In the face of economic downturn, energy efficiency is one topic that is hotter than ever with consumers. Green building has also become a prime focus of today’s environmentally conscious homeowner. Combine these issues with a consumer desire for suitable prices and unlimited options and you have a clear view of today’s window market.
As fuel prices continue to rise, energy efficiency weighs heavier than ever on the minds of consumers. But extreme temperatures aren’t the only weather-related concern. Consumers living in regions that face severe windstorms also seek protection from nature.
“When it comes to windows, it’s obvious that clear glass and single-pane glass are ‘out,’ replaced by insulated glass with Low-E coating that helps keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer by reflecting the sun’s UV rays,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema, Pella corporate public relations manager.
She explains, “Double-pane and triple-pane glass options are the preferred choice over single-pane windows today, as consumers desire greater energy efficiency to help cut their utility bills and add to the comfortable feeling that energy-efficient windows provide.”
The Visions 1500 from Visions Windows & Doors is an all-vinyl product line that features an integral brick mould and built-in J-channel. Visions 1500 features standard 5/8-in. insulated glass with a Real Warm Edge spacer system. Other glazing options include: Low- 2, EasyCare Low-E2, Sun140 Low-E2, argon in the airspace, high-altitude, bronze and gray tinted, and tempered or obscure glass. Available styles include single-hung, single-slider and direct-set windows in standard or custom sizes.
Denise Bergeland, marketing manager for Hy-Lite Products, says, “We see the top window trends as being an increase of decorative window designs, focus on energy efficiency, windows with a European-look for high-end homes and low-maintenance requests from homeowners.”
With recent hurricane damage still on the minds of consumers, Sid Spear, Simonton Windows vice president sales and marketing, has noticed an “elevated awareness of impact-resistant windows in coastal areas. We are even seeing an interest in areas of the Midwest that often experience intense weather events.”
Simonton has added Horizontal Roller windows to the StormBreaker Plus 300VL Series of impact-resistant products. The vinyl-framed windows have a standard DP50 rating and can be ordered with Solar E solar control glass as an upgrade for Energy Star qualification. Sizes range from a minimum of 25 in. wide by 19 in. high up to a maximum unit size of 73 in. wide by 62 in. high.
For maximum energy efficiency, all JELD-WEN vinyl windows are Energy Star qualified and feature Warm-Edge spacer and Low-E insulating glass. The company’s Primo Series replacement windows may be upgraded with the Energy Saver Plus performance package, which includes an insulating glass sealing system with thermoset structural foam to reduce energy loss and condensation.
“Energy efficiency tends to be a bit more of a focus in replacement whereas green is a bit more of a focus in new construction,” says Brian Hedlund, JELD-WEN Windows & Doors product marketing manager, windows.
Green building is beneficial to the environment and also to the pocketbook, so homeowners find it doubly appealing. In response, manufacturers are beefing up efforts to provide the widest range of green products.
“Green is so common in the market today in so many ways that it has to be the number one trend,” says Lance Premeau, Kolbe Windows & Doors product manager. “From certified lumber to recycled content, green is prevalent in virtually all aspects of the market. Performance has always been important, but with green and the future Energy Star guidelines, it is becoming critical.”
“Homeowners seem to be willing to pay a bit more for improvements that make their homes more energy-efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly, and save them money on their utility bills in the long run,” says Chris Schield, brand manager for Weather Shield/Peachtree R&R products.
“Their most frequent requests are for greater energy efficiency and green products,” he continues. “Energy efficiency has become a bigger factor in window replacement. Two years ago, improved energy efficiency was not a primary reason people upgraded their windows. Today it is. They’re understanding that the return on their investment is abbreviated and can be significant in light of current energy prices.”
Weather Shield Windows & Doors has a new line of premium fiberglass-clad wood windows. The windows feature U-factors as low as 0.23, real wood interiors and fiberglass exteriors with glazing options that include Zo-e-shield 5, 6 and 7. Additional properties include simulated divided lites, putty wood interior bars and putty fiberglass exterior bars. Aluminum airspace grilles, full surround wood grilles and optically divided lites are also available.
In today’s market, many financially conscious homeowners seek inexpensive products for home remodeling, while more affluent consumers haven’t yet felt the budgetary pinch. Window manufacturers recognize this dichotomy and offer products appropriate for customers at either end of the fiscal spectrum.
Simonton’s Sid Spear says, “There is a high-end/low-end trend that indicates remodelers and builders are either pursuing lower price-point windows because money is tight or higher-end top-quality windows because high-end consumers still have the resources to move forward with their projects.”
Simonton Brickmould 600 windows feature optional simulated divided lites in colonial, prairie and perimeter designs. Styles include geometrics, picture, awning, casement, three-lite slider, two-lite slider and double-hung. Available colors are white and driftwood. Windows with 3 1/2-in. flat casing trim installed at the factory with a 90-degree joint at the head to simulate traditional wood trim are also available.
Kolbe has added arched-topped, segment-head windows to its Ultra pocket double-hung line of replacement units that can be installed without having to remove existing trim and framework. Ultra pocket double-hung jamb liners are concealed as paintable white PVC or wood-wrapped closure on the interior with extruded-aluminum closure on the exterior. The windows feature 0.050-in.-thick extruded aluminum on the exterior frame, and the 1.75-in.-thick sash are coated with a 70 percent fluoropolymer finish. Interiors may be requested with prefinishing and specified in a variety of wood species.
