The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability, workplace safety and circular construction, and the growing importance of technologies such as robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT). In the last three years alone, there have been over 248,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in Construction: Photovoltaic roof tiles.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
80+ innovations will shape the construction industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 179,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, green roofing is a disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. HAWT wind turbines, environmental barrier coatings, and vacuum-insulated glazing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are hybrid electric heavy machinery and energy-efficient HVAC system, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the construction industry
Photovoltaic roof tiles are a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Photovoltaic (PV), or solar, roof tiles are photovoltaic modules that resemble conventional roof tiles, providing both a roof covering and an energy generating system. The energy generated by the system can be used to satisfy the building's energy consumption, with any excess possibly being fed back into the national grid. Typically, PV roof tiles would be used when a conventional rooftop solar system is either unviable or aesthetically unsuited.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of photovoltaic roof tiles.
Key players in photovoltaic roof tiles – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to photovoltaic roof tiles
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Compagnie de Saint-Gobain||136||Unlock company profile|
|LG||65||Unlock company profile|
|CEA||56||Unlock company profile|
|Bouygues||51||Unlock company profile|
|ArcelorMittal||26||Unlock company profile|
|Kingspan Group||24||Unlock company profile|
|KGIC Merger||20||Unlock company profile|
|HeidelbergCement||19||Unlock company profile|
|Beijing Apollo Ding Rong Solar Technology||18||Unlock company profile|
|Kaneka||16||Unlock company profile|
|Vinci||15||Unlock company profile|
|State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council||14||Unlock company profile|
|Tesla||14||Unlock company profile|
|Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP||13||Unlock company profile|
|Innova Patent||13||Unlock company profile|
|Physee Group||12||Unlock company profile|
|Strategic Solar Energy||12||Unlock company profile|
|Sumitomo Mitsui Construction||11||Unlock company profile|
|ClearVue Technologies||10||Unlock company profile|
|Hyundai Motor Group||10||Unlock company profile|
|Tenex Capital Management||10||Unlock company profile|
|LIXIL||9||Unlock company profile|
|Roto Frank||9||Unlock company profile|
|Zinniatek||8||Unlock company profile|
|Holcim||8||Unlock company profile|
|Magna International||8||Unlock company profile|
|Fischerwerke||8||Unlock company profile|
|Nordwest Industrie Group||8||Unlock company profile|
|VKR Holding||7||Unlock company profile|
|MR Innovation||7||Unlock company profile|
|Sekisui House||6||Unlock company profile|
|Flex||6||Unlock company profile|
|Ultraframe (UK)||6||Unlock company profile|
|China State Construction Engineering||6||Unlock company profile|
|Gode Holding||6||Unlock company profile|
|REHAU||6||Unlock company profile|
|Power Construction Corporation of China||5||Unlock company profile|
|Sekisui Chemical||5||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||5||Unlock company profile|
|Otto Fuchs||5||Unlock company profile|
|Ecojoule||5||Unlock company profile|
|Somfy||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Leading innovators in the development of photovoltaic roof tiles include Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, a manufacturer of construction and building products. Key innovations in the space by Compagnie de Saint-Gobain include a photovoltaic module with an encapsulated photovoltaic element and an infrared-transmissive decorative overlay simulating conventional roofing. Further key patents include a photovoltaic roofing panel comprising a roofing panel substrate and at least six discrete photovoltaic elements affixed to the roofing panel substrate with their photovoltaically-active areas exposed at the top surface of the roofing panel.
In terms of application diversity, leading companies in the development of photovoltaic roof tiles include MR Innovation, Holcim, and Ultraframe. In terms of geographic reach, leading companies include ArcelorMittal, Innova Patent, and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Construction.