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Glass industry boss: Replacing old windows can bring huge energy savings

(EurActiv, 30 Jan 2020) If Europe goes climate neutral, it will consume more flat glass, predicts Christian Quenett. And the benefits could be huge: simply doubling the replacement rate of windows, in line with the European Green Deal, would achieve 20% of the EU’s energy efficiency targets for 2030, he says.

Christian Quenett is a 55-year old physicist with a PhD in mechanical engineering. He has worked in the glass industry for 25 years, now at Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG Group). Since spring 2018, he is also the chairman of the board of directors of Glass Europe, the trade association for Europe’s flat glass sector.


  • With Europe’s announced building renovation wave, the flat glass industry expects demand to grow significantly.
  • In Europe, doubling the replacement rate of windows alone would achieve around 20% of the EU’s energy efficiency target for 2030. And deeper CO2 cuts could be achieved still by replacing all windows with high-performance glazing.
  • After losing the solar PV market to China, Europe should avoid repeating the same mistakes and ensure the next generation PV modules can be manufactured here.
  • That means protecting European manufacturers against unfair competition as they move to decarbonise production and increase investments into clean energy sources.

First, let’s get an industry overview: What are the main areas and applications of flat glass today? Does the industry expect demand to grow in the coming years – and if so, in which areas?

There are three main areas of application: buildings, automotive, and the solar sector with solar PV modules.

In each of these, flat glass contributes to the energy transition. In buildings, we can really contribute to energy savings with better glazing. In automotive, flat glass helps reduce fuel consumption with lighter glazing. And with electric cars coming to the mass market, insulation is now becoming increasingly important to reduce power consumption for heating and cooling vehicles. Finally, in the solar sector, you need glass as base sheets and also as covering sheets for PV modules.

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EurActiv, 30 Jan 2020: Glass industry boss: Replacing old windows can bring huge energy savings