Self-cleaning glass has been talked about a lot, with such a catchy name in his hit the headlines of not only the trade journals, but also the mass media. Does self-cleaning glass mean that all the window cleaners and small businesses across this country are doomed? No, not yet. First of all, self-cleaning glass is not really self-cleaning at all, so many Industry call it low maintenance glass, but either way the idea is intriguing and appeals to consumers. In a recent article in Window and Door magazine, in March of 2003 the industry was asked what they thought of self-cleaning glass many of those interviewed were among the building industry, interior designers, architects, glass manufacturers, new homebuilders, tenant improvements retrofitters and window cleaning service companies. Having been watching the developments of self-cleaning windows for quite some time, we see a time when the big mirrored glass buildings will no longer need the same frequency of services. What does this mean for companies like; the Window Genie; the Window Gang; the Window Butler; and the Window Wash Guys.
Should we be concerned that this new innovation will upset the market sector causing and your reversible micro sector rotation, which will put out of business thousands of small time entrepreneurs engaged in the cleaning of windows? Well, not exactly, however in the future we will see a change in the industry and that change will likely come through a combination of self-cleaning windows and Nano-technology. But for now PPG industries, Pilkington and at least 50 other large glass manufacturers are riding the wave in this newest trend. However, as we watched the industry we have seen surveys that claim over 71 percent of consumers given the choice would be more likely to choose self-cleaning windows over the regular windows even with the increased cost.
A company in Pittsburgh called SunClean self-cleaning glass products introduced their version of self-cleaning glass at the end of 2001, while their sales have increased and have met company expectations, we have seen the industry as a whole lag behind the original hype of the innovation. So it’s 71 percent of consumers given the choice would be more likely to choose self-cleaning windows, within how come we have not seen the promised Boom? Well there are a couple reasons the first being that often consumers do not choose what can glass one other homes as the builders choose 70 percent of what goes into their homes. In custom homes and renovations to numbers are quite promising. Oh what we’ve seen in new home construction is a move to lower-cost, to standardize, and to move quickly. When new home shoppers go to new models and discuss the purchase of a new home those sales offices indicated that they had approximately 40 minutes with the clients and at that time they either made the sale, made of favorable impression for a return visit or had lost the customer completely. The option of self-cleaning glass comes with it a host of questions for instance; what is it? With no time to explain, they rarely got into the subject matter. Also with new customers buying on 1 to 3 percent down they also indicated that most customers and consumers barely squeaked by.
The increased costs of self-cleaning windows throughout a home could be as much as $2200.00 in this increase could cost in the sale those manufacturers that dealt with selling remodeling and replacement type glass showed that steady increase in sales will probably continue into the future. Does this mean the residential market for window cleaning could be substantially hampered given these numbers. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because consumers may feel that there is no need to clean the glass now, because it is supposed to be cleaned itself. No, because those people who might buy self-cleaning glass are overly concerned with clean Windows, as it is a high priority in their life. A clean outlook, if you will? The fact is that self-cleaning glass is really lower maintenance glass, and it is easier to clean, thus a window cleaning company; like ours for the ones mentioned above could actually make more money per hour worked, thus become more efficient and have more money to market and get more business. Also with windows easier to clean, the finished job will look better and therefore more referrals of people who both do and do not have self-cleaning glass themselves. We feel that it is a tossup as to the decreased sales due to people believing that the glasses to clean itself completely into those who still beside the service.
In the automotive industry when Cadillac came out with a car dad went 100,000 miles between services, many automotive aftermarket service companies such a Jiffy Lube, Penske automotive and Midas muffler believed that this could affect their business. It did not, there were some people who it bought the Cadillacs who believed the salesman at the dealership and assumed the car did not need oil changes per 100,000 miles. These consumers he did not understand what they were getting into often drove the car for 25 to 30,000 miles without any problems and then went a dealership when they heard a noise, no kidding. One dealership told us of five such customers. Others who bought the Cadillac because of its incredible warranty and 100,000 miles between services did so because they felt that a car that ran extremely well played a major part in their decision to buy that automobile, so this is why they bought it in the first place. And those customers who care about the reliability and maintenance of their vehicle who bought the cars, turned out to still be great customers to the automotive service companies they normally patronized. As a matter fact they continued to go to the service companies at the same intervals and often used it as a way to Brag about what a wonderful car they had bought, and how smart they were for buying it.
