Flat glass production represents an energy-intensive activity with numerous points of contact with other strategic industries for a widespread decarbonization of the entire secondary sector.
The transition towards a zero-emission Europe calls for an organic transformation of the flat glass industry, which declares itself ready to produce, at a competitive price, “the materials essential for renovating Europe’s buildings, for supporting the clean mobility transition and for increasing the share of renewable solar energy”.
2050 | Flat glass in climate-neutral Europe
Several interesting reflections for the future of the sector come from the report “2050. Flat glass in climate-neutral Europe” by Glass for Europe. Flat glass is presented as a “high-tech material vital to the energy performance, safety, security and comfort of buildings and cars”.
The attractive performance of flat glass also favors the progress of multiple sectors (solar, electronics, digital devices, furniture), offering incomparable quality and functionality.
The transition for the building stock
In anticipation of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, the demand for glass for solar energy and energy-efficient windows and light safety glass for clean vehicles will increase significantly.
In particular, it must be considered that buildings represent 36% of total EU emissions. By doubling the window renovation rate and installing high-performance glazing widely, in just 10 years, Europe’s building stock would see its energy consumption and emissions reduced by 14%.
A ten-year commitment
The path towards carbon neutrality is still quite complex. But the flat glass sector has already shown great sensitivity and attention to this dynamic. From 1990 to today, the industry has reduced its CO2 emissions by 43%, promoting constant improvement of its processes, increasing the share of recycled glass as raw material and encouraging a concrete evolution of the energy mix.
Further developments in this perspective will contribute only marginally to strengthening the efficiency of the sector. A radical revolution in infrastructure, science and society will therefore be necessary to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals set.