Volume 13, Issue 9 - November/December 2012

feature

Turning Sustainability into Success
by Tara Taffera

Energy-efficient products can increase sales; waste reduction can offer further benefits down the supply chain; and window dealers do seek energy-efficient products. In short—green means green in every way—including your bottom line. DWM scoured North America to find the companies and technologies in the door and window market that are turning sustainable principles into success. Our four winners of our 2012 Annual Green Awards exemplify those principles.

Replacing Aluminum Windows One by One NewSouth Window Solutions

When executives Dan Ochstein and Earl Rahn left their executive positions at Champion Window in 2009, they decided to start a new window company that focused on energy-efficient windows, thus saving consumers money on their energy bills. They set up shop in 2010 as NewSouth Window Solutions in Tampa, Fla., in a state that, according to Rahn, was ripe for their value proposition. They now have three locations in the State.

“There are 15 million people in Florida—9 million residences and north of 95 percent of those windows are single pane. A state nicknamed the Sunshine State should be leading the way,” says Rahn, who serves as president of the company. “Florida is 12 years behind Alabama, and 18 years behind Georgia in terms of energy efficiency [and moving to insulating glass systems).”

Choosing a window system to manufacture was another easy choice made by Ochstein, who serves as CEO.

“I had looked at the Sashlite technology when it first came out when I was at Champion,” says Ochstein. “I liked it then but unfortunately Champion just committed $5 million in another technology. When I left Champion I ran to Sashlite. I think energy efficiency is the most important factor heading into the marketplace right now.”

NewSouth’s eVantage window utilizes the Sashlite spacer system which is integrated into the profile of the window sash which the company says results in a superior warm-edge rating. The company also uses Cardinal’s LoE 366 glass and HB Fuller’s Sash Seal and Sash Dri and Chelsea’s uPVC extrusion. The window has a solar heat gain coefficient of .18.

“We exceed Energy Star and many of the windows we are competing with don’t even meet Energy Star,” says Rahn. “We understand this climate and make windows for this climate.”

Ochstein adds that NewSouth was founded with a focus on energy efficiency.

“It was the central focus of where we wanted to be,” he says, adding that the company took great care in choosing the products that went into its window.

“With our glass we went with the best and we had a lot of other choices,” says Ochstein. “It may raise the price a little but it gives our customers the most high-performance, energy-efficient window.”

But changing the mindset of homeowners in Tampa is quite the task.

“It was almost amusingly unfair to realize there are half-million-dollar homes made with single-pane aluminum windows,” says Rahn.

Thus, NewSouth is educating everyone from the homeowner to the builder.

“We brought in all the major homebuilders in the Tampa region to work with them and educate them regarding energy-efficient windows,” says Ochstein. “Fourteen out of 15 builders were still buying aluminum windows.”

And the homeowner hears about NewSouth in everything from radio to TV and print ads. The company is also working with utility groups in the attempt to get them “to move to a more aggressive rebate program.”

Embracing Energy as a Core Principle Deceuninck North America
It wasn’t just one single product that allowed Deceuninck North America to earn the DWM Green Award. Sustainability is one of the company’s core principles, and the products and services it offers its fabricators embraces those beliefs. For one, Deceuninck announced last year that it partnered with JPI Industrial, the largest recycler of PVC materials nationwide, to launch a comprehensive recycling program for its customers.

As part of the program, JPI collects end cuts and other scraps from Deceuninck’s fabricators and provides the recycled content back to the company where it is reintroduced into the manufacturing process.

“We have a zero-waste goal, and our partnership with JPI will help us meet this goal by reclaiming unused product that might have otherwise ended up in the waste stream,” says Filip Geeraert, president and CEO of Deceuninck.

The company also has partnered with Bayer MaterialScience LLC to introduce Innergy Rigid Thermal Reinforcements which the company says contain 20 percent bio-based resins.

Brian Barbieri, president of Home-Guard, based in Grabill, Ind. is one of Deceuninck’s fabricators who has embraced the Innergy product.

“The physics of the product are exceptional,” he says. It outperforms any other material and to do that with something green in nature is phenomenal. This is the first time I know of that a window supplier has introduced something organic. It is really a huge step forward.”

He also says Home-Guard embraces the green philosophy as an important part of the company and its culture.

