Greenbuild Exhibitors Report Increased Demand for High Performance Products

By Katy Devlin, Window & Door
November 27, 2012
Meetings & Events

Exhibitors at the 2012 Greenbuild expo in San Francisco this month reported an increase in business activity, particularly in regards to high performance products. “People are saying that they see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Joe Erb, commercial sales specialist at Quanex Building Products Corp., on the show floor. “People are interested in sustainability; they are interested in our energy efficient solutions."

“The overall economic climate is improving for our products,” agreed Jim Kinley, commercial manager, Solutia Inc. Performance Films. “Energy costs are increasing for electricity and gas, and our products help reduce both [costs]. Customers can receive healthy rebates, and usually there is a two-to-three-year payback.”

Since opening a fully automated fabrication facility in Chicago for its high performance IG products with suspended film technology, Southwall Technologies has experienced growth as well, reported Bruce Lang, vice president of Marketing and Business Development. The company is looking to expand its IG production in the United States and globally, Lang said. “Now that we have automated manufacturing, we are seeing interest from new types of customers.”

Reflecting companies' efforts to meet increasingly stringent codes and standards, the show floor featured an array of super high-performing window and glass products. Among them were several triple-glazed units. Intus Windows, for example, showed its R-12 triple glazed windows, as did Cascadia Windows.

All of Cascadia Windows’ products bear the Energy Star label, said Michael Bousfield, technical representative. As demand and requirements for higher efficiency windows and doors has increased, the company has begun producing more triple glazing products. Currently, about one third to one half of all orders are for triple glazed products, Bousfield reported. "In 10 years, double glazing will be obsolete," he said. “The codes are requiring this, and it’s simple economics. The cheapest way to improve performance of your window is to upgrade to triple glazing.”

Zola Windows also displayed triple glazed products, including an R-8 window with R-11 glass. The company was founded in 2011 by Florian Speier, an architect who “wanted to find better windows for clients.” The European-style windows and doors are intended for the highly energy efficient and passive house market. Reflecting market demand for high performance products, Speier said the company is “doubling in size every three months.”

As an alternative to triple glazing, PPG promoted its No. 4 surface pyrolitic low-E. The No. 4 surface low-E allows for two low-E coatings in an IGU, without requiring multiple cavities. Videos and photos of these and other new products introduced at Greenbuild are available here

In addition to performance, customers demand longevity, said Jim Hay, territory manager, national sales, at Marvin Windows and Doors. “Customers want more efficient products that last longer.” Additionally, Hay said the replacement market continues to grow. “People are staying in their existing homes longer, and they are putting money into improvements,” he said.