The weather might have been a bit dreary, but the glass industry turned out for the opening of the 18th Glass Expo Midwest, being held today and tomorrow at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill. Seminars were held throughout the day until 3 p.m. when the trade show opened. The show continues from 10 a.m-3 p.m. tomorrow, and the strong education program has attracted contract glaziers and retailers alike.

The Glass Detective

The show “Mystery Detectives” has nothing on glass expert Dr. Paul Duffer. “Glass will tell you its secrets if you listen,” said Duffer, technical adjunct for the Glass Committee, International Window Cleaning Association, and noted authority on glass and glass cleaning. Duffer is also retired from PPG Industries after 31 years there.

“And its biggest secret involves water. We see glass stored not only where it is rained upon, but next to machinery that’s cleaned with water from hoses. People think nothing of it because, after all, ‘it’s just water’” he said, “but tap water can stain the glass and render it useless.” Duffer’s presentation included example after example of glass that had been stained, discolored, leached or otherwise aesthetically destroyed along with the conditions that caused the problem.

The Futurist

Richard Voreis likes to look at the future—not in a fortune-teller type of way, but with an eye toward strategic planning. The chief executive officer of Consulting Collaborative provided attendees with a look into the future. Among his predictions:

  • The U.S is the fastest growing PV user in the world through 2015;
  • The amount of glass and metal being used in interiors is now equal and may surpass the amount of glass on the exterior;
  • Building integrated project delivery will grow;
  • Building remodeling, updating building appearances–and function–wise, as well updating for energy considerations will continue to grow;
  • 80 percent of the buildings in this country are prime candidates for remodeling. More than 500,000 buildings a year undergo exterior remodeling. The Southern area of the country undergoes the most remodeling;
  • Exterior remodeling is most popular on retail storefronts, then educational institutions, office buildings, then lodging and the least popular is the health care arena;
  • The building owner has the most buying influence over remodeling;
  • None of the major architectural manufacturers are active in the interior market;
  • Aluminum usage inside the building is growing faster than any other building material;
  •  The glass industry is lagging behind architects and general contractors in adopting BIM. “BIM is the most significant new building technology to hit the glass industry in my lifetime,” said Voreis; and
  • Automatic generation of takeoff through BIM computer estimating software can be done today, although it is not widely adapted yet.

Voreis also identified what he feels are the great challenges in the industry. He cited the decline in trade union and apprentice training leading to a decline in craftsmanship and quality. He also mentioned how difficult it is to find skilled and trained candidates for the jobs we have.

Glass Expo Midwest continues tomorrow and the trade show is open from 3-8 p.m. tonight. Stay tuned to™ for more show reports.