Volume 10, Issue 7- September 2009

from the publisher

Increase Your Business Through Weatherization Program
by Tara Taffera

Ryon Ray, manager for NT Window, a wholesale window manufacturer in Fort Worth, Texas, was one of the first manufacturers I spoke to who was positive about the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the affirmative impact it had on his business. I interviewed him for an article on the window tax credit (see May-June DWM, page 22) in April of this year. He told me how business was up not only due to the tax credits but also due to his involvement in weatherization programs as it applies to windows.

At that time, my focus was on the tax credit, but I knew we would talk again later regarding the weatherization program and the money earmarked for this program in the ARRA. There’s a lot of funding available but not many people know where to look for information and how to get involved.

DWM’s energy columnist Arlene Stewart wrote about this in her last column (see July/August DWM, page 4) telling manufacturers simply:  “If you haven’t talked to your dealers about this program yet, you should. If your dealers’ installers are not already participating, they will need to find out how to become approved, because the program is highly regionalized.”

That article was followed by a blog from Jim Plavecksy (visit www.dwmmag.com to read his post) who applauded the program but not the way information is spread.

“Some states already have a waiting list of qualified clients, but other states don’t currently have such a backlog, and do not even know the best way to get the word out to potential candidates. Details need to be worked out and worked out quickly to help states spread the news to qualified candidates so that the money earmarked for qualified candidates gets spent within the timeframe encompassed by the legislation and in the proper manner intended,” says Plavecsky.

Since it’s obvious that few know about the program I decided to go back to the manufacturer having success in this market to learn more.

“We have almost doubled our business in regard to contractors coming to us for window products. They [contractors] have seen great increases in funds for weatherization programs due to ARRA,” says Ray, whose company was involved with weatherization programs before ARRA.

I don’t know if Ray’s case is unique, but the relationship he has with his contractors seems to be an ideal one.

“Last week we met with the contractors who gave us an update on upcoming projects to make sure we would be prepared,” says Ray. “The contractors we work with have already doubled our business and we expect it to double again in the next three months.”

Things are going so well that NT Windows has operated a second shift since the first week of March and is introducing some new equipment so it can begin operating a second line.

Ray also offered some advice.

“There is a lot of money out there but you have time restraints that you must meet,” he says. “The contractors really aren’t given a lot of time. They are given a book of projects and have a very limited time frame [in which] to complete them, then they start again. You have to be willing to work within that cycle …. If we didn’t have communication we’d have a lot of rushes.”

I’m not saying it’s an easy task. You may have to spend some time on the Internet to find the appropriate contacts, then time on the phone to call carious contractors to see if they need a reliable window supplier.

To start, check out http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/about.cfm for everything you need to know about the program, including a list of state contacts (and basic information if this is the first time you’re hearing about it).

And visit www.energy.gov and search for the word “weatherization” to find the states that have already received funding and the latest news regarding your state.

If you’re a manufacturer that already is taking advantage of the program, I’d appreciate hearing from you regarding this or any other experiences you may have with the program. I hope participation helps you weather the storm many manufacturers are facing in the current market.

DWM

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