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Flat glass demand grows with rising green building construction

green building

Flat glass demand grows with rising green building construction

The process of glassmaking has made significant strides since the time glass was first discovered thousands of years ago. Today, the field of glassmaking has depicted considerable improvements, as is evident in the escalating demand for glass products in almost every sector. Automotive and construction – sectors that are considered as the building blocks of an economy are among the top contributors toward the global flat glass market share.

However, while several sectors are exploiting the benefits of flat glass and its various forms to manufacture different products, the environmental concerns with respect to glass waste are growing. Populations across the world are becoming aware of the hazards of improper glass disposal. According to the Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the U.S. disposes off an astounding 10 million metric tons of glass every year. However, only one-third of this waste gets recycled.

Another surprising study by Eco Watch states that glass bottles are causing more pollution than plastic ones since it is mined from rare materials and consumes more fossil fuels to manufacture and ship to other places. An article by Forge Recycling states that the glassmaking process releases various harmful gases, such as sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxide.

Therefore, the concept of glass recycling is picking up the pace in many regions. The article further suggests that recycling the glass waste can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 314 tons and save up to 345,000 kWh of energy.

Green building construction gains momentum:

The concept of eco-friendly construction is gaining traction among customers and companies alike to reduce their carbon footprint. Various advanced technologies are being introduced in the process of glassmaking which has made flat glass among the most preferred products in the construction of green buildings. According to glass and windows solutions company AIS, conventional buildings can consume nearly 40% of energy and the construction itself can cause the generation of solid waste, which can disturb the natural ecosystem.

Several countries are overcoming this challenge by achieving their goals in the construction of green buildings. For example, in 2020, India achieved 75% of the ‘Green Building Footprint’ target, as per a report by the Indian Green Building Council. This creates opportunities to use various advanced versions of flat glass products.

Solar control glasses are being manufactured by leading companies as they reflect heat or UV rays, which can make the buildings more energy efficient. Moreover, 100% of glass can be recycled, which automatically makes it an ideal product in green buildings. Glass can also reduce the overall weight of the building and offer advanced thermal insulation, thereby increasing its demand among architects and construction firms.

Use of glass in interior designing:

The field of interior designing is ever-evolving as new designs and trends make way for more sophisticated yet stylish home settings. Many reputed interior designers have taken cognizance of the importance of combining environmental sustainability with advanced designs. They are incorporating broken glass shards into their designs that will not only help them achieve their glass recycling and sustainability goals but also enrich a dull space with beautiful colors and shapes.

Ceramic glass is becoming popular among interior designing experts as they are being heavily used to construct fireplaces. Fireplaces often pose the threat of accidental fires, on account of which contractors use this glass as a shield as it can withstand extreme heat.

Demand for laminated glass rises:

Laminated glass may hold a significant share of the global flat glass market by 2027. Laminated glass is being extensively used by several end-user sectors as it can act as an effective alternative to conventional glass due to its high strength and uniformity in construction. It is typically used in buildings that require robust security, such as police stations & vehicles and government establishments.

Laminated glass can also be used in buildings that are at a high risk of being affected by hurricanes or other natural calamities. Its other advantages include reduced emissions, high security, decreased noise pollution, and wide range of designs, which make it highly useful for end-users.

The global flat glass market trends will be positively impacted in the coming years as the demand for advanced technologies in glassmaking is growing. Moreover, several end-users in the construction and interior design sectors are shifting towards combining environmental sustainability in their designs and blueprints to fulfill the need for eco-friendly homes and workspaces among consumers.

The automotive sector across the world is expanding at a strong pace, considering the immense demand for vehicles among the younger generation. This has greatly influenced the demand for auto glass to produce unbreakable yet stylish windows.

Reputed organizations, such as Schott AG, Saint Gobain, Astro Cam, Dillmeier Glass Company, CSG Architectural, Corning Inc., Euroglas GmbH, Oldcastle Building Envelope, Paragon Tempered Glass, and GrayGlass Company, among several others, are producing cutting-edge versions of flat glass for a wide range of sectors.

They are also entering into partnerships and merger & acquisition agreements to strengthen their production capabilities and enhance their customer base. For instance, Germany’s specialty glass manufacturing company Schott AG and the Serum Institute of India (SII) came together in a joint venture in August 2021 to enhance SII’s global supply of pharmaceutical products with the help of Schott’s high-quality pharmaceutical packaging.


Copper Prices to Slump in 2022 on Rising Supply

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Copper – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The average annual copper price is forecast to drop by 6% y-o-y to $8,800 per tonne this year. Boosting supply in the global copper ore market is to push prices down, while the global demand languishes with slowed construction activity in China.

