|Windows featuring wood interiors, like these from Marvin, have become more prevalent as a high-end feature of custom homes.|
|Shipments of Prime Windows
(millions of units)
|Source: WDMA, AAMA and Ducker Research Co. Inc.|
The Three Eâs
Energy, Efficiency, Environment. These are terms that have gained new importance in many industries recently, and the window and door market is certainly no exception.
Consumers who replace windows and doors tend to do so for a few specific reasons, namely in hopes of improving the energy efficiency of their home, says Koester. The desire to keep energy costs down has always been somewhat important, he adds, but âin the last couple of years, it has just propelled itself to one of the first things that a consumer asks about.â
According to Kibler, people are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the products that are going into their homes, and programs like Energy Star have done a good job of educating consumers about the efficiency of their windows and doors. Where terms like R-value, E-value and solar heat gain coefficient may have confused consumers in the past, those in the market for windows and doors today are much more likely to approach manufacturers with a healthy knowledge of product options.
The ability to tell consumers that a product will give them a specific amount of money in energy savings each month has become increasingly important for manufacturers, according to Koester.
âStudies say that someone will move every six to seven years,â Koester says. âAnd to be able to go to a prospective buyer and say, âBy the way, Iâve got super performing, energy-efficient glass in this home that is going to save you on energy bills,â thereâs a quantifiable payback, not only on the energy that they have saved, but the resale value of their home.â
This push to save money on heating bills has meant good news for the battle that wood-based products have been fighting against the emergence of vinyl and alternative materials, says Pollard.
âWood is a natural insulator anyway. So, what we are finding is that when youâre looking at vinyl being strong in the market, stronger than wood at this time, it is more from the maintenance-free angle than on the energy efficiency angle,â Pollard says. âThose in the all-vinyl window replacement market talk about triple-sealing and triple-glass, but what they donât talk about is the fact that their product isnât wood, and that wood naturally insulates against the elements.â
âI think there are some interesting market dynamics going on. With sustainability, the green movement and energy efficiency, there is something to be said for the vinyl window where you can extrude it to the shape that you want, and it is very low-maintenance and will have a very long life if maintained properly,â Koester says. âBy the same token, you canât overlook the fact that a wood window is an excellent natural insulator and itâs a renewable resource.â
Wood-based products offer something for green consumers and builders, says Kathy Harkema of Pella, adding that the emphasis on sustainable design and green building has been another hot issue for the industry. Pella is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and its windows and doors can be used in a building earning LEED certification. âThere is greater interest in what types of resources are being used today. People are asking more and more about the amount of recycled content in products,â Harkema says.
Aside from LEED ratings, building codes and other forms of certification are also having an impact on the way the industry operates. âThe days of just selling a window in Portland and Jacksonville and Boston are gone,â says Koester. âEvery jurisdiction now has its own codes â whether itâs hurricane codes or energy codes. Itâs just made the industry a little bit more of a science, and that is a trend that we are working with and I think weâre succeeding at.â
Have it Your Way
Recently, wood has found a new role within the industry. More and more, manufacturers are creating windows with a vinyl-clad exterior â providing a maintenance-free and weather-proof option â and a wood interior â giving the home more design options. Manufacturers today are offering more wood options for the interior to help high-end designers match the species of wood on the window and door to the species used in the homeâs floors or cabinetry.
âFor instance, you might have a library or a study that has oak bookshelves or oak flooring, and then we come in with oak windows to match. Alder cabinets in the kitchen can be matched to an alder sliding patio door and alder windows,â Koester says. âSo, with the various wood species that are offered, we can really let the consumer, builder, or in many cases now, the architect or designer, put their own fingerprint on a project.â
Many manufacturers note the level of customization that is now available for windows and doors as an important design trend hitting the industry. Consumers or builders not only can choose a wood species, but can also personalize the grille pattern, size and color of the vinyl exterior.
Harkema says that more homeowners are also opting for custom hardware on their windows and doors â looking to match with hardware throughout the home.
âThere is more of a coordinated emphasis and generally more focus on different styles of hardware. People are really accessorizing their windows,â Harkema says. âRather than a basic, they are becoming a more fashionable part of the home â a focal point. People can coordinate the hardware on their windows with their patio doors and entry doors, and then extend that to the same tones that they are using with faucets and lighting fixtures.â
|Consumers are beginning to add custom hardware to their
windows and doors in order to match or complement other knobs and handles throughout the home.
Photo Courtesy of Marvin Windows and Doors
|Design trends in the industry are pushing for doors with more and more options. Everything from the wood, finish, hardware and grille pattern can be determined by the consumer or designer.
Photos Courtesy of (clockwise from top right) Pella, Vetter, and Marvin
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