Addressing Window Needs

Currently, consumers are strongly focused on preserving their money, their environment and their well-being, and these individual concerns are directly tied to today’s trends in windows. With these issues in mind, window manufacturers have developed products that specifically target each need without sacrificing visual appeal.

“In our luxury market segment, we’ve noticed that most remodelers are concerned with the same items as new construction,” says Jon Sawatzky, Loewen marketing manager. “They want energy-efficient, low-maintenance products that will last a long time — and they don’t want to sacrifice aesthetics and performance to meet this.”

“As energy costs rise, people are becoming more aware of how much energy they use in their lives, whether that is getting around town or heating and cooling their homes,” says Doug Cross, vice president, vinyl product stream for PGT Industries. “Plus, given the information available about global warming, consumers are feeling a social responsibility to conserve energy as part of protecting the planet. Using windows that improve the energy performance of one’s home is one way to do this.”

The PGT Series 2300 is a complete line of vinyl replacement windows with wood-like trim detail, Low-E glass, simulated divided lites and Super Spacer technology. This line consists of double-hung, horizontal roller, picture windows, architectural shapes and combinations.

Simonton Windows now offers LoE³-366 glass as a product upgrade option on a number of the company’s product lines. The windows feature a triple layer of silver applied through sputter coating technology. The visible light transmittance is 66 percent and the glass has a .27 SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient).

“Energy efficiency continues to be a primary driver for consumers as they choose to replace windows during a remodel,” says Michael Mooney, senior market segment director for Guardian Industries. “Higher energy costs and the new U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star criteria that are expected to become effective in late 2009 are driving new innovations in the residential glass industry.”

The ClimaGuard 75/68 Low-E glass from Guardian Industries has a U-value of .28 and promises to let in 75 percent of the sun’s natural light while also allowing in 68 percent of the sun’s heat. ClimaGuard 75/68 is part of Guardian’s larger line of Low-E residential glass products.

As consumers focus on energy efficiency in an effort to save on fuel costs, remodel jobs may tend to be cut from the budget. The resulting competition for existing jobs has lead to innovative strategies for differentiation and simplification.

“Consumers and remodelers have several window options available to them as they shop for replacement windows, sometimes looking at up to four different dealers or brands,” says Mooney. “During this challenging economy, window dealers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. We are seeing dealers and remodelers who are offering sound, storm or fade protection as additional, value-added features to their windows.”

“Because of the tight market, remodelers and installers are having to make the most of their time to limit overhead,” says Chris Schield, brand manager for Weather Shield/Peachtree R&R products and Visions Windows & Doors.

“To help speed installation and cut jobsite labor, more contractors will order pocket-style replacement windows and windows with convenient features and options.”

Weather Shield’s premium fiberglass-clad wood windows have U-factors as low as 0.23, wood interiors and no-maintenance exteriors. For enhanced energy efficiency, the window is available in a range of glazing options including Zo-e-shield 5, 6 and 7.

Milgard Windows & Doors offers energy efficiency package upgrades on select vinyl and fiberglass lines — 3D and 3D MAX. The 3D name represents the three dimensions of a window — the overall design, the frame material and the glazing unit. The 3D package offers a window that promises to be at least 10 percent more energy efficient than Energy Star qualified models, while the 3D MAX package is up to 26 percent more energy efficienct, depending on the series chosen.

Environmental Reaction

Today, the general public is aware of and reacting to the green movement in one way or another. Fortunately, manufacturers had products cooking while the green movement was still at a mere simmer.

“Green building and remodeling is being driven by consumers’ increased concern for the environment and a desire to reduce utility bills as much as possible,” says Schield. “Convenient, time-saving features for installers are being driven by their need to do more work in less time in order to profit from their jobs in a tight market.”

Peachtree’s 700 Series replacement windows are available in easy-tilt double-hung, casement, awning, single slider and picture styles. This line of aluminum clad windows features three sill options: flat, intermediate (8-degree slope) and maximum (14-degree slope).

“Remodelers are talking with more confidence and practical features and benefits of the green movement, incorporating the sustainability message with sound, energy-saving building practices,” says Mark Gallant, vice president, marketing for Atrium. “They’re also looking for more ways to differentiate themselves by offering more options and design features such as the expanded exterior color choices.”

For a sustainable solution, Jeld-Wen offers windows made of AuraLast wood. Jeld-Wen’s proprietary manufacturing process promises protection against moisture saturation, wood decay and insect infestation through to the core of the wood. The company offers a 20-year warranty on pine wood windows manufactured with AuraLast wood.

“Consumers are starting to understand the need for sustainability and they’re no longer taking advertising at face value,” says Loewen’s Jon Sawatzky. “They don’t want to be green-washed. They want proof and independent documentation to assure themselves that ‘green’ is really green.”

Due to its intrinsically practical properties as well as strict building codes, impact-resistant glass has weathered the economic storm.

“Impact glass had been a steadily growing market until recently,” says Sawatzky. “We’ve noticed a consistent pace, but the large growth we were accustomed to seeing has leveled off due to the state of the economy. Once the economy increases we expect to see the growth continue — especially as the impact codes become more enforced.”