According to World Bank’s data and October outlook, the average annual copper price soared by 51% y-o-y to $9,317 per tonne in 2021 but is set to decline approximately to $8,800 per tonne this year, as the global output recovers from the Сovid crisis.

The forecast is shaped by boosting copper ore supply thanks to the launch of the Kamoa-Kakula mine in the Congo, while global demand is reducing with slowed down construction activity in China. The mine owner, Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines, has announced its plans to increase production from 106K tonnes in 2021 to 340K tonnes in 2022.

Global Copper Production

In 2020, the global output of copper fell to 20M tonnes, dropping by -2.3% compared with the previous year’s figure. In value terms, copper production decreased to $136.3B, estimated at export prices.

The country with the largest volume of copper production was Chile (5.7M tonnes), accounting for 28% of total output. Moreover, copper production in Chile exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest producer, Peru (2.2M tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by China (1.7M tonnes), with an 8.3% share.

Global Copper Exports

In 2020, approx. 1.7M tonnes of copper were exported worldwide, growing by 16% compared with 2019 figures. In value terms, supplies surged to $11.1B (IndexBox estimates).

Zambia represented the major exporter of copper globally, with the volume of exports amounting to 675K tonnes, which was nearly 40% of total supplies. Chile (283K tonnes) ranks second with a 17% share, followed by Bulgaria (7.1%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5%). Belgium (76K tonnes), Namibia (61K tonnes), Spain (56K tonnes), Slovakia (55K tonnes), South Africa (52K tonnes), Pakistan (38K tonnes), the Philippines (34K tonnes) and South Korea (31K tonnes) were a long way behind the leaders.

In value terms, Zambia ($4.2B) remains the largest copper supplier, comprising 38% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Chile ($1.7B), with a 16% share of total supplies. It was followed by Bulgaria, with a 9.4% share.

Source: IndexBox Platform


The Future of Contech

As a “bricks and mortar” industry heavily reliant on equipment, machinery, and a hands-on workforce, the construction sector has been slow to integrate technology. From 1947 – 2010, productivity in construction was at a plateau. But other industries, such as manufacturing and agriculture, were quick to embrace technological advancements and experienced massive increases in productivity. In recent years construction technology is finally having its insurgence.

Construction technology is reshaping the industry, helping meet deadlines, keeping project costs to a minimum, and ensuring worker safety in hazardous environments. It is possible that these new advancements are just what is needed to help manufacturers, distributors, and retailers mitigate the supply chain crisis.

Investment in Contech

By October 2021, U.S. construction technology investor funding reached a record-breaking $2.1 billion, more than a 100% increase from 2020. Crunchbase, an investment information platform, collected Construction Dive analysis data and found that this year early-stage funding in construction technology increased close to 100% from 2020, while late-stage funding jumped more than 150% percent in that same time. This means that early-stage funding in 2021 reached $738.3 million, while late-stage funding increased to $1.1 billion in the United States alone.

Henry D’Esposito, construction research lead at JLL, explained these record-breaking numbers, “Basically two or three years’ worth of construction tech adoption got squeezed into the nine months post-pandemic because everyone was shifting to being offsite, socially distancing and virtual tools.”

Current Contech Innovations

Introducing new technology to the construction field will benefit the entire construction value chain by increasing efficiency. And using big data and artificial intelligence throughout the design and construction process can transform the building sector. As well as help provide sustainable, and affordable housing.

Examples of technology implemented in the field include innovations such as handheld scanning devices. Scanning devices are not only easy to use, but significantly cut costs, and don’t require specialist knowledge or experience to carry out an accurate and highly detailed scan. Other technological advancements in the field include last-mile delivery platforms, digital marketplaces, and planning tools.

Startups, such as GoFor, Voyage Control, and Soil Connect, work to bring innovation to construction technology. Digital technology, like artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things, have improved construction design and production. The internet of Things refers to physical objects such as scanners that are embedded with sensors and software that can connect with other devices and exchange data over the internet.

How Contech Can Help Solve the Supply Chain Crisis

The digital transformation of the field is emerging as a powerful tool to help construction contractors to overcome supply chain disruptions and material procurement. Greg Leung, the CEO of Connect Homes, a California-based builder delivering high-tech housing solutions, says that technology strongly impacts the global supply chain.

Peter Jackson, CFO of national distributor Builders FirstSource told Forbes that its manufacturing has increased 50% since the beginning of the year as builders look for ways to take time out of the build cycle with prefabricated solutions. Prefabricated, or Prefab, construction that is powered by digital technology can help safely create sustainable, high-quality housing at speed. Prefab houses are innovatively assembled from components such as walls and roofs that are produced in factories and delivered to the site for assembly. This makes building houses cheaper and more efficient.

