Survey: Energy efficiency most important to home builders when specifying windows

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When it comes to specifying window systems for new-home projects, energy efficiency and price are the top considerations among home builders, according to a December 2010 survey of Professional Builder readers. Nearly eight in 10 survey respondents ranked energy efficiency as a top factor, while about two-thirds said price is a key consideration.

December 27, 2010

When it comes to specifying window systems for new-home projects, energy efficiency and price are the top considerations among home builders, according to a December 2010 survey of Professional Builder readers. Nearly eight in 10 survey respondents (79.11 percent) ranked energy efficiency as a top factor, while about two-thirds said price is a key consideration (see tables below).

The vast majority of builders surveyed (76.82 percent) offer high-performance, energy-efficient windows as standard in their new homes, and more than a third (38.19 percent) sell high-performance windows as an upgrade. Of the builders that offer window upgrades, most said that only a small percentage of their customers choose to pay for higher-grade windows. The primary challenge is educating buyers on the benefits and true value of better windows.

“The real issue is getting home buyers to commit to pay the amount of dollars for efficiency in relationship to cost of home,” said one builder. Another respondent said: “It’s all about educating the public and competing with builders who just buy at a price line and not a quality system. You have to show your buyers a ‘real’ load calculation and what their payback will be. Be accurate. If not, it will damage your reputation and long-term business.”

With regard to trends in window style and framing systems, double-hung windows and vinyl frames are specified most often among survey respondents. Nearly a third (28.19 percent) said they use double-hungs on all projects they build, while more than one in five builders (22.84 percent) indicated that they specify single-hung units for all their homes. About one in three builders said they specify vinyl frames on all projects, while about 28 percent use wood on all homes they build.


What are your top considerations when specifying windows for your new homes? (Base: 225)           

  • Energy efficiency            79.11%                       
  • Price            65.78%
  • Quality/performance            62.22%
  • Manufacturer’s reputation            24.89%           
  • Low maintenance            18.22%
  • Aesthetics            17.33%
  • Warranty            17.33%           
  • Availability            14.22%
  • Helps meet energy code            12.89%           
  • Easy of installation            8.44%                       
  • Customization options            6.22%
  • Loyalty/relationship with manufacturer            5.33%                       
  • Helps achieve green certification            4.00%                       
  • Other            2.22%                       

 

Do you offer energy-efficient, high-performance windows for your new homes? (Base: 220)

  • Yes, as an optional upgrade            19.55%                       
  • Yes, as a standard            58.18%                       
  • Yes, as both a standard and upgrade (i.e., good/better/best)            18.64%                   
  • No            3.64%                                

 

If you offer energy-efficient windows as an optional upgrade, approximately what percentage of your buyers choose to upgrade their windows? (Base: 159)

  • Less than 10 percent            30.82%                       
  • 11-25 percent            30.82%                       
  • 26-50 percent            13.21%                       
  • 51-75 percent            10.06%                       
  • More than 75 percent            15.09%                       

 

On average, how many windows do you specify for each home you build? (Base: 220)

  • Less than 10            10.91%           
  • 10-15            34.55%           
  • 16-20            28.64%           
  • 21-25            11.82%           
  • More than 25            14.09%           

 

What types of windows do you specify for your homes? (Base: 225)
All projects            Some projects            Do not use

  • Double Hung            28.19%            63.83%            7.98%           
  • Single Hung            22.84%            44.44%            32.72%
  • Casement            20.22%            68.85%            10.93%           
  • Picture/Fixed            21.76%            72.35%            5.88%
  • Arched                        11.69%            76.62%            11.69%
  • Skylight/Clerestory            10.60%            70.86%            18.54%
  • Bay            9.72%            72.92%            17.36%
  • Awning            7.19%            56.83%            35.97%                       
  • Glider            6.62%            58.09%            35.29%

 

What types of frame materials do you specify for your homes? (Base: 225)
All projects            Some projects            Do not use

  • Vinyl            31.32%            59.34%            9.34%
  • Wood            28.49%            59.88%            11.63%
  • Aluminum            8.27%            39.10%            2.63%
  • Fiberglass            5.51%            45.67%            48.82%
  • Composite            2.56%            46.15%            51.28%
  • Steel            0.91%            23.64%            75.45%

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