Velux Sees Bright Future
With a response to the launch of its new No Leak Skylight that is "exceeding expectations," Velux America Inc. sees a bright future ahead, according to Joe Patrick, product manager. In addition to the success of the new product, the manufacturer sees the green movement and its solar water heaters both creating new opportunities as the economy improves.
"As the largest player in skylights, we look to grow by growing the whole category," Patrick states. Historically, the "fear of leaks" has been a limiting factor for the skylight market as a whole, he notes, attributing those fears to problems associated with plastic bubble skylights that were popular in the '70s and '80s. "Our flashing systems have always set us apart. We're not fighting our own problem. We're fighting an industry problem," he adds, talking about Velux's re-designed product.
To address leak issues, the company added a new third layer of water protection into its skylights—a pre-attached deck seal that puts a layer of foam between the frame and roof deck. The foam layer, Patrick notes, is in addition to Velux's traditional flashing and underlayment. Emphasizing the new feature—and the manufacturer's confidence in the system—is a new 10-year warranty that guarantees not only the skylight but the installation as well, he states.
"We're very pleased with the response. People understand the new feature and the warranty and they get it," he adds. "We've also come onto the market with something new when the industry was low on new things. It enables you to get the attention of people."
The new seal is not the only new feature on the skylight that's making it attractive in the market. Velux added a number of new features, including a white interior finish that eliminates the need for painting and new Pick & Click brackets designed to ease installation of blinds and shades. "We made it better for dealers and installers. The paint feature alone makes the new model worthwhile for some," Patrick reports.
Velux's willingness to invest in the new product, as well as its manufacturing capabilities, during the recent weakness positions the company particularly well now, he continues. Not only does it foresee the housing and remodeling market improving, the green building movement is creating additional momentum for the company. "They're highlighting the ideas of daylighting and ventilation—concepts we built our business around," Patrick states.
The company has also done well with its venture into solar water heating systems. That is still new for its U.S. operation, but Velux, based in Denmark, has been involved in that product line for "decades" in Europe. With heightened interest in energy efficiency here, it sees a real opportunity for such systems and is building a network of dealers to install these systems. Particularly with rebates available from utilities and various government programs, Patrick states that payback for homeowners can be as little as two to three years.