Manufacturers Weigh In On Why Windows Matter

The Why Windows Matter campaign sees involvement from numerous organizations such as the National Fenestration Rating Council, the Efficient Windows Collaborative, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions (PAWS). Manufacturers are on board, too, and are spreading the message that from financial and health perspectives, windows matter.

Unlike in decades past, the industry and consumers are starting to capitalize on the benefits of incorporating efficient products into the building process. Manufacturers see the market swinging in the direction of energy efficiency and want to ensure they offer what is in demand, especially if they already have products that could fit into that market and invest in its development.

“Manufacturers involved to date typically are the ones who are more poised to develop these products at scale, or already have it and want to scale it up,” says Walt Zalis of PAWS and program director at Energetics.

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

“We’re actively sharing the messaging wherever we can, publically and in private discussions with the various constituents we work with, and in particular with our customers,” Begin says. “It’s kind of like preaching to the choir because they’re already interested in high-performance solutions.”

For Begin, the most exciting aspect of the market evolution is the focus on windows and all they are capable of doing. Staking into the campaign was natural for Alpen, which already focuses on the high-performance segment of the marketplace.

“When you look at windows as part of a broader wall or building shell, they can more dramatically than any other element of the building or home affect the overall (energy) demand,” Begin says.

By getting involved with the campaign, manufacturers are able to keep a finger on the pulse of product developments and market preferences. For example, Elaine Miller, market transformation manager, lighting and building envelope at Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, says window attachments are part of the solution.

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

Many companies, such as Alpen and NSG Pilkington, already keep tabs and contribute to industry developments. Involvement in the campaign is just one more way to stay at the forefront of innovation.

“There are a number of different market drivers pushing energy efficiency in new buildings, retrofits, new construction,” says Kyle Sword, manager of business development at NSG Pilkington. “It’s important for us to know what the market is asking for and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to get involved and learn how to serve this market.”

Involvement also gives manufacturers a voice in how that market, and its codes and regulations, develop.

“That, to me, is one of the most critical things that I don’t know if people have really caught on to,” Sword says. “If we do nothing and continue to slowly change and morph, it will take too long to achieve the goals that are trying to be accomplished. That’s the real value I see in groups like PAWS, is these collaborative efforts will be able to speed implementation and adoption.”

For more information on the campaign, go to www.nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org.

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