Builders FirstSource is actively expanding manufacturing facilities across the country and signing new ones with regularity now, providing open-ended truss systems, roof trusses, wall panels, and other products that take work off the job site for more efficiency. Builders FirstSource also is experimenting with robotics for a more automated process. In 2019, the company acquired Raney Construction, an innovative offsite construction company that reduces time and labor in the home building process.

To mitigate the supply chain crisis, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must embrace technological advancements in the construction field. The future of Contech is exciting and innovative, with operational benefits to boot. Investments in Contech are growing exponentially with no signs of stopping.


Sustainable Warehousing: New Requirements to ‘Green’ Online Retail Demand

Although the pandemic rapidly increased the demand for online shopping, the e-commerce industry has been experiencing rapid growth for years. Spurred by consumer desire to have unlimited choices instantly, e-commerce is expected to represent 26 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. by 2025 — resulting in the need for an additional 330 million square feet of distribution space. With ambitious plans to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050, warehousing and logistics organizations have an obligation to decrease the industry’s carbon footprint. This means taking a low-carbon approach to construction and building maintenance, as well as improving site selection and availability for warehouses to reduce transportation emissions.

Warehouse Site Selection

The increase in e-commerce has inevitably led to a rise in demand for warehouse space. Ideally, providers are seeking options closer to where their consumers live — near major metropolitan areas. However, warehouses require expansive spaces, with most key players in the industry looking for facilities over 100,000 square feet or even 250,000 square feet. This can make it challenging to find suitable sites to meet new demand, hiking up costs for warehousing land. Additionally, distribution centers are finding it difficult to locate existing assets to lease or purchase that meet these requirements. Many end up looking for new builds or refurbishing abandoned commercial assets, such as malls or office spaces.


Currently, most warehousing demand is coming from the Western U.S., including markets such as Phoenix and California’s Central Valley. These areas are heavily populated but also offer vast land resources close to city centers. Moving further outside of cities and major metropolitan areas can increase availability and decrease cost, but it has an adverse impact on the environment. When distribution hubs are located farther from where the demand is, journeys will be longer, increasing carbon emissions. In order to improve the sustainability of the industry, government strategies are needed to reduce land requirements for distribution centers, allowing them to be placed closer to where consumers live. In circumstances where this isn’t possible, companies need to consider means to lower the emissions caused by distribution strategies, such as using Electric Vehicles (EVs) to transport products to consumers.

Repurposing existing spaces can help reduce the carbon emissions of warehousing sites, as it reuses resources and potentially allows for shorter distribution timelines. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work required to get these facilities up to standard for modern warehousing and manufacturing needs. Another key trend that will improve site selection by allowing for smaller horizontal square footage and improved proximity to city centers is the growing popularity of vertical warehouses. In metropolitan areas where horizontal land is not an option, logistics facilities are going vertical, creating multi-floor warehouses and manufacturing sites. Logistics demands are changing as new industries enter the market, including food services. This has inspired innovation in the design of buildings.

Low-carbon Construction and Operation

According to a United Nations Environment program study, buildings and new construction are responsible for huge carbon emissions, accounting for 36 percent of global energy use and 39 percent of annual energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. With warehousing requirements increasing, it is a pivotal time for this industry to evaluate construction-related emissions and consider environmentally aware building methods.

Modular construction has been used across several sectors with great success, including life sciences and residential construction, and these same practices can be applied to warehousing and logistics. Modular construction takes place off-site in manufacturing facilities, with completed designs moved on-site for installation. This can reduce material waste, as it uses a controlled environment for building. It also creates reusable, standardized building designs. Because the building parts are plug-and-play, it also makes the demolition of buildings more sustainable as the units can be removed when they are no longer needed, then repurposed elsewhere. Using hydrogen-powered transportation to move modular projects on-site can help further reduce carbon emissions, but this new trend is only sustainable if companies invest in hydrogen manufacturing plants.

The materials used in warehouse construction are also important. Utilizing steel building frames can reduce wear and tear on the building. It’s also recyclable and can be reused on other projects. Reusing materials from other projects, or using materials that have lower embodied carbon, can bring down the carbon footprint of the building. All materials used in warehouse construction need to be carefully considered if a company wants to reach sustainability goals.

Sustainable practices should also be followed when the building is in use. In a warehouse environment, energy efficiency is important, but it must be balanced against workers’ needs. Workspaces must be illuminated and heated properly to keep workers safe and comfortable. Implementing energy-efficient lighting and heating, as well as using alternative energy sources, can help meet sustainability goals while managing requirements for workers. Technology can be used to monitor energy efficiency, manage inventory and create more efficient internal processes, thereby reducing overall energy consumption.