“We carry through that same philosophy to be as green as possible,” says Barbieri. “Whereas so many companies are trying to meet the mark, whether it’s Energy Star or NFRC or the tax credit criteria, we have always tried to exceed the mark. We have never been the lowest guy out there and don’t want to be.”

Barbieri also applauds De-ceuninck for standing out among other suppliers.

“I give them credit for trying to take a unique approach to the marketplace because, let’s face it, in many case it’s what’s different that sells. They have the trifecta,” he says.

Ahead of the Curve EnergyQuest, Quanex Building Product
Instead of waiting for the final Energy Star requirements, Quanex Building Products Corp., unveiled the EnergyQuest Window and Door System to help its customers gear up for those changes.

“EnergyQuest gives those manufacturers looking to redesign and retool their products additional options to achieve the proposed 2014 U-factors from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” says Mark Gallant, senior product marketing manager.

This will be especially important, he says, for those struggling to accommodate the change for the Northern zone target U-factor of 0.27, or those designing windows to meet the proposed new Energy Star ‘most efficient’ tier of 0.18 - 0.20.”

Available in double-hung, single-hung, slider, patio door, casement, awning and picture window options, EnergyQuest is designed to accommodate either double- or triple-glazed insulating glass units up to 1-1/8-inch thick, and will be offered with or without an extruded nail fin for the desired installation method. It will also come standard with Quanex’s SuperCoat UV-cured technology, a color coating that the company says is seven times harder than competitive paint options.

Lorne Weigt, product sales specialist, Quanex Building Products, says the feedback to the product has been extremely positive.

“At GlassBuild, visitors to our booth’s Innovation Zone were delighted with EnergyQuest … Which provides our fabricators with options in a number of areas,” he says. “With its flexibility and performance values, EnergyQuest is perfectly suited for each zone of the Energy Star program, meeting our customers’ needs today, tomorrow and into the future.”

He was also in attendance at Win-door North America in November and said interest in the product was high. He again stressed that the key to the product is its flexibility and that it offers fabricators a variety of options.

Passing on the Savings OptiGas/Vista Windows
Vista Windows recognized an opportunity to decrease argon waste and ran with it. As a result, its dealers are benefiting as well. With OptiGas, an automated and integrated smart fill system for insulating glass (IG), window manufacturers can hit precise thermal performance targets, scientifically verify actual thermal conductivity and slash IG costs, according to company founder Mike McHugh.

“Our customers have been able to close more deals and get more business because it has added more credibility to the sale,” says Tony Kesicke, marketing director at Ohio-based Vista Window Co. “They [our dealers] have always asked how the homeowner knows they get what they are paying for. That is the absolute benefit of this [technology] because if it is explained properly and the consumer goes to the website and types in the window ID, they will see exactly how much gas is in their particular window.”

That benefit, ThermalCERT, is a program that statistically verifies the thermal conductivity of IG batches, according to McHugh. With ThermalCERT, you get a testing station and a marketing program with labels, certificates of verification and other materials you use to promote the thermal performance of doors and windows.

“Dealers are excited because they can prove what they say,” says Kesicke.

“It is fairly common that the homeowner will ask, ‘how do I know it is in there?’” says Tony Katros, president, WeatherSeal of SE Michigan Inc., a Vista dealer. “In the past we would say you have to trust us but they were skeptical. Now we can guarantee it and give them certification that is there. It takes the doubt out of it.”

Yet even with an innovative new product, if it isn’t marketed effectively, you won’t realize the full benefits.

“Some other window companies are using the OptiGas to decrease gas costs but no one has jumped on the marketing aspect of it,” says Kesicke.

For Vista it was a no-brainer. In three days Kesicke had a brochure created for his customers regarding OptiGas and ThermalCert and a YouTube video followed.

“It’s a wonderful sales tool and it shows prospective customers that the company is concerned enough to give them verification,” says Katros. He adds that the homeowner reaction has been very positive but it’s too soon to tell if it has led to a boost in sales.

“It is hard to tell what causes a buyer to make that decision,” says Katros. “People are really pleased though. Without question it has helped in closing sales.”

Tara Taffera is the editor/publisher of DWM/Shelter magazine. She can be reached at ttaffera@glass.com. Follow her on Twitter @dwmmag, read her blog at dwmmag.com and like DWM magazine on Facebook.


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