The Glass Performance Days (GPD) conference was this year held in Tampere, Finland, on 13–15 June.

Around 500 of the industry’s decision-makers, experts and architects worldwide attended the conference, which was focused on glass architecture and the environmental impact of buildings.

In the opening ceremony Scott Thomsen, President of the Global Flat Glass Group for Guardian Industries Corp, focused on the importance of continuous innovation.

Mr Thomsen said the industry has to increase the speed at which it works to distance the true competition and to secure its position.

He also pointed out that around 70-75% of global consumption is for building facades: “Growth for the glass industry will occur by increasing value creation and surface areas for facades. Innovation needs to be aligned to the market needs and trends.”

Kelly Schuller, CEO at Viracon, also talked about how to keep glass viable as a primary commercial building envelope component: “Floor-to-ceiling glass is a great choice for commercial building owners but is threatened by concerns about energy performance. Promoting proven, affordable existing technology is the best way to defend the all-glass façade,” he stated.

Jonathan Cohen, Global Business Director for Advanced Interlayers at DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions, focused on the global megatrends impacting the glass and construction market: “There is a growing need for protection against effects of severe weather, like hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes, for safety against the potential dangers of glass and for more security against terrorist attacks and thefts”, Mr Cohen said.

“The glass industry should get involved in building codes and resilient cities effort for safer glass and recognition of post glass breakage safety…We should also specify and adopt new advanced materials and technology to enhance safety. “

Dan Futter, Vice president of Dow Corning’s High Performance Building Solutions & Solar Solutions business, discussed how to face global industry challenges through product life cycle consideration.

“Energy regulations are getting ever stricter in an effort to meet targets set at international and national level. Ultimately, ‘near zero carbon emission buildings’ will become the norm and this puts pressure on the building envelope to perform to higher standards than current practice,” Mr Futter said.