Smarter warehouses are also needed, whereby technology can be implemented to reduce consumption. Warehousing is now implementing robotics to reduce manual labor requirements while improving efficiency. Although the use of robotics is mostly to improve productivity, when used in conjunction with other sustainable design initiatives, the results can reduce carbon emissions. For example,, a retailer out of China, opened an automated warehouse in 2018 that boasted only four employees but 200,000 daily package fulfillment. When China announced its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, began exploring low-carbon, innovative solutions for warehousing, such as solar panels to power the robots. As new technologies emerge, building considerations will need to change. For example, the use of drones in delivery means that spaces need to accommodate charging stations and landing pads. In new warehouses, companies will need to look towards new technology trends to ensure buildings are prepared for the future.

Traditionally thought of as straightforward projects, warehouses are becoming increasingly complicated. New design, technology and sustainability requirements are forcing companies to innovate in order to develop forward-facing warehouses that will meet future demand. At the same time, increased demand is forcing companies to accelerate timelines while reducing costs. Traditionally reserved for complex life sciences projects, project control consultants will become increasingly necessary on new builds, as well as refurbishing projects.

Environmentally Aware Warehousing and Logistics

Large e-commerce companies are starting to see the importance of creating environmentally sustainable operations. Many U.S. companies that moved manufacturing capabilities overseas are now looking to reinvest in U.S. infrastructure to reduce shipping timelines. California’s World Logistics Center is aiming to be the most sustainable center of its kind in the world, investing in green vehicles and green technology, rooftop solar panels and conservation grants, among other efforts. Other large logistics players are also making promises to reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

These positive changes show that the industry is ready to ‘green’ online retail demand. To do so, there needs to be serious considerations around where and how warehouses and logistics centers are being built. The benefits for the operators are there — a low-carbon approach to construction can lower future operational costs. But it also has a larger impact on future industries that are experiencing increased demand, such as data centers and life sciences. If logistics can show the benefits and ease of sustainable construction and design, it can pave the way for future sustainable construction booms.


Damien Gallogly is Vice President, Americas West Region at Linesight and has over 17 years experience in the construction industry. As a project controls expert, he has worked on a number of large-scale projects, and benefits from considerable international experience across the U.S., UK, Ireland, the Middle East, and Asia. This gives him an in-depth understanding of working on major developments and complex projects, from early engagement through to project closeout. Damien has worked with a range of multinational clients, supporting their development and ambitious programs with valued, strategic counsel.

This article originally appeared here. Republished with permission.


How To Protect Yourself From Any Potential Dangers In The Construction Zone

Construction projects are quite important for maintaining and reforming our infrastructure and roadways. However, construction site workers are exposed to a high risk of accidents due to perilous working conditions. They are required to use heavy tools and machinery, work at dangerous heights, and in radioactive or hazardous environments. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, workplace fatalities increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, and most of these accidents involved vehicle crashes in construction zones. If you work at a construction site and want to take the right measures to protect yourself, follow these essential steps.

Causes Of Construction Zone Accidents

Work zone accidents may be a result of drivers speeding or making sudden lane shifts while passing by the construction zone. When there are unexpected lane shifts, vehicles often swerve to avoid collisions, and this leads to more accidents near construction sites.  Large trucks are less stable which can cause them to lose balance and sway away from the road, causing cargo spills. Cargo spills and road accidents expose workers to dangerous hazards at work. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were approximately 18,000 truck accidents in construction areas, and 228 fatalities in 2018 as a result of these construction site crashes. Construction site accidents may also involve:

-Falling from heights

-Lifting heavy objects and straining the spine in the process

-Slipping when working on uneven or slippery surfaces

-Tripping over objects or cables

-Being distracted by loud noise and losing focus

-Electric shocks when handling live wires

Report As Soon As Possible

You need to report the accident to the employer as soon as it occurs. Take photos of your injury and the damage caused and show them to your employer. This can aid you in court and can help document the accident scene before the evidence is lost.

Seek Legal Assistance

Contacting a professional attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. A lawyer will provide support and guide you through the legal process after a workplace accident occurs. If you’ve been injured in a work zone accident, you deserve proper compensation for your losses and injuries. For instance, in a highway construction zone accident, the driver or trucking company should be held liable. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and make claims against the other party’s insurance company.

Make Sure Your Employer Is Following Health and Safety Law

Your employer should also be held responsible for the safety of their workers during construction projects. They have to take protective measures that include:

-Putting up a warning sign with bright flaggers to alarm drivers that this is a designated work zone

-Alerting drivers when there’s a lane shift near the work zone

-Placing barriers between the road and construction area

-Using lights to divert vehicles and trucks away from the work zone

-Safe-proofing the work area

-Providing safety gear

-Training employees to follow all safety procedures

If they fail to foster adequate health and safety conditions on construction sites, they should also be questioned and held liable. Work accident attorneys assist workers in recovering maximum compensation for their losses including lost wages, medical bills, physiotherapy, etc.