We have had customers was self-cleaning glass show was the windows in the home which they have remodeled and pointed to the glass that they had bought for their kitchens or living rooms or master bedrooms that were self-cleaning. They still asked us to bid on the entire house and we still got the job and we did not have to reduce the price but rather confirmed to the consumer that indeed they had made an excellent choice. Because they had self-cleaning glass is better, it is much better, and we know it’s true. Many customers who are do-it-yourselfers may clean their glass themselves in overtime realize that their self-cleaning glass, does need occasional touchup. And therefore would eventually call us to do the whole thing or bid on the entire house they now that while so of cleaning glass is absolutely awesome, it is not be end all be all.
Most people who have self-cleaning glass are happy with their decision and see its value and are pleased with its results. The biggest problem industry sees was self-cleaning glass is that it can be over-sold, over hyped by a salesman and therefore can cause issues between consumer watch groups, the worthless and overrated self aggrandized FTC. So the name, self-cleaning glass is really the issue not that its performance is substandard or that current innovations due to increased money flow in increase sales are not pushing for more research and development to make it even better, because this clearly is happening and self-cleaning glass is twice as good as it was in 2000.
Today self-cleaning glass with certain coatings is absolutely incredible. And it is getting better all the time, but manufacturers are still skeptical and are working to make it better, meanwhile everyone is trying to figure out a way to bring the cost down, it did not be end up in all these new homes, which were just build during this incredible run in new housing market, however you can expect to see its amongst the specs for custom homes high-rise office buildings and most commercial buildings due to its maintenance savings cost and ability to stay clean. One major leader in glass manufacturing, Peachtree, has a product called easy care and the pitch is; low maintenance and not self-cleaning glass. After all the glasses on to grow arms all of a sudden and grab a squeegee and clean it’s self and the neighboring windows. They believe that low maintenance makes a good statement and is much better than zero maintenance or self-cleaning. We use a hydrophobic Coating, which works under different principle but works very well.
SunClean self-cleaning windows works on a different principle, there is a transparent coating of titanium dioxide which is applied during the manufacturing process but coating helps breakdown and loosen the dirt and any other organic material such as bird droppings when the water hits the glass in the droplets spread out and rinses away the loosen dirt is combined also falls down. This means it works perfectly with a medium pressure, pressure washer unit. This coating is completed in the application process and makes the coating an integral part of the manufacturing process.
Cardinal Glass Inc. uses a thin layer of silicon dioxide applied to the surface and therefore it is best described as a glass on glass coating. This of course provides an enhanced resistance to dirt and other residue an the coating lowers the glass contact angle allowing water to disburse across the service and evaporate more quickly. A temporary zinc oxide overcoat, removable with vinegar and water protects the coating from suction cup marks, labels and rollers and here to the glass prior to installation. The neat thing about this process is that the glass also retains the high energy efficiency characteristics of the companies other glass and can also be used in conjunction with laminated glass and custom sizes and shapes for any window, of any shape were even a port hole of a ship. These new processes would work good on ocean going ships and water front properties.
ACTIV – Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass uses the sun’s own trove I would raise to gradually and continually breakdown organic dirt by using a photocatalytic effect. At the same time the glass reduces the surface tension of water causing it to she down the surface and washed the dirt away rather than bead up, this is called a hydrophilic effect. This is done with the coating is applied during manufacturing process using a pyrolytic method. It becomes a permanent part of the glass on its surface;
As the competition heats up for the best self-cleaning glass on market, there may be some companies that are willing to allow the over hyped in order to sell more product, this could affect the sales of services from small window cleaning companies, although we are confident and our ability to help the consumer understand exactly what they’ve bought and how it works. We do not feel this will be significant for quite some time become. And even when self-cleaning glass actually does clean it’s self which we expect another decade or two there will still be all those buildings which have the old glass, and a return on investment for the increased price of lead say in large office building may be more than the owners wish to spend to upgrade, based on the minor savings they might achieve in dismissing their window washing contractor. At the wash guys it’s we do not pretend to be invincible, we understand that disruptive technology does affect low technology businesses just as much as it affects high-tech businesses, we are therefore keeping our eyes on a self-cleaning glass revolution. We know that every innovation and any innovation effects something else. We also realize there is opportunity in chaos and therefore we say “Bring it On!”.