Last week, representatives from Prowindo, the alliance for PVC-U windows, informed guests about current topics in the industry at a press conference held at the Fensterbau Frontale window, door and facade exhibition in the German city of Nuremberg. As was stated at the press conference, the German window market achieved growth of one percent in 2015, with sales figures increasing to 13.5 million window units. It was also reported that PVC-U windows continue to play a leading role in the market and are far ahead of the pack with a market share of 58 percent. This year, the entire window market is expected to achieve growth of three percent.

„The PVC industry is making a significant contribution towards resource efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide emissions both at its companies and with its products“, emphasised the AGPU Managing Director, Thomas Hülsmann, in his statement. He went on to explain that in order to continue to make progress in this area in the future, the industry needs to comprehensively evaluate window materials throughout their entire life cycle – from manufacturing and processing activities through to the use phase and right through to the controlled recycling process. In order to achieve the energy-saving targets set by the German Federal Government by 2050, it is, however, absolutely essential that the rate of modernisation throughout Germany be significantly increased and successful projects be duplicated.

The next Prowindo Annual Meeting was due to take place on 6th May 2015 in Berlin under the motto „Plastic Recycling – opportunities, barriers and solutions to establish Circular Economy in Europe“. As a result of the current discussion in Germany on an exception for the recycling of scrap windows, the Prowindo team of AGPU, Rewindo, EPPA, QKE, proK and SKZ has decided to postpone the event until 25th/26th June. The topic will enter a crucial phase over the next few weeks, partially due to the intensive involvement of Prowindo. Resolutions on the matter are expected to be passed at the end of May/beginning of June.

More information on the Prowindo Annual Meeting will be announced soon.

Two weeks ago, the Member of the German Federal Parliament and Energy Policy Coordinator of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) parliamentary group, Thomas Bareiß, and other members of the Bundestag from the fields of energy policy, environment, technology and economic affairs from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group attended a Parliamentary Breakfast in Berlin together with representatives from PROWINDO (AGPU, QKE, EPPA, pro-K, Rewindo, SKZ), the industry initiative for plastic windows. The event focused on the established closed material cycle of the plastic window industry, its positive contribution towards energy and resource efficiency and the risks that the changes to the European Waste Frame Directive (Annex III)that have been announced for the middle of the year pose to this cycle.

„Energy and resource efficiency involving plastic windows play an important role in the energy transition. Scrap plastic windows should therefore not, as specified in the decision made by the European Commission, be classified as hazardous waste from 1st June 2015 onwards“, states Thomas Bareiß, summing up the matter in a nutshell.

PROWINDO also supports this position. The members of the initiative are calling for the introduction of a regulation stipulating that scrap plastic windows and recycled material must not be classified as hazardous waste. The aim of this request is to use pragmatic solutions for recycling to achieve planning reliability and in turn to conserve energy and resources without increasing risks for humans and the environment.

The German Federal Government wants to provide financial incentives totalling several billions of euros for energy-saving measures, as was confirmed in a resolution passed by the German Federal Cabinet in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. According to the resolution, the Bundesregierung wants to invest up to three billion euros in incentives for the renovation of buildings in the future in order to achieve its climate protection objectives by 2020. The package of measures adopted by the cabinet is planned to be launched in 2015 and should initially be implemented for a period of five years. Before this can happen, however, it needs to be approved by the individual Federal States of Germany.

AGPU has welcomed the resolution on the climate package. In fact, the working group and a number of other associations have already been demanding the implementation of appropriate measures in order to meet these ambitious energy-saving targets for quite some time. Last year, for example, Axel Gedaschko, the President of the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies (GdW), emphasised the importance of tax incentives for the implementation of the energy transition at the Prowindo Industry Gathering in Berlin. These demands to the world of politics were also repeated at the press conference held at the fensterbau/frontale 2014, a specialist window, door and facade exhibition in Nuremberg and in the talk given by Andreas Hartleif, Chairman of the Board of VEKA AG, at the AGPU Colloquium.

By the end of last month, the Prowindo Technology Conference was held at SKZ in Würzburg and led by the AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann. More than 60 participants used the two-day-long event as an opportunity to gain a comprehensive insight into the fields of raw materials, processing and system technology from twelve expert presentations and to establish new contacts and maintain existing contacts in the industry. „The PVC window has enormous potential to achieve the targets that have been set as part of the energy transition“, summarises Thomas Hülsmann. He also declared that the PVC window is already a successful product and that additional functions such as the intelligent ventilation of interior spaces using a ventilation system with heat recovery integrated into the window frame significantly contribute towards making it even more successful in Germany and further increasing its acceptance among users by offering additional added value.

The presentations held at the Prowindo Technology Conference are exclusively reserved for the event participants. The presentation held by Thomas Hülsmann on the topic of „PVC in the Area of Conflict between Technical Performance and Political Acceptance“ can be downloaded from the PVC WIKI by AGPU members for free.

On 20th May 2014, Prowindo invited representatives from the fields of politics and the environment to a parliamentary breakfast held in Berlin. A few weeks ago, Dr Franziska Krüger and Dr Johanna Wurbs from the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) followed up their discussions at the event by visiting the recycling plant run by the environmental technology company VEKA Umwelttechnik in the town of Hörselberg-Hainich (near Eisenach) in the German Federal State of Thuringia in order to gain a first-hand insight into the recycling of PVC windows in action.

Norbert Bruns (Managing Director of VEKA Umwelttechnik) was joined on the tour of the facility by Ralf Olsen (Managing Director of pro-K), Michael Vetter (Managing Director of Prowindo) and the AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann.

This visit was particularly important against the background of the assessment of the so-called „legacy additives“, former additives that are no longer used in PVC products but can still be found in recycled PVC material. Our aim is to achieve an exception where this issue is concerned so that these established mechanical recycling activities can continue to take place in the future. This is the only way to ensure that the PVC loop can be closed and valuable resources conserved. We look forward to hearing what the UBA has to say on the matter.

With a market share of 58 percent, the PVC window is most definitely a successful product in Germany. How can this success story be continued in the future and how can we optimally use the huge potential offered by the energy transition? A number of major requirements need to be met in order to ensure that the entire value creation chain, from raw materials through to the production of profiles, seals and decorative foils and right through to finished windows, can continue to be successful in the future.

The presentations at the PROWINDO Industry Forum, which will take place in the German city of Würzburg from 24th to 25th September 2014, will provide an outstanding overview of the challenges involved in meeting these requirements and reveal a number of possible solutions. Join us in looking forward to a multitude of exciting and informative specialist reports from the fields of system technology, manufacturing and processing. Participants can also look forward to an attractive programme of accompanying events, including an evening event. The forum programme additionally focuses on providing a direct insight into practical aspects by including a number of time slots in which no presentations will be held and which will give participants and speakers plenty of opportunities to exchange their ideas and experiences.

The AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann has taken on the management of the joint conference organised by AGPU, EPPA, pro-K, QKE, GKFP, Rewindo and SKZ. You can download the complete event programme and registration form in our PVC WIKI. Please check the PROWINDO website too for further details.