Hy-Lite’s Denise Bergeland says, “Because remodeling projects are increasing in the face of the downturn of new housing starts, we have been receiving requests steadily for an acrylic block window for remodel situations.” Hy-Lite’s new line of Exact-Fit acrylic block replacement windows is designed to fit window openings within a quarter of an inch. They are available in clear, frosted and rib pattern blocks, in both 6- and 8-inch block sizes.
Replacing the Ordinary with the Unique
On top of the proper price point concerns, consumers are also calling for windows that express their individuality. Whether it’s one-of-a-kind designs, specific colors and materials, or unconventional options that cater to their lifestyle, consumers demand variety.
Kathy Krafka Harkema says, “Today’s style-conscious consumers are looking for ways to set their home apart from others and are doing so by viewing their windows and doors as fashion statements, rather than just functional features.”
She explains, “With decorative glass caming colors to coordinate with hardware options, it’s easy to coordinate the look and feel of a home to express your individual style, whether it’s the light shade of satin nickel hardware, classic copper tones or the deep dark look of oil-rubbed bronze options you prefer.”
Design-Lite glass from Peachtree Doors and Windows is decorative glass that is formed from different types of glass and glass chips, with caming in brass, black, patina or oil-rubbed bronze. Design-Lite glass is available in three standard offerings: acrylic caming with a 3/16-in. bead; optically divided lite grilles with simulated edge-bevel in rectangular shapes; and acrylic caming with simulated edge-bevel in rectangular patterns.
JELD-WEN’s Brian Hedlund says, “Individuality is probably a bit bigger in replacement as the homeowner typically has a bit more input in the process.” In response to rising demand for universal design elements, JELD-WEN’s vinyl windows are available with MAGLock — the company’s magnetic lock technology with a low-profile design. These locks promise ease of use, unobtrusive appearance and enhanced security.
Denise Bergeland says, “At Hy-Lite, we still see white as the most popular framing material with tan coming in second. Bronze is strong, but specific colors are still a specialized request for many industry professionals.”
The new Euro Blue decorative glass window from Hy-Lite Products combines clear beveled glass with blue diamonds. The window is available in nonoperative fixed styles (in 2' x 2' and 4' x 4' sizes) and in operable casement or awning styles (in a 29" x 29" size). The product’s panes are accented with black patina caming, and its vinyl frames are available in white, tan, driftwood and bronze.
“Most customers with traditional projects are seeking the classic colors such as black, white and the dark browns with occasional shifts toward the earthtones,” says Jon Sawatzky, Loewen product marketing manger. He also finds that “customers are seeking more natural materials for their projects.”
Loewen’s Cyprium collection features copper- and bronze-clad windows that develop patinas with time and exposure to elements. A palette of custom patinas is available within the collection: Natura (unpatinated), Umbra (brown) and Verdigris (green). The Douglas fir and mahogany windows are clad in .040-in. thick copper and bronze on sashes, frames and simulated divided lite bars. This Cyprium collection is available in awning, casement, picture and specialty windows, and terrace doors.
The Legend HBR window from Windsor Windows & Doors is a hybrid of a wood window and a cellular PVC product. The product features a cellular PVC frame, a clad sash, wood interior and wide casings. Options include two-tone exteriors, paintable casings, and sashes in one of seven standard colors, 30 feature colors, or one of seven anodized finish options.
“There is the trend of companies offering more diverse colors and species for its products,” says Lance Premeau, Kolbe Windows & Doors product manager. “Screens have also gained attention through the introduction of several ‘invisible’ screen meshes that have come into the marketplace.” Kolbe’s Sterling double-hung retractable screen kit hides away when not in use. The retractable screen kit’s wood components are available in a variety of species and can be prefinished or field-finished to match window interiors, and the product’s metal components have a rustic finish.
Made of flexible fiberglass screen cloth, Pella’s Rolscreen insect screen rolls up like a shade on windows and screen doors and sideways on sliding patio doors. Rolscreen’s optional all-wood interior can be painted or stained to match interior trim. The Pella Vivid View screens feature Gore Transparent Screen Fabric. Both are adaptable to retro-fit windows from 1995 to current Pella models, and are available on Pella Architect Series and Designer Series casement windows.
Knowing manufacturer offerings and utilizing them to respond to customer needs and tastes is key in window replacement. JELD-WEN’s Brian Hedlund says, “Focus on the fundamentals and customer satisfaction and find new creative ways to bring your products and services to customers. Challenging business conditions often reveal opportunities for creative and innovative companies to improve and grow market share.”
Use the reader service card for more information on the following suppliers:
- Hy-Lite Products For more information, please indicate #38 on E-Inquiry Form.
- JELD-WEN Windows & Doors For more information, please indicate #39 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Kolbe Windows & Doors For more information, please indicate #40 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Loewen For more information, please indicate #41 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Peachtree Doors and Windows For more information, please indicate #42 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Pella For more information, please indicate #43 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Simonton Windows For more information, please indicate #44 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Visions Windows & Doors For more information, please indicate #45 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Weather Shield Windows & Doors For more information, please indicate #47 on E-Inquiry Form.
- Windsor Windows & Doors For more information, please indicate #48 on E-Inquiry Form.