings, following the newly revised EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). The D…

Europe“s glass industry will continue to lead the development of energy saving technologies in buildings, following the newly revised EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). The Directive provides a framework for EU Member States to follow when setting energy efficiency targets, and has been created to address the limitations of the previous Directive in 2002. As a key member of Glass for Europe, the NSG Group (who acquired Pilkington plc in 2006) has been at the forefront of the push for EPBD, lobbying for MEPs to recognize the important role glass can play in helping to deliver the EU“s targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The main headlines are: – This strong and ambitious Directive will result in huge opportunities for Europe“s glass industry to market high performance glass products. – All new buildings will need to be nearly zero energy“ by 2020, with new requirements for existing structures. – The implementation of the Directive in each country will create employment opportunities across Europe. – The NSG Group and Glass for Europe will continue to lobby governments to ensure consistent application at national level. The newly adopted EPBD provides a clearer framework for Member States. It contains guidelines for increased energy efficiency; with a focus on major improvements to existing buildings, as well as requirements for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy“ by 2020. The guidelines affect all existing buildings over 50 sq.m., with member states required to ensure that minimum “cost optimal“ energy performance standards are met whenever a building undergoes a major renovation (defined as being when either 25% of the value of the building, or 25% of its surface, is being renovated). Building owners, whether commercial or residential, will also be obliged to use high performance glass whenever they replace a building“s windows. As a result of this, the EPBD provides an enormous opportunity for the glass industry to market high performance products. Glass is recognized as one of the key components impacting on the energy efficiency of buildings, and there are a number of existing products that can help to achieve the new requirements. For example, low-emissivity glass from the Pilkington Optitherm range helps ensure minimal heat loss in colder climates, by reflecting the heat back into the building and therefore reducing the need for heating in cold weather conditions. High performance solar control glass from the Pilkington Suncool range helps minimize heat gain in warm climates, by reflecting the solar heat out of the building whilst allowing daylight through the glass. This provides a bright and comfortable living and working environment for the building“s occupants. Under the new directive, Member States are required to consider offering financial incentives to create more sustainable environments in existing buildings. Homeowners and small businesses may struggle to invest in more efficient windows, even given the longer-term cost savings, and the Directive recognizes the importance of government support for all energy efficient refurbishment programmes. The NSG Group will be at the heart of attempts to show national governments the best ways to implement financial incentives in order to comply with the Directive, whilst supporting Europe“s glass industry, driving the market for high performance glass products. EPBD also requires Member States to invest more in renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic cells and solar thermal collectors. This will create even stronger demand for products such as Pilkington Sunplus and NSG TEC, used in photovoltaic cells, providing another boost to the glass industry. These products will play a crucial role in the delivery of nearly zero energy“ buildings. The NSG Group alone already dedicates four of its worldwide float lines to producing glass for this purpose each year, and this is likely to increase significantly as governments look to implement the Directive by 2012. Each country in the EU will need to put in place a system of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for all buildings which are constructed, sold or rented out to a new tenant and for all public buildings. These certificates will include recommendations for energy improvement measures for major renovations or for individual building elements such as energy efficient windows. EPCs are already common in many countries, but the recast of the Directive is likely to raise their prominence in the decision-making process during the purchase or rent of buildings. Furthermore, governments could link EPCs to financial incentives that would encourage owners to upgrade their buildings with a range of measures, including high performance glazing. With the current financial situation across Europe, the extra employment created by an increase in demand for high performance glazing products will be an additional benefit. Local economies across Europe will be boosted by an increase in production, and this in turn will create new jobs across all sectors, from manufacture through processing and distribution to installation. The new regulations will also create far better living and working environments for people across the continent. Better buildings, along with reduced energy bills, will result in an increased standard of living and improved health and well-being. This is not to mention the obvious positive environmental implications of EPBD. Phil Brown, European Regulatory Marketing manager for Pilkington Building Products, said: We are delighted that the EU has approved the EPBD recast we have been campaigning for. It provides an excellent opportunity for the glass industry to showcase its best and most innovative products, whilst helping to tackle climate change. We are anticipating great demand for energy saving glass products as a result of the Directive, and ranges of products such as Pilkington Optitherm and Pilkington Suncool will help serve the needs of governments and architects seeking to comply with the new regulations for many years to come. The NSG Group will be working closely with Member State governments to ensure they meet the targets set out in the EPBD effectively and efficiently. Some areas of the Directive, including what defines nearly zero energy“, are open to local interpretation, and its Regulatory Marketing team will be working closely with Glass for Europe to lobby Member States for a strong implementation of the guidelines. The Group will push to ensure that the glass industry is able to make the most of this huge opportunity, helping these targets to be realised across Europe, and will continue to work closely with the relevant local glass associations to realise this potential. To support this vision, the NSG Group will continue to lead the global glass market in the creation of innovative solutions for today“s energy efficiency requirements.

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