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This article first appeared in the PB February 2012 issue of Pro Builder.

When evaluating window systems for new-home projects, most builders put the energy performance and quality of the product ahead of price, according to a January 2012 survey of 246 Professional Builder readers. More than 70 percent of the builders surveyed said that energy performance is a top consideration when specifying windows, while about 64 percent cited quality and 48 percent mentioned price as key considerations.

Energy efficiency has become a key selling point for builders as they look to differentiate their products from the glut of existing homes on the market. Nearly two-thirds of builders said they offer energy-efficient, high-performance windows for their homes as standard, while just 2 percent said they don’t offer energy-efficient windows at all.

A growing number of buyers are choosing to upgrade their windows, according to survey respondents. Of the 175 builders that said they offer high-performance windows as an upgrade (i.e., “good/better/best” selection), 48 builders said the majority of their buyers choose to upgrade their windows.

Vinyl and wood windows remain the most popular frame materials among home builders, according to the survey. Nearly a third of respondents (31.5 percent) said they specify vinyl windows for all of their new homes, while nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) use wood on all of their projects.

When asked about the types of windows they specify, double-hung and picture/fixed units were mentioned by the largest number of builders. More than 93 percent of respondents said they use picture windows in all or some of their new-home projects, while about 88 percent said they use double hungs.

This survey was distributed in January 2012 to 86,054 Professional Builder readers. No incentive was offered. By the closing date, a total of 246 eligible readers had responded. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 40.5 percent single-family home builder; 28.4 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 15.2 percent designer/architect; 2.7 percent systems builder; 1.5 percent multi-family builder; and 11.7 percent “other.”