“Use of impact resistant vinyl and aluminum windows in hurricane high-wind zones along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic coastal areas is a big product category for Atrium,” says Gallant. “More remodel and replacement projects are turning to impact-resistant windows to accomplish the protection demand they require, while satisfying their insurance carriers for lower premium rates.”

Atrium’s SafeHarbor vinyl impact-resistant windows and doors are available in single and double-hung models, and offering Certified Design Pressure (DP) ratings up to 55 for windows and 60 for doors. SafeHarbor products are approved for hurricane impact zones all along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.

“Unfortunately, hurricanes and major weather events occur in many coastal states which have led to the adoption and enforcement of coastal building codes outside of Florida,” says PGT’s Doug Cross. “This in turn has led to an increased demand for impact products. The ancillary benefits, sound reduction, increased security, reduced UV rays, are additional reasons homeowners upgrade to windows and doors with impact-resistant glass.”

“Impact-resistant glass has been growing in demand for a few reasons,” says Kolbe’s Lance Premeau. “The main reason is due to the codes that have been put into effect in coastal regions of the United States. Impact glass is a staple within these types of products. There is a secondary benefit in the use of impact-resistant glass and that is added security for the dwelling.”

Necessary Luxuries

“The aging of our population along with accessibility issues within the general population is driving the Universal Design trend in the building industry,” says Premeau.

For universal design needs, Kolbe offers several window options. The company’s Ultra and Heritage Series products can be equipped with longer casement and awning handles with larger knobs, larger levers for multipoint casement locks and motorized operators for casements and awnings.

“Residents over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the housing market,” says Maureen Faccia, Milgard Windows & Doors director of marketing. “They are also a wealthier, more active group than past generations. Only 5 percent of the population over age 65 live in nursing homes, preferring instead to age in place as well as live safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age or agility level.

Milgard Windows & Doors’ SmartTouch lock, available on the company’s Tuscany and Montecito Series vinyl window lines, is designed to engage when the window is closed, for one-touch operation to close and lock the window. Unlocking and opening the window also require just one touch to lift the latch and raise the sash.

“The most desirable window operation we have would be the Push Out Series,” says Jon Sawatzky. “Consumers are tired of having to crank a window open. They want something that operates easily and smoothly. It’s a much more luxurious type of operation.” The Push Out casement window eliminates the need for a crank and is available with a traditional or Mission sash; double or triple-glazing; standard rectangular or Camber Top shapes.

Pella’s Designer Series windows feature snap-in between-the-glass blinds, fabric shades, decorative panels and removable grilles. For easy cleaning of these casement and awning windows, the sashes move toward the center of the frames a full 4 in. for easy cleaning of the exterior glass from inside the home.

Hy-Lite offers both awning and casement style decorative glass windows that are easy to operate. The windows feature layers of triple-glazed, tempered glass arround the decorative leaded pane in the center of the 29 in. x 29 in. square windows. Hy-Lite’s awning and casement windows are available in American, Craftsman, Euro, Euro Blue, Spring Flower and Brilliance Wrought Iron styles.

“Trends haven’t changed as rapidly for hardware choices, as the Eastern United States is still very focused on traditional hardware applications, while the Western United States markets still trend to more contemporary hardware shapes and functions,” adds Sawatzky.

Loewen’s Cyprium Collection is a copper and bronze clad option on the company’s Douglas fir and mahogany windows and doors. The .040-in. thick metal cladding develops a patina over time, which varies based on application and environmental conditions.

“In my opinion, vinyl is the predominant material that remodelers utilize,” says Lance Premeau. “This is due to pricing, value and flexibility of sizing. However, wood and aluminum clad units are gaining in popularity due to manufacturers using those materials in pocket window configurations.”

The Anodize finish from Windsor Windows is a clear layer that molecularly bonds to the exterior cladding of the company’s Pinnacle Series of wood windows for a metallic appearance. Windsor offers eight anodized colors ranging from clear and champagne to dark bronze and copper.

The Visions 1500 from Visions Windows & Doors is an all-vinyl product line featuring an integral brick mold and built-in J-channel for simplified installation. The product’s 2 3/4-in. extruded frames are comprised of white or tan uPVC vinyl with high-impact acrylic modifiers and UV stabilizers. Styles available in the new product line include easy-tilt single hung, single slider and direct set windows in standard or custom sizes.

“More residential building and remodeling projects reflect green building trends and codes,” says Guardian’s Michael Mooney. “As the number of green residential projects increases, builders, remodelers, homeowners and architects will become more familiar with the range of low-E glazing options, allowing them to recommend or choose a window that delivers the best energy performance for their residential project.”

Use the E-Inquiry for more information on the following suppliers:

  • Atrium Windows #94
  • Guardian Industries #95
  • Hy-Lite Products #96
  • Jeld-Wen #97
  • Kolbe Windows & Doors #98
  • Loewen #99
  • MI Windows #100
  • Milgard #101
  • Peachtree Windows and Doors #102
  • Pella Corporation #103
  • PGT Industries #104
  • PlyGem Windows #105
  • Silverline #106
  • Simonton Windows #107
  • Visions Windows & Doors #108
  • Weather Shield #109
  • Windsor Windows #110