Homeowners Opt for Practicality

As the housing economy slows and energy costs accelerate, many Americans are looking for home improvement projects that add value to their homes and add to their monthly savings. Forty-four percent of homeowners surveyed said that if presented with the free services of a contractor, window replacement would be more important than a variety of popular home improvements like a kitchen remodel, installing new carpeting, landscaping the yard or building a new deck, according to a study commissioned by a major window and door manufacturer.

“A majority of homeowners (51 percent) said their windows aren’t ‘green’ or energy-efficient enough,” said Elaine Sagers, vice president of marketing, Pella Windows & Doors. “That fact combined with this new sense of practicality about home improvement projects tells us that many consumers are looking for ways to reduce how much their house costs them in monthly bills and upkeep.”

In the study, over half (51 percent) of Americans said that of anything in their home windows offer the most potential when it comes to energy efficiency — even more than other products including lights (48 percent), insulation (48 percent) and heating systems (43 percent).

Nearly two out of three (65 percent) homeowners believe that energy efficiency is the most important quality to consider when choosing new windows. The virtues of “green” energy-efficient windows easily won out over other qualities like durability, safety, ease of use, soundproofing and clarity.

Despite worries about energy efficiency, drafts and other issues, some homeowners are reluctant to initiate a window replacement project.

Concerns about replacement included the perception that the process seems too daunting, that it’s too time intensive and not knowing where to go for help. Contrasting that among the recent replacers, nearly half (45 percent) of homeowners who hired a professional to replace their windows noted the quality of the installer’s service was better than expected.

Green Building

National Standard Anticipated

The National Green Building Standard is expected to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC) early this spring, a panel of builders and those involved in the standards process told reporters during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.

The standard is based on the 3-year-old NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, but enhanced to include residential remodeling, multifamily building, and lot and site development. It also reflects advancements in requirements in the International Residential Code.

Like the guidelines that they are based on, the standard requires builders to include features in seven categories: energy, water and resource efficiency; lot and site development; indoor environmental quality and homeowner education.

Charitable Giving

Savan Named to Board

Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building homes for severely disabled service members, has named Mark Savan to its board of directors. Savan, the president of Simonton Windows, will serve on the board as a liaison between the organization and corporate donors and contractors.

Simonton Windows has been a corporate founding sponsor of Homes for Our Troops since the organization was created in 2004 to help severely wounded service men and women with serious disabilities and injuries. Based in Massachusetts, the organization coordinates the donation of products and labor to build new homes or adapt existing homes for handicapped accessibility for the specific needs of a returning veteran, at no cost to the service person.

Cabinets and Vanitie

Sales Decline

Sales of kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities declined again in October of 2007, compared to the same month a year earlier, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association said. According to the KCMA, manufacturers participating in the association’s monthly “Trend of Business” survey reported that overall cabinet sales fell 9.4 percent in October compared to October of 2006. Sales of stock cabinets declined 16.4 percent for the month, while semicustom cabinet sales fell 1.1 percent and custom cabinet sales declined 6.3 percent. Year-to-date sales through the first 10 months of 2007 were down 12.5 percent compared to the same period in 2006, the KCMA reported.