Wear Your Protective Gear At All Times

Workers should wear their protective gear at all times when they’re working in construction zones. Make sure your safety boots are high enough and provide the perfect grip to guard your feet. Never forget to wear a hard hat to protect your skull, as well as vests that are made of non-conducting materials. Eye and face protection should be worn all day to avoid harmful chemicals, poisonous gases, vapors, debris, loose particles, and metal from entering your eyes and causing serious injuries and infections when you’re chipping or welding materials.

Avoid Unfamiliar Tools

To reduce the chances of accidents, don’t work with equipment that you haven’t used before. If a machine isn’t working, don’t try to fix it or tamper with it. Only use the tools that you were trained to use because a single mistake can cost you a lot. If you choose to handle unfamiliar tools and something goes wrong, your employer may claim that you are the one responsible for the accident, and can refuse to offer any compensation.

Working in construction zones can be dangerous and stressful. It is of utmost importance that you avoid all potential hazards and learn how to prevent them. You also need to know your rights at work, and that you should be protected. If you keep these steps in mind and follow all safety precautions, you will be at a much lower risk of accidents and injuries.

hardboard exports

Construction Boom Keeps Global Hardboard Exports Solid

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Hardboard – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Global hardboard exports increased by +1.1% y-o-y to 3.6M cubic meters last year. Germany heads the list of the largest hardboard exporters worldwide, supplying 45% of its export volume to the U.S., France and Poland. In 2020, Brazil, Thailand, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Belgium and Canada recorded the most prominent export growth. 

Hardboard Exports by Country

In 2020, the amount of hardboard exported worldwide grew by +1.1% to 3.6M cubic meters. In value terms, hardboard exports accounted for $2B (IndexBox estimates) last year.

Germany (959K cubic meters), distantly followed by France (426K cubic meters), Belgium (398K cubic meters), and Poland (394K cubic meters) were the largest exporters of hardboard, together comprising 60% of total exports. The following exporters – China (140K cubic meters), Brazil (138K cubic meters), Russia (108K cubic meters), Belarus (103K cubic meters), Canada (92K cubic meters), Thailand (74K cubic meters), Turkey (68K cubic meters), Spain (67K cubic meters) and Romania (64K cubic meters) – together made up 24% of total exports.

In 2020, Brazil, Thailand, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Belgium and Canada displayed the highest paces of growth. Last year, Brazil emerged as the fastest-growing exporter worldwide. Russia experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, France, Poland, Belarus and China illustrated a downward trend over the same period.

In value terms, Germany ($815M) remains the largest hardboard supplier worldwide, comprising 40% of global exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Poland ($239M), with a 12% share of global exports. It was followed by France, with a 7% share.

In 2020, the average hardboard export price amounted to $561 per cubic meter, waning by -1.9% against the previous year. In 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Turkey, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Major Markets for Hardboard Supplied from Germany

The U.S. (224K cubic meters), France (114K cubic meters) and Poland (90K cubic meters) were the main destinations of hardboard exports from Germany, together accounting for 45% of total exports. In 2020, the highest increase in supplied volume was in the U.S., while shipments for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the U.S. ($191M) remains the key foreign market for hardboard exports from Germany, comprising 23% of total exports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by France ($94M), with a 12% share of total exports. It was followed by Poland, with a 7.4% share.

Source: IndexBox Platform


Soaring Construction Activities to Underscore the Global Fireclay Tiles Market Share

Exponential demand for the production of tiles, ceramics, and firebricks from the construction sector will bolster the global fireclay tiles market volume. Fireclay tiles are highly sought-after owing to their ability to resist high temperatures and thermal and chemical stresses. These tiles are prevalently used for a slew of high-temperature applications, including commercial, residential, and other industrial manufacturing settings.

An upsurge in construction activities will bode well for industry players that are vying to expand their property development portfolios. Apart from the robust construction industry growth, expansion of the food industry will also boost the market share. Additionally, the ongoing trend for sourcing environmentally friendly materials will also contribute to the business outlook.

According to Global Market Insights, Inc., the fireclay tiles market will witness appreciable gains by 2027.

The global outlook faced hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic following severe supply chain disruptions. The outbreak created a plethora of short- and long-term business challenges that led to temporary shutdown or closure of construction projects. Meanwhile, a plunge in automotive production and modest growth in the food & beverage sector also dented the outlook.

However, given the fast-growing momentum of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, construction activities have started picking up pace. Manufacturing and construction industries are expanding at a notable pace, underscoring the demand for fireclays tiles.

