What do you think will be the next big European import?

April 2, 2008

The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 04/02/2008:

What do you think will be the next big European import?

Solar products




Electronic hardware




Hardware attachment machines




Something else




John Swanson,
associate publisher of Window & Door

Everybody loves the idea of solar power—and the idea is certainly not new. In 20 plus years in the industry, however, I think I can count the number of times the topic has come up with window and door executives on one hand. There’s good reason. We’re a practical bunch. We know solar power—photovoltaic technology in particular—has a way to go before it will become a cost-effective energy source.

So I’m pleasantly surprised that it scored so highly in this week’s poll—predicted by respondents to be the next European import for the North American window and door market. I take it as a sign that the practical business people in our industry are starting to see some possibilities for solar power. It may be thanks to advancements in the technology or simply the rising costs of petroleum and other energy sources, but more people are saying it’s time to take a closer look at solar.

I’m not smart enough to predict when solar energy will start heading up a real growth curve, but I do think it will be in my lifetime. It will create plenty of new opportunities some day. Window and door companies—whether they are manufacturers that look for ways to integrate technology into their products or dealers that expand their lines to sell both fenestration and solar products—will be able to benefit from those opportunities if they pay attention.

Email John Swanson at jswanson@glass.org.