Latest Articles in Industry Watch

  • The partial federal government shutdown last fall, the haggling over raising the debt ceiling, Obamacare missteps and its unknown―yet-postponed impact on business costs and personal finances all muddy the waters. Not surprisingly, this has led to a decline in consumer confidence over recent months. The Consumer Sentiment Index fell in October to the lowest reading since December 2012—even... more »
  •   As 2012 drew to a close, we were waiting for the sequestration shoe to drop. This year, we are in a similar but much less publicized situation with regard to the fate of quantitative easing. Quantitative easing, or QE, is a federal monetary policy that the government occasionally resorts to when standard monetary policy becomes ineffective, to pump more money into the economy... more »
  • Not too long ago, the construction marketplace—and the residential sector, in particular— led the national economy in a race to the bottom. Other sectors fared somewhat better, but only by comparison. Now, the tables might be turning. Consumers are considerably more positive about current business and labor market conditions. According to Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan... more »
  •   While this column is generally devoted to happenings in the residential fenestration industry, there have been some negative developments in the commercial energy code arena in recent years that deserve everyone’s attention. In 2010, the fenestration industry successfully blocked a proposal to amend ASHRAE 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential... more »
  • Today’s windows, doors and skylights bear little resemblance to those of yesteryear. Materials technology, designs, standards, testing protocols and installation requirements have continued to evolve, providing consumers with greater performance and aesthetic options at moreprice points. The old double-glazed window pane has moved well beyond a simple unit consisting of two lites of glass... more »
  • On average, 18 toddlers die annually by falling from windows, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. More than 98,000 children—an average of 14 per day—were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for windowfall-related injuries during the 1990-2008 time period, according to the most recent study on the subject. About 65 percent of those injuries involved children four years old and younger,... more »
  • An economic uptick might be on the horizon for the window and door industry, with many economists projecting positive growth for 2013 and beyond, as the 2012 election recedes into history. At least, as Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects, says: “We can’t use the election excuse anymore for delaying decisions.” In general―barring the usual... more »
  • Anti-vinyl bias is again surfacing in the context of the ongoing evolution of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system—expressed in draft versions of LEED 2012, now known as LEED v4, the successor to LEED 2009. The USGBC was slated to vote on LEED 2012 on June 1, 2012, but after 22,000 responses poured in during the... more »
  • When the economy is this precarious, every penny spent must be justified. Cost efficiency and a lean operating model becomes the Holy Grail for survival. The cost of joining and participating in a trade association must be weighed against other discretionary spending. But focusing on the cost is only half of the cost-benefit equation—never a good business practice. To fill in the rest of... more »
  • As in Samuel Beckett’s famous two-act play, “Waiting for Godot,” a lot of us must feel much like we’re waiting vainly for the arrival of some mysterious character to bring back happier days. True to the plot, while cruising through the statistics can dig up some positive areas to confirm a reasonable optimism, the overall economic picture remains largely inscrutable: Job... more »