Usage in Building Construction by the Numbers

By Nick St. Denis

Architectural glass usage in new building construction will remain at elevated levels in 2019, according to the annual forecast by Key Media & Research (KMR), USGlass parent company.

The volume of glass used in 2018 nonresidential building construction starts was up 2.5 percent compared to 2017, KMR projects. This uptick was driven by continued growth in the office sector, as well as a spike in educational building work. Depending on the size of projects, this level of volume includes glass being installed over the next year or two.

Looking ahead, glass usage in new nonresidential projects starting in 2019 will decline a slight 0.8 percent due to pullbacks in the strong office and lodging segments in the commercial category, as well as the amusement segment in the institutional category.

Despite the slight downtick in overall nonresidential, institutional building construction, which includes the educational and healthcare sector, is slated for growth in the year ahead. The volume of glass used in educational projects will be strong for the second straight year, and healthcare buildings will see an increase after edging down in 2018.

Architectural glass usage* in new nonresidential construction totaled 143 million square feet in 2017, increased to 147 million square feet in 2018 and is projected to total 146 million square feet in 2019. Multifamily construction will also contribute significantly to glass usage in the year ahead, with just over 109 million square feet of volume projected.

Nick St. Denis is the director of research for Key Media and
Research (KMR), publishing company for USGlass magazine. He can be
reached at

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