The demand for fireclays will be overtly noticeable in the residential settings, fueled by a surge in home renovation activities. Besides, the construction of outdoor spaces has witnessed a notable jump as patio professionals and landscape contractors are witnessing an increased demand from consumers. It is worth noting that homeowners have upped their focus on reconfiguring or updating both their indoor and outdoor spaces.

in the line of the rising number of infrastructural projects, the construction sector is poised to be a major recipient of fireclay tiles in coming years. Most notably, the construction of stadiums and other infrastructure projects would pan well for the business forecast. For instance, the launch of the Central 70 project in Colorado and the construction of Gordie Howe International Bridge in Detroit. Infrastructure development activities like these would add fuel to the fireclay tiles industry outlook.

The Middle East and Africa market will emerge as a promising region following the rollout of new economy-boosting construction projects. Prominently, the scheduled FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar in 2022 has paved the way for the development of new infrastructure, which included the stadium, airport expansions, new metro lines, and hotels. Major dynamics driving the growth of fireclay tiles are increased availability of raw materials and technological innovations to develop better composites.

Stakeholders are also expected to inject funds into the Asia Pacific fireclays tiles market to capitalize on the demand from the expanding food & beverage sector in China and India. The trend of using environmentally friendly low thermal conductivity materials will bolster the demand for fireclay tiles in the food processing sector. Furthermore, emerging economies in the region are also likely to witness increasing demand for fireclay tiles in the construction of residential and commercial buildings.

The global fireclay tiles market is competitive with players such as Fireclay Tile Inc., Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti, Porcelanosa Grupo, Crossville Inc. (Curran Group, Inc.), Atlas Concorde, Mulia Industrindo, Mohawk Industries, and RAK Ceramics, among several others.

These companies will potentially focus on organic and inorganic strategies such as mergers & acquisitions, product launches, R&D, innovations, and partnerships. For instance, in September of 2020, RAK Ceramics announced the up-gradation of its manufacturing line in anticipation of a shifting trend towards bigger-sized ceramic floor tiles. The company is planning to upgrade and enhance its production lines and emphasize sustainability as well.

Notable rise in construction activities and the food & beverage industry will continue to underpin the fireclay tiles industry outlook in the next few years.


Prices in the American Sawnwood Market Went Through the Roof Amid Construction Boom

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘U.S. Sawmill Products Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2025’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2020, the construction boom in the U.S. set off an unprecedented demand for sawnwood, outpacing the rate of recovery from disruptions due to Covid. With stocks depleting, product prices have skyrocketed over the previous year. From February 2021, lumber mill utilization began to fall following a softened activity in the construction sector. According to the results of the year, growth in the sawnwood market is predicted, stimulated by a continuing increase in construction.

Key Trends and Insights

The construction boom in the U.S. has driven a record demand for sawnwood in 2020. Throughout the year lumber mills were at 80-90% utilization. Sawnwood production increased by 5% y-o-y compared to 2019 and reached 71M tonnes. Lumber futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange peaked at $1,515 in May 2021, up 300% from the same period in 2020.

The maximum utilization of lumber mill capacities was suitable in January 2021 (92%), but in February it dropped to 83%, and lumber production declined due to a curtailment in demand from the construction sector. Despite the record demand for new housing, construction companies are slowing down their activity due to land shortages, rapidly growing material costs and labor shortages.

In March 2021, there was a drop in sales for single-family houses, which was caused by a shortage of ready-made houses on the market. In some areas, the situation is so tense that some buyers are applying for all free lots, which very quickly sell out. Against the background of increased demand, housing prices continue to rise, which alongside rising food prices, accelerates inflation.

The high vaccination rate in the U.S. allows to expect a gradual return to normal activities, which will support economic growth. The housing shortage will remain in the coming years, which will stimulate growth in construction and increase the demand for sawnwood. The American sawnwood market is expected to grow at an average annual CAGR of 3.4% and to reach 101M tonnes by 2030.

American Sawnwood Market Size

The U.S. sawmill product market was estimated at $28.7B in 2020, increasing by 4.1% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +4.5% from 2013 to 2020.

Imports into the U.S.

In 2020, supplies from abroad of sawmill products decreased by -11.2% to 9.3M tonnes, falling for the second consecutive year after three years of growth. In value terms, sawmill product imports totaled $5.8B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

In 2020, Canada (8.6M tonnes) was the main supplier of sawmill product to the U.S., accounting for a 92% share of total imports. It was followed by Brazil (258K tonnes), with a 2.8% share of total imports.

In value terms, Canada ($5.2B) constituted the largest supplier of sawmill product to the U.S., comprising 90% of total imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Brazil ($128M), with a 2.2% share of total imports.

In 2020, the average sawmill product import price amounted to $626 per tonne, picking up by 13% against the previous year. Over the last seven years, it increased at an average annual rate of +2.4%.

