Exclusive research: Builder window trends

When it comes to specifying window systems for new-home projects, energy efficiency and price were always the top two drivers of purchasing preference.

By Patrick L. O’Toole, Editorial Director and Publisher | April 2, 2013

When it comes to specifying window systems for new-home projects, energy efficiency and price were always the top two drivers of purchasing preference. But with the market for new homes improving, quality and performance moved ahead of price for the first time in the five years we have been collecting data on this subject. 

While price remains a top consideration, the results  mean that builders now see the benefits of creating long-term value for their clients as their highest priority. Builders and clients rightly see windows as a critical link in a tighter building envelope and to the overall value created in lower energy bills.
Methodology and Respondent Information 
This survey was distributed in January 2013 to 86,054 Professional Builder readers. No incentive was offered. By the closing date, a total of 341 eligible readers had responded. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 33.2 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 29.5 percent custom home builder; 12.6 percent architect engaged in home building; 8.1 percent production builder; 4.5 percent multi-family builder; 2.1 percent manufactured, modular, log home, or systems builder; and 10 percent “other.”

Vinyl windows had been the top framing material in this survey for several years, but that standing also changed in this year’s survey. Wood moved back into the top position. This ranking is consistent with the overall increased polling for features perceived to have superior performance and quality characteristics.
For the most part, builders are specifying the same size of windows as they did three years ago; however, some builders are seeing a slight uptick in the amount of windows they order for their customers.
Insulated, double-pane windows with low-e coating have become the industry standard, as more than 90 percent of builders said they specified units with this technology in the last 12 months. For more results from our 2013 Window Trends Survey, see the charts below.

What types of windows do you specify for your homes?

Double-hung windows are the most popular window style among respondents. All but 6 percent said they specify them on the homes they build.

What types of frame materials do you specify for your homes?

Wood edged out vinyl for the first time in many years as the most-utilized window-framing material. Composite materials also posted stronger results than in years past.

Are you specifying more or fewer windows in your new homes today versus three years ago?

The level of fenestration installed by builders is holding steady and growing a bit versus previous window and door surveys.

Compared to three years ago, has the average size of the window units you specify for your new homes changed at all?

The average size of windows hasn’t changed much during the last three years; however, larger windows are gaining ground as homeowners seek more natural lighting.

What are your top three considerations when specifying windows for your new homes?

The steady rise of Energy Star programs and other tight building envelope procedures like PassivHaus have kept energy efficiency at the top of the consideration set.

Which type of energy-efficient window technologies have you specified in the past 12 months?

Builders have shown an increasing knowledge of fenestration detail when it comes to energy-efficient features.


PB-Codes + Standards,PB-Windows,PB-Building Materials,PB-Economics,PB-Education,PB-Energy efficiency,PB-Green Design,PB-Industry Data + Research