IN DEPTH: Windows and Doors

Energy Star’s Most Efficient program, which began in 2013, focuses more attention on product benefits. Companies are beginning to heavily promote products that make this list. Ply-Gem, for instance, says that 30 of its products are on the list.

“Energy codes and standards impact the products that customers decide to buy,” agrees John Vukanovich, director of marketing for Royal Building Products. “With doors, we’re seeing a trend toward deeper frames that allow the glass area to be brought close to the warm interior of the home, helping increase energy efficiency.”

Homeowners are becoming savvier about reading labels, too, notes Hayfield’s Rouhoff. “Buyers are becoming more energy-conscious and more aware of U-values,” he says. “In the past, they were more conscious of name brands, but now they’re looking more at performance.”

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“Energy efficiency is an expectation today,” says John Stark, channel manager for Simonton Windows. “Energy Star is one of several items homeowners consider when replacing their windows. They consider style, beauty and quality as well as the energy efficiency of the doors and windows.”

Glass Packages Expand

Tying into both style and efficiency with door products is the glass package customers select. “Homeowners often think more glass is less energy-efficient, but that’s not necessarily so,” says Amanda Fowler, marketing manager for ODL. The company has introduced a new program of small glass panes in a variety of sizes and shapes to customize doors and maintain their architectural correctness. “In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in requests for privacy glass,” she says. “Homeowners want customization and varying levels of privacy.”

Adds Therma-Tru’s Fielding, “Privacy- glass options are gaining popularity. Homeowners want to let daylight in but still remain private.” That has led to more transoms in particular, and Therma-Tru expanded its line to meet this need. “We do regular online research with homeowners and ask about shapes they’d like to see. They continue to like the Craftsman style doors and wanted a camber-top lite. It goes into the top of the door, which is a formation that is becoming popular.”

ProVia has created a partnership with ODL to incorporate some of its products into ProVia’s doors. “There’s a trend toward more glass in the door,” Wengerd says. “We saw the rise of sunbursts and half-lites in the past, but the biggest style recently has been the three-quarters lite. Partly, that’s due to skins being available now in those shapes. Improvements in technology allow light to come into the home, and everyone loves that. But they also want privacy, efficiency and security.”

The trend to letting in more of the outside holds true for patio doors, too, Royal’s Vukanovich says. “We’re seeing more requests for sidelights and transoms to expand the size of the space and bring in more light.”