Average prices varied noticeably amongst the major supplying countries. In 2020, the country with the highest price was Canada ($612 per tonne), while the price for Brazil amounted to $496 per tonne. From 2013 to 2020, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Canada.

Source: IndexBox Platform

WELTEC propane

Biogas Specialist WELTEC BIOPOWER celebrates Company Anniversary

Germany is the global trailblazer in the field of renewable energies and the WELTEC group is one of the pioneers in this industry. Since the founding date on July 1, 2001, WELTEC BIOPOWER has focused and continued to develop from an AD plant manufacturer to an all-round specialist along the entire biogas value chain.

To this day, the group has been in the hands of a small group of powerful shareholders and has refrained from involving investors to this day. Not least on the basis of this stable ownership structure, the WELTEC Group has become one of the world’s leading providers for the construction and operation of biogas and biomethane/ RNG plants. The results and projects of the last two decades around the globe speak for themselves: To date, the company, which currently employs around 120 people, has planned and installed more than 350 stainless steel energy systems on 5 continents in 25 countries. In addition, the group has invested a three-digit million Euro amount in its own plant.

Thanks to an international diversification strategy and the high product and plant quality, WELTEC has also mastered challenging phases, such as the successful turnaround in the difficult years 2014 and 2015. In 2012 and 2014, the amendment of the German Renewable Energy Law (EEG) resulted in hard reductions of the feed-in tariffs, which lead to a massive decline in biogas plant construction. Not all market players survived this time. But even under these tougher framework conditions, WELTEC BIOPOWER was able to maintain and even expand its market position.

Jens Albartus, you have been the Managing Director of WELTEC BIOPOWER since July 2006. So you have been in charge of the group for most of the company’s 20-year history. What is the success story of WELTEC?

We have always remained faithful to our mission “organic energy worldwide” and to our corporate values over the years. Besides we offer technologies of very high quality from a single source. Another important success factor is that we design the main components of our plants ourselves and have them manufactured in our region. With this, we can guarantee a very high quality. We take the needs and framework conditions of our customers very seriously. Each plant is consistently designed for the requirements of our customers. Furthermore, our low staff turnover should also be mentioned. Many colleagues have been employed at WELTEC for over ten years. We stand out of the industry for twenty years due to the sum of this mixture of expertise, individuality, quality, resources and strategy.

That shows continuity. To what extent did you have to adapt or change in order to remain successful?

We have developed our products with a high quality right from the start. But we have steadily expanded our portfolio over time and adapted it to the market. Therefore we have been able to develop extremely successfully over the past twenty years – from a pure plant planner and builder to a biogas specialist along the entire value chain. Due to the expansion of our range of services with maintenance, permanent or interim plant operation, heat contracting and the production of biomethane as a fuel, our customer structure has also changed significantly. As a plant manufacturer and service provider, we work for companies in the food, waste, sewage and agricultural sectors. But we also supply horticultural companies and the real estate sector with sustainable heat. Recently added customers and partners are from the fuel industry. Heavy-duty vehicles and trucks are already driving with our biomethane as fuel.

Which projects of the last twenty years do you particularly remember?

In 2008 we built in Könnern, Saxony-Anhalt, what was then the world’s largest biomethane plant and have been operating it ever since. The project was and is an important milestone for our company group. We are all very satisfied with the successful construction and operation of this AD plant. But international pioneering projects such as the Waste-to-Energy plant for a large Australian water supplier near Melbourne and the biogas plant for the milk powder producer EDL in Uruguay are projects that I remember fondly. This plant has been providing a thermal output of six megawatts since 2018. The South Americans only use residual materials such as cattle manure and feed leftovers from 14,000 dairy cows and generate 30,000 standard cubic meters of biogas every day. This covers a third of the high heat demand of their own dairy. Just like the plant in Könnern, we have a high industrial scale there. This standard was also the reason for EDL to choose WELTEC. We’ve built the plant in Uruguay as a turnkey contractor, including all auxiliary works. After one year of construction, we could hand over the EPC project to the customer.

How do you build the bridge between this successful past and the future?

More than 350 WELTEC plants, around 70 percent of which are running successfully abroad, now testify to our remarkable story. In many countries we had the opportunity to do pioneering work in the field of biogas. For the future, it is important to remain to our mission and to continue the success story with our strengths as is currently happening. There is a huge potential of organic residues everywhere that can be converted efficiently and decentrally into green energy with the help of our process technology. So right now we have construction sites in Japan, Northern Ireland and Spain. And the saving of carbon emissions is an important topic worldwide. This also includes the use of biogas in the mobility sector. Therefore I am looking forward to the next 20 years very optimistically and with great anticipation. Now things really get going!

green building

7 Well-Known Benefits of Green Buildings

For the past decade, the construction industry’s effect on society has grown exponentially, in ways both good and bad. Its rapid evolution showcased the emergence of solutions to deal with the negatives. A prime example is the development of green buildings, geared towards combating its adverse harmful impacts on the natural environment. 

