Latest Articles in COLUMN

  • The weak economy has created tremendous challenges in  the window and door market over the past three years. From an editor's perspective, I still have a hard time believing how much bad news we've had to report. It's more than I have ever seen in 25 years covering this industry. Of course not all the news has been bad, and we continue to look for the good.  Amid all the stories of... more »
  • Today’s array of window features and performance claims emphasize energy efficiency. While energy performance is obviously of major importance, windows must serve purposes beyond saving energy. The best window for a given application and site is a virtually customized mix of features that represents an ideal balance of specific performance attributes. As we enter the fall season–... more »
  • We Chicagoans are, unfortunately, all too aware of the perks expected by some elected government officials. Whether its exotic trips or payment for a truck driver’s license or a vacated Senate seat, we don’t have to go back to the days of Al Capone to find crooks in Illinois. Of course this is not unique to Chicago. Nor is the expectation unique to elected officials. Stories about... more »
  • An old fable from India tells of a group of blindfolded men who, having never seen an elephant, were asked to conclude what an elephant is like based on touch alone. Each, having touched the elephant in various places–trunk, ears, belly, leg, tail–respectively describe the elephant as like a snake, palm leaf, wall, tree trunk or rope. Some in our industry– be they manufacturers... more »
  • I was discussing the American Clean Energy and Security Act with my oldest son a while back. I explained that it had started out as a bill by these two representatives Waxman and Markey, who had brought it before the House Energy Committee, where it had been passed. At the time of our conversation, it had recently been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. “So now it has to go to... more »
  • In 1985, a young window salesman was sent to Columbus, Ohio, to negotiate a contract of $275,000. His supervisor had commanded that young salesman to come back with the order and allowed, if necessary, that the salesman had the latitude to adjust the price by as much as $25,000. The very inexperienced young salesman walked into the office and met an intimidating purchaser who quickly exerted... more »
  • When the economy turns and the tide of red ink finally ebbs, the predominant color in a resurgent construction and remodeling market is very likely to be green. On the commercial side, the U.S. green building market is accelerating at a dramatic rate, says McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2009: Trends Driving Change report, released last November at the Greenbuild Conference. The... more »
  • The 2009 edition of the International Codes is now available. The debut of a new edition of the I-codes usually sparks a flurry of questions about content and enforcement. It is timely therefore to devote this column to the most frequently asked questions and their answers: Is the 2008 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 referenced in the 2009 I-codes?Yes. When the phrase “I-codes... more »
  • Nothing feels better to me than the beginning of summer. And from an industry perspective, it’s great to see things warming up a bit. With the spring came news that workers were returning to window and door plants, and I suspect many distributors and dealers brought back employees as business picked up in the office and in the field. Whether you attribute the increase in activity to normal... more »
  • It wasn’t the main topic, but customer satisfaction was a recurring subject of discussion at a focus group of custom and semi-custom home builders I moderated recently. Held in Las Vegas at the same time as the International Builders Show, the session revealed a shift in builder reliance upon manufacturers for “customer satisfaction,” as opposed to dealers and distributors. The... more »