Since its establishment nearly 50 years ago, JELD-WEN has grown to be one of the top suppliers of window and door products in the world.

Headquartered in Klamath Falls, OR, JELD-WEN offers a wide range of windows, doors and garage doors. The company has won a variety of awards and endorsements for its reliability, innovation and excellence.

When it comes to the world of window and door manufacturing, JELD-WEN is a giant. This worldwide company currently has more than 150 divisions and more than 20,000 employees. The company, based in Klamath Falls, OR, began as a small millwork plant in 1960 with only 15 employees.

“Consistent, steady growth through the years, efficient use and recycling of resources, and taking advantage of opportunities at the right time has helped us grow to where we are today,” says Brian Hedlund, product marketing manager, windows. “We are in a league of our own because we are equally a window and door company, whereas most manufacturers in our industry specialize in one product or the other.”

The company’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, earning it awards and endorsements for its reliability, innovation and excellence.

JELD-WEN’s history of growth and expansion includes more than just windows and doors. Over time and through its various divisions, the company has opened doors into new industries, such as the stair and stair parts manufacturing industry, marketing and communications industry, and resort/hospitality industry.

Hedlund says the company’s long-term growth and success has been due, in no small part, to its adherence to remaining on the cutting edge of woodworking technology.

Opening Up Possibilities in the Window and Door Industry

One of the keys to the company’s success has been through the continual development and implementation of proprietary technology. These technologies, while kept under wraps, have enabled JELD-WEN to achieve things its competitors, at this point, cannot, Hedlund says.

To stay ahead of the competition, JELD-WEN does not allow its manufacturing technology to be available to the public.

One of the more recent product developments has been the company’s AuraLast wood treatment process. This process protects the wood to its core, rather than just the on the exterior of the wood. According to the company, wood treated with the AuraLast process reduces harmful VOCs by 96 percent and is guaranteed to resist wood decay, water saturation and termites for 20 years.

“Resistance to moisture is particularly important for frames surrounding exterior doors, which take the brunt of weather exposure. Over time, water penetration can lead to warping, cracking and rotting of doors and frames — the very problems that AuraLast was designed to avoid, even in extremely wet climates,” explains Hedlund.

Additionally, JELD-WEN says it was the first major manufacturer to introduce interior and exterior doors made with western juniper, turning an environmental concern into an eco-friendly option for homeowners, builders and remodelers.

“Considered a ‘water hog,’ the overgrowth of juniper, especially in the western states, has been linked to the disappearance of critical water springs in high desert regions, as a single tree can consume 30 to 50 gallons of water per day,” says Hedlund. “Since invasive juniper outcompetes several native plant species, this leads to a loss of forests and wildlife habitat. So much so, that state and local governments have offered programs to help support juniper removal in areas where it is quite literally a growing problem.”

Both of these technologies have helped to continue to the company’s ever increasing efforts at going green.

JELD-WEN’s wood windows and doors can be seen in homes around the world. Previously marketed under several brand names, the company consolidated its lines under the JELD-WEN name in 2003.

‘Greensense’

JELD-WEN believes in a common-sense approach to sustainability, according to company literature. With so many options and takes on what it means to go green, and customers looking into green for various reasons, JELD-WEN tries to offer a variety of green products to meet demands.

“JELD-WEN has always taken the long view, matched with a practical approach to manufacturing and product development,” says Hedlund. “This approach has resulted in a number of green building practices that 30 or 40 years ago, were simply called good business.”

According to company literature, JELD-WEN approaches the green movement on a wide range of fronts, including:

• Recycled Content: Early on, the company began implementing a proprietary process for using discarded wood chips to make moulded wood fiber interior door facings.

• Energy Conservation: many ENERGY STAR qualified windows and doors are available.

• Low-VOC Products: Through JELD-WEN’s proprietary wood treatment process, its water-based AuraLast treatment results in a 96 percent decrease in VOCs.

• Sustainable Forestry: the company is committed to preserving the beauty, value and productivity of the forestland owned and managed by the company.

• LEED Certification: Using JELD-WEN windows and doors can help
earn rating points for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program standards in the categories of energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

• Industry Certification: the company is a member of several organizations for certifications and industry ratings, including: Scientific Certification Systems, the Window & Door Manufacturers Assn., National Fenestration Rating Council, ENERGY STAR and the American Architectural Manufacturers Assn.

“The company is focusing on a multi-pronged approach to sustainable product innovation, which includes certification leadership, products made with proprietary processes that help greatly reduce toxins while offering the industry’s best production, productively using an invasive species that is considered a major environmental threat, utilizing recycled materials and building longer-lasting products that are ultimately more sustainable,” explains Hedlund.

Even the decision of where to place the company’s facilities has to do, in part, with the sustainability movement.

“Our manufacturing sites around the country are strategically located near major metropolitan areas,” says Hedlund. “This can greatly reduce the distance that JELD-WEN products need to travel to reach their destinations, which reduces fuel consumption.”

Not one to make claims without backing them up, the company also has utilized its window and door products in a variety of in house — and lighthouse — applications.

Throughout the company’s more than 150 locations, JELD-WEN employees receive regular training on operation and safety measures, as well as receiving cross training to improve efficiency.

Windows at Work

In 2004 the company set out to prove just how reliable its products are by taking part in the restoration of a structure that is prey to the elements, in an environment that is more brutal than would be found around the typical home: a lighthouse.

“One way we prove our products’ reliability is through the JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative,” explains Hedlund. “For the past four years, we have sought out lighthouses across the country which are in desperate need of repairs. This initiative has been a highly effective proving ground for our products when it comes to reliability.

“After all, if our windows and doors can withstand the harshest coastal weather conditions in the country, they can perform to the highest level in everyday homes,” Hedlund adds.
In 2004, the company selected the 111-year-old Umpqua River Lighthouse to benefit from its restoration efforts, replacing the entry door and the windows — many of which were broken, leaking and threatening to cause greater damage to the building. Since then, the company has taken part in restoration work on the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay and the Wind Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.

Recently, the company announced that the New Canal Lighthouse in New Orleans had won the 2008 JELD-WEN Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative. The lighthouse, built in 1890, was heavily damaged after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The company will donate windows and doors to the reconstruction efforts, which will begin in 2009.

In addition to the lighthouse restoration program, JELD-WEN demonstrates the effectiveness of its products through its resort and hospitality destinations. Through its JELD-WEN Communities division, the company owns and operates several resort locations throughout the United States.

The most recent JELD-WEN Community is Brasada Ranch, located in Powell Butte, OR. The facilities on the 1,800-acre ranch were designed with green technology in mind. According to company information, the Community Discovery Center is the first newly constructed destination resort in the United States to earn the USGBC’s LEED Gold certification rating.

Additionally, a second building on the resort, the development's Ranch House — a 17,000-square-foot structure that houses guest suites, a restaurant and the community's administrative offices — has recently been awarded a LEED Gold certification rating.

“The Discovery Center is just one example of sustainable development at Brasada Ranch,” Jerry Andres, president of JELD-WEN Communities said in a release. “Our core value of treading lightly on the land guided all our decisions, from diverting 75 percent of our construction site waste away from landfills to selecting 100-percent recycled roof shingles.”

As the company moves forward, in these and other arenas, it will continue to utilize wood in the design and construction of its products.

“JELD-WEN believes that wood will continue to be a popular choice for windows in the future. The beautiful look of wood has been a time-tested design style and we anticipate wood always appealing to homeowners’ tastes,” says Hedlund.

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