The construction sector contributes a big percentage to the world’s wastes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the construction industry in the US alone comprises 25% of the non-industrial waste generated annually, or 160 million tons in figures. In another study by the US Green Building Council, the industry takes up 40% of the worldwide energy usage. 

How is a building ‘green’?

A ‘green’ building aims to reduce such issues through design, construction, or operational methods. It also covers site planning, community, and land-use planning. Some key features include efficient use of resources such as energy and water, use of non-toxic and sustainable materials, re-use and recycling of the latter, and design adaptability, among other things. These can be applied to any type of development, may it be commercial or residential. See more here to avail your own green home.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, more commonly known as LEED, is the most established green building certification system in the world. It follows a standard metric for all building types and phases including construction, interiors, operations and maintenance, and core and shell. 

For instance, Shanghai Tower in China is one of the grandest buildings in the world, being the second tallest tower at 2073 feet. Yet, it still manages to fit the standard of a LEED-certified building. It uses passive cooling through a transparent curtain wall that forms a buffer of captured air. Its façade also integrated 270 wind turbines that power its exterior lights. All these features account for a significant reduction in the building’s energy costs.

Merits: Environmental, social, and economic

As the previous example has shown, sustainable developments show potential not only through environmental merits but on other fronts as well. It paves the way for more productive communities and economic progress. To discuss more in detail, here are 7 well-known benefits of green buildings in different aspects.

1. Minimized pollution and strain on resources

The primary goal of green buildings is to address the building industry’s detrimental impact on the climate and environment, particularly pollution and resource depletion. Through its philosophies, it significantly minimizes waste production and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the emissions savings could potentially be as much as 84 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050. The use of raw materials and shared natural resources are also kept to a minimum, which lessens the ecological strain. 

2. Less maintenance and building cost

After such environmental benefits, others will follow accordingly such as economic benefits. Many assume that constructing a green building is more costly than it seems, but research shows that its price is comparable to conventional methods. These are achieved through apt design solutions, project management, and other cost-effective strategies. For instance, reusing and recycling materials can cut your expenses. Even design interventions like passive cooling and natural lighting can significantly reduce operational costs. 

3. Energy efficiency 

Newer technologies and features will require you to cash out a bigger budget initially, but the benefits and savings will be tenfold better in the long run. Solar photovoltaic systems have notably become more affordable in recent years. It’s a versatile technology, applicable both in large and small-scale developments. If you have enough panels installed, it can cover your entire electric consumption. These interventions are not only environmentally advantageous, but it significantly reduces operational costs as well since non-renewable energy sources are expensive.

4. Water efficiency

Another natural resource that green building methods are saving is water. It advocates for a consistent supply of clean water for future generations. One way is by using alternative sources like rainwater. Some major commercial establishments have been using gray water for water closets in public restrooms. Another method of achieving this is by incorporating water treatment facilities in your development to recycle water. 

5. Market Value

Sustainability and social responsibility have become more prominent around circles of investors and potential occupiers. If your building uses green interventions, its credentials allow for increased marketability. Studies have shown that greener buildings have a high tendency to attract tenants and buyers. With the demand and technology incorporated, owners can implement higher lease and sale prices.

6. Workplace Productivity

The social benefits of green buildings interlink with economic profits as well. According to a study from Harvard, employees in green and well-ventilated office spaces showed a significant increase in cognitive function, crisis response, and focused activity level. These kinds of spaces also improve their well-being, with better sleep quality and fewer sick-building symptoms. These positive human responses account for a boosted workplace productivity.

7. Future proof investment

Sustainable interventions are also a way to protect your investment and secure longevity. With the changing times and stricter regulations, developments should be adaptable and must stand the test of time. The coronavirus pandemic gravely affected the world economy. Green recovery aims to provide policies and solutions that support the future of both the people and the environment. This includes green building initiatives that allow for flexibility, resilience, and consistently good quality of life for its users. Hence, their income and future market value are positively affected.

The future of green buildings

Despite the pandemic and struggles of construction, green building trends continue to emerge. Government bodies have started delving into green initiatives such as the UK’s Green Homes Grant. LEED-certified materials have been in trend and are still expected to boom in the coming years. These include wood, insulated concrete forms, composites, non-VOC paints among others. 

Green buildings are still far from being the standard. However, in the long run, these sustainable initiatives can play a pivotal role in the large-scale economic progress of the world. It presents itself as a tool for job security, long-term resilience, and resource safeguarding.