Manufacturers weigh in on why Windows is so important

The Why Windows Matter campaign sees participation from several organizations such as the National Fenestration Rating Council, Efficient Windows Collaborative, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and Partnership for Advanced Windows Solutions (PAWS). Manufacturers are there, too, spreading the message that windows are important from a financial and health perspective.

In contrast to past decades, industry and consumers are beginning to benefit from the benefits of incorporating efficient products into the construction process. Manufacturers see the market swinging in the direction of energy efficiency and want to make sure they deliver what is needed, especially if they already have products that can fit into that market and invest in developing it.

“Usually the manufacturers involved to date are the ones most willing to develop these products at large scale, or they already have and want to scale them up,” says Walt Zales of PAWS and director of programs at Energetics.

Brad Begin, CEO of Alpen High Performance Products in Colorado, says it was only natural for his company to join the message in an effort to represent manufacturers as a whole. He says there is “enormous consumer demand” for high-performance products.

“We actively share messages wherever we can, both publicly and in private discussions with the various components we work with, and in particular with our customers,” Begin says. “It’s kind of preachy to the chorus because they’re really interested in high-performance solutions.”

For Begin, the most exciting aspect of market development is the focus on windows and everything they can do. Signing up for the campaign was a natural for Alpen, which is already focused on the high-performance segment of the market.

“When you look at windows as part of a wider wall or structure of a building, they can affect more dramatically than any other component of the building or home the overall demand[for energy],” says Begin.

By participating in the campaign, manufacturers are able to follow the evolution of products and market preferences. For example, Eileen Miller, director of market transformation, lighting and buildings for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, says window enclosures are part of the solution.

“There is already a range of products on the commercial and residential side that can help with low-income weathering programs,” she says. “It’s a tool for those who can’t replace their windows.”

Several companies, such as Alpen and NSG Pilkington, are already keeping tabs on and contributing to industry developments. Participating in the campaign is just another way to stay on the cutting edge of innovation.

“There are a number of different market drivers that drive energy efficiency in new buildings, retrofits, and new construction,” says Kyle Sword, Director of Business Development at NSG Pilkington. “It’s important for us to know what the market is asking and that’s one of the reasons we got involved and learned how to serve this market.”

The participation also gives manufacturers a voice in how this market, its laws and regulations, develop.

“That, to me, is one of the most important things that I don’t know if people really realized,” Sword says. “If we do nothing and keep changing and transforming slowly, it will take a long time to achieve the goals we are trying to achieve. This is the real value I see in groups like PAWS, which is that these collaborative efforts will be able to accelerate implementation and adoption.”

For more information about the campaign, go to www.nfrc.org or the active website.

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