On 4th December 2017, the EWFA (European Window Film Association) held in Madrid its annual General Membership Meeting.
An event open to the association’s members and prospective members, the EWFA Annual General Membership meeting gathered more than thirty Manufacturers and Distributors participants. They had the opportunity to hear about varied topics, ranging from the newly-voted Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the European Conformity CE marking for window films, the use of Energy Performance Certificates in buildings, or discuss existing window tinting laws in Europe and recent legislative changes.
The event was monitored at all times by two lawyers who verified that the content of the General Membership Meeting and the discussions between the association’s members were fully compliant with the applicable competition laws. The attendees were briefed at the beginning of the session about the nature of the discussions that were banned, and were provided with some materials outlining the basic principles of competition law.
The day started with two EWFA-focused presentations: the 2018 budget by Darrell Smith, IWFA Executive Director, and the strategic plan by Stéphanie Priou, EWFA Manager, which introduced proposed activities for the year to come, taking into account the allocated financial resources. Activities highlighted for 2018 gathered knowledge creation and dissemination to members, exchange between members, advocacy at European and national levels, or alliances building and membership development.
Event attendants then had the opportunity to hear as a first speaker Neil Brabbs, from ARC Window Films (United Kingdom) introducing the Energy Performances of Window Films in European Climates, a study commissioned by EWFA which provides numbers and figures about energy savings provided by window films, measured in Kw/H, and applied to different types of windows in Northern, Central or Southern European climates. This study is believed to be critical to advocate for window films in Europe, as it puts in perspective potential savings for window 4638777.1Page 2/3 films and acts as a supporting argument for window films to be integrated as energy-efficiency product within the heating and cooling sector.
Aaron Reeves, from Eastman (United Kingdom), then gave an overview of European legislations currently being developed and which will impact the window film sector, such as the recently voted Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the EED (Energy Efficiency Directive). He went on explaining the concept behind standards in force for window films, and notably EN-15752-1 “Glass in building. Adhesive backed polymeric film - Definitions and requirements”, which is the Part 1 of the standard, already released. Part 2 still needs to be worked on, with input from the sector (see later in this document, the presentation from Anne Minne). Aaron also explained the latest developments for EPCs (European Performance Certificates) for buildings and building parts, which are increasingly being used in the construction sector.
A one-hour Distributors’ meeting was then organised, in order for participants to exchange on their specific needs and expectations for the EWFA. Moderated by Carlos Miguel, from Impersol, and Peter Gàl, from Gàl és Tàrsa, the two Distributors representatives within the EWFA Council level, this productive brainstorming session highlighted the needs for more communication (translation of the EWFA website into European languages, reports from the EWFA Council meetings, learning sessions on how to use the Energy Performances of Window Films in European Climates study), more information (position statement from the EWFA window tinting, more studies and publications in general) and more contacts (at national level, with associations or peer sectors). Proposals were also made to have two Distributors meetings per year, jointly with EWFA Council meetings.
After lunch time, Pablo Martin, from the Spanish Association of Curtain Walling and Windows Manufacturers (ASEFAVE, Spain) proposed an overview on ASEFAVE’s work at national and European level. Many parallels and ideas could be drawn from the association’s work on windows, notably their follow up on window standards, voluntary scheme for energy labelling of windows, and their training scheme for window installers, which they are about to start.
Anne Minne, from Saint-Gobain Building Glass (Belgium), then took back the conversation on standard EN-15752 Part 2, which will open the door to CE marking as a product conformity seal for films (and may represent a competitive advantage for films which will display it). Missing parts for this standard to be finalised include the Factory Production Control (FPC), which film manufacturers will need to define jointly within the EWFA. A potential timeline for finalising works on this standard could be end of 2018 (if everything goes well), which means CE marking for window film could be compulsory as early as 2019-2020.
Vanessa Chesnot, from Grayling (Belgium), proposed an overview of European-level legislations which may impact the window film sector, such as the recently voted European Public Buildings Directive (EPBD), the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) or the upcoming Plastics Strategy, considered as one of the directives EWFA should follow closely. Though interest at European level is strong in terms of energy-related products, benefits are difficult to measure or prove, which is why a coherent strategy for the association and alliance buildings will be necessary for our sector’s voice to be heard. 4638777.1Page 3/3
Stéphanie Priou, the EWFA Manager, then presented one of the latest association’s deliverables: an updated database on window tinting legislations for 31 countries (enlarged Europe). The database gathers information on the reference legislation (differentiating between legislation before and after the B-post), links to the legislation in force, sanctions, and historical information on the evolution of the national legislation. This database will be made available soon to EWFA members, via the Members Only Section of the EWFA website.
Carlos Miguel, from Impersol (Portugal), gave an overview of the legislative context in Portugal concerning window tinting: Since 2007, window tinting is allowed, though tinting is considered a vehicle transformation, and therefore costs of modification and inspection have to be paid. In spite of all the combined efforts of Impersol and other peer Portuguese companies, the situation has not evolved, and a potential renewed support from EWFA could be welcome.
The event finished with the presentation of Peter Gàl, from Gàl és Tàrsa (Hungary), who introduced his work at national level to support favourable window tinting legislations in Bulgaria and Serbia. Situations in both countries are opposed: while in Bulgaria, a law change occurred in March 2016 affecting rear windscreen tinting and factory tinting parameters, local advocacy through the media succeeded in changing the law to be adapted to ECE R43. On the contrary, in Serbia, the legislation is following ECE R43, but imposes extra charges in case films are installed (importer’s certificate, extraordinary technical inspection, etc.). In spite of local advocacy, these burdens have not disappeared yet for consumers, and the work remains ongoing. EWFA is currently discussing a potential support to the local Serbian advocacy in 2018.