Friday, January 1, 2010

Roller coasters, anyone? 2010 promises a bumpy ride

2009 has wound down, leaving in its trail blood, sweat and tears. Arch filed for bankruptcy; Coastal Glass ceased operation; Oldcastle and PPG closed plants; PPG slashed 2,500 jobs; and AGC laid off workers. It was a rough 12 months, to put it mildly.

To add to misery, in 2010, glass and glazing folks will face challenges in the form of cap and trade and health care reform. In a rare Christmas Eve vote, Senate Democrats passed the health care legislation by a 60-39 margin. The House passed its bill in November, and officials say by February the two sides will sort out its differences and pass the final version.

Some have labeled the legislation a “government takeover of health care.” Read a story on industry professionals’ concern about the matter.

Meanwhile, by brokering a climate deal in Copenhagen less than a couple of weeks ago, President Obama has committed himself to push for comprehensive climate legislation in the Senate this year. To deliver on the pledges that the president made to other world leaders, it will be essential to enact a legislation to cap the U.S. carbon dioxide output and allow polluters to trade emission permits.

Not pleasant news for the glass and glazing industry, a major emitter of greenhouse gas. Read a story on how cap and trade could hurt the industry.

In the field of codes and standards, the proposed revisions to ASHRAE 90.1 could have undesirable effects on the industry. Read story.

However, all is not gloom and doom. The bright spot is the economy finally beginning to turn. At the Outlook 2010 Executive Conference in October, economists said housing starts will expand 26 percent in 2010. While single-family housing starts will rise 30 percent, multifamily starts will advance 14 percent.

Unfortunately, the picture is not as positive in the commercial sector, the economists at the conference said. The recovery in commercial construction has been pushed back to 2011 at the earliest, assuming that credit markets continue to improve and lending conditions become more accommodative. In 2009, the decline for commercial buildings in square footage was 54 percent, and in dollars down 43 percent. For 2010, the loss of momentum will continue, though the declines will ease as contracting retreats another 7 percent.

Overall, the level of construction starts in 2010 is expected to climb 11 percent, the Outlook 2010 economists said.

What are your lessons learned from 2009? Will you apply those this year to improve your situation? Tell me how.

—By Sahely Mukerji, Senior editor, Glass Magazine


Anonymous said...

Buckle your seatbelts and drive safely! Take care when taking those corners -- you don't want to be thrown off your lane and into oncoming traffic. Use your GPS wisely. One wrong turn, and you'll be in a part of town that you definitely don't want to be in.

Anonymous said...

Viracon also laid off about 250 in Owatonna and about 165 in Georgia. They had a hiring freeze in Utah.

Anonymous said...

On a Strong note. The Glass Restoration business is booming.
The Glass Guru Corporation has grown from 1 location to 35 location in the last two years.
Check them out at

Anonymous said...

Glazing folks should invest in energy-efficient/solar glass. That's one niche that will grow this year.

Anonymous said...

All specialty coated glass, energy-efficient, high-performance glass will be in high demand this year, thanks to the president's green agenda. We'll get out of this, but it'll be slow and difficult. Slow and steady wins the race!

Anonymous said...

It comes as no surprise that Arch filed for bankruptcy. Hopefully they are doing some customer service changes during their reorganization (it sure does need it).

Desert Breeze Glass said...

We use to just install auto glass and windshields.We double in size just before the the economy to a downword turn. This allowed us to expand in to other areas in order to stay in business.Table top glass, windows and other lines.

Francisco Castillo said...

This article clearly shows a lot of politics and very little glass

Anonymous said...

stop dwelling on the negative? and post something exciting about the glass industry?