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Markets and Growth

Routes to market

Most of the world’s float glass goes into buildings. Automotive applications account for around 10 percent.

In Architectural, basic glass can undergo two or more stages of processing before being installed as original or replacement windows and glazing systems, or used as a component in Solar Energy, and a variety of other growing applications.

Global glass usage



New buildings




Other (including Solar Energy)    


Market and competitive environment

The global market for flat glass* in calendar year 2011 was approximately 59 million tonnes. At the level of primary manufacture, this represents a value of around €24 billion. Of this tonnage, around 80 percent is consumed in windows for buildings, 10 percent in glazing products for automotive applications and 10 percent used in Solar Energy and other applications.

Europe, China and North America together account for over 70 percent of demand for glass. Europe is the most mature glass market and has the highest proportion of value-added products.

The NSG Group is one of four global manufacturers, who together produce 60 percent of the world’s high-quality float glass. Much of the world’s lower-quality float and sheet glass production is being replaced by high-quality float.

*  Glass manufactured in flat sheets (float, sheet and rolled), which may be further processed.  Excludes bottles, containers, fibreglass, rods, and tubes.

Value Growth - Buildings & Solar Energy


Growth Drivers

(solar and thermal control)

Energy-saving legislation and building regulations; reduction of energy gain and loss in buildings, decreasing the need for cooling and heating buildings.


Increasing legislative requirement for safety glass in certain applications. Requirement for transparency combined with security features. 

Fire protection

Requirement for good light transmission and compliance with regulations on fire protection. 

Noise control

Increasing noise levels caused by traffic, aircraft, etc., progressively backed by legislation. 


Reduction in use of detergents, safety at heights, extension of product range and features to increase functionality in commercial and domestic applications. 

Technical applications

Increased use of glass with special properties such as conductivity, neutrality and high transmission, for displays, transparent heating or cooling devices. 

Solar Energy

Demand for renewable energy, stimulated by government support and feed-in tariffs.