Darrell Smith, Executive Director

Darrell Smith is the Executive Director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).  With over 40 years experience in marketing, sales and distribution and the last 30 years in the window film industry, he has served as organizational and planning consultant with trade associations, Internet related businesses, and investment firms. The IWFA is an industry body of window film dealers, distributors, and manufacturers that facilitates the growth of the window film industry though the use of education, research, advocacy and consumer awareness.

Expert Insight on Window Trends Survey Results

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Ply Gem Vinyl Windows
April 18, 2016

While your customers may know their goals for their home renovation, few will shy away from admitting they need professional insight when it comes to choosing the right materials. Consumers rely heavily on expertise of third parties like builders and groups like the International Window Film Association (IWFA).

According to the 2016 Professional Builder Window and Door Trends Report, builders shared that nearly 44 percent of home customers rely on them to make material and brand selections for projects. Knowing that customers rely on you should issue a challenge to stay connected with your manufacturers and product dealers.

Having worked in the window film industry for over 35 years, it is always interesting to consult the latest trends report to see just how far our industry has evolved. When it comes to windows, here are three key takeaways from the recent Professional Builder report:

1. Energy Efficiency – According to the report, over 70 percent of builders noted energy efficiency as one of their top considerations when specifying windows for a home. Seeing as consumers and business owners are always looking for ways to save on heating, cooling, and renovation costs, energy efficiency is and will continue to be a selling point for cost-efficient retrofits and window projects.

A big trend with utilities these days is time of use billing. As peak energy demand increases, the capacity of the utility is stressed. In order to avoid a brown out, utilities work to control demand by increasing cost. The lay of supply and demand takes over, and the high cost of peak demand electricity pushes consumers to curtail their energy use. Encouraging your customers to choose an energy efficient option can help them avoid unnecessary strains on their utilities.

2. The Bigger, The Better – One-third of survey respondents shared they are specifying larger windows for their building projects. As the aesthetic interest for natural light and maximizing views continues to rise, you will see more and more customers requesting large window installations. One thing to caution customers on is that while these windows do admit lots of light– they also allow dangerous UV rays to enter the interior.

Untreated windows may only block up to 25 percent of UV rays from passing through the pane. Anyone sitting near an untreated window, and in direct contact with the sun, is at risk of cumulative premature aging, skin damage, and skin cancer.

The same effects from the sun on our skin, can be seen affecting the floors and furnishings near large windows. Whether it is a cracked leather couch or faded wood floors. Offer a word of caution to your customers, or at the very least, a product that can help block UV rays like professionally installed window film.

3. When Money Is A Factor - Over 45 percent of builders reported price being a top consideration when specifying windows. One of the toughest situations can be hearing your customer's dreams for their new design, then seeing those dreams come to a halt when they review an estimate.

In order to best serve our customers, it is important we be knowledgeable of all product options. Instead of replacing structurally sound windows for dual-pane, energy-efficient windows, a simple, yet cost-effective solution is professionally installed window film. In most cases, window film can achieve the same results as your client’s dream window.

Quality retrofit projects like professionally installed window films offer up to 99 percent UV protection, and solar-control films are available with different levels of insulation improvement. Best yet for your customers, the cost of professionally installing window film is a fraction of a new window purchase and installation.

Trends to Live By

If you haven't reviewed this year's Window and Door Trends Report, I encourage you to do so. These reports are incredibly valuable for our industry. They help us learn from one another and give us that nudge to learn something new, try different products, and connect with other professional builders.

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