Volume 8, Issue 3 - March 2007
From the Publisher
From Window Writer to Window Purchaser
I’m not one to wax on about my personal experiences, but am going to break that rule today. My husband and I signed a contract this morning to build a house, and I just can’t help sharing my experiences regarding the windows with DWM readers. After all, here’s your opportunity to delve into the thoughts of the average homebuyer.
First, the purchase would not be considered a “custom home” but we did pick our base floor plan then made some upgrades. This included hardwood floors, upgraded maple cabinets and wiring for lights (don’t even get me started at how that’s not part of the base price). Rather, we made our wish list, added it all up then realized we had to get rid of $75,000 plus in options. Here’s some of the things that ended up on the cutting room floor: stone front, two-tone paint, stainless-steel appliances, finished basement, deck, upgraded water heater, and I’m sorry to say, two bay windows located at the front of the house.
Before you cancel your subscription, let me say that I tossed and turned all night thinking about those windows. Besides the fact that they look beautiful, add more space and light to the room, there was more. I serve as the publisher of a window magazine! How could I not practice what I preach? Especially after reading in the March 2007 issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine featuring green building that David Gottfried, building consultant and founder of the U.S Green Building Council, downsized his 2,600 square-foot house for one half its size that utilizes a “green design” in all aspects. He definitely put his values into practice.
So I stayed awake that night and tried to think how to best broach the subject of bringing back the windows to my husband. Did I mention that he is an accountant? That he created an Excel spreadsheet with all the possible options and our final end number that could not be exceeded? My argument was going to stress the fact that we didn’t need a three-foot bump out in the living room and master bedroom. It was already big enough. The thing was I tried this argument before and he was pretty set on the extra space, but I was determined to try again.
The next morning, he fired up the computer, pulled up the spreadsheet and said, “the bay windows are back. And I added a third in the dining room. I just really like them and think they would bring more light into the house.”
Wait, my low-key, no thrills husband added three bay windows? The guy that probably wouldn’t open the blinds if I didn’t each day was worried about more light? Even better, no arguing was involved. This is good news for you, the window manufacturer. Whether it’s someone like me who reads the brochures talking about low-E and argon-filled units or someone like my husband who doesn’t know argon from krypton, one thing is certain. The beauty of windows speak for themselves.
Since honesty is at the core of this column, I admit there was one more item that ended up on the chopping block: glass and sidelites on the front door. Before you send me hate mail, remember that I kept those windows.
“Green”: Tell Us What You Don’t Do
An employee at an Atlanta, Ga.-based window manufacturing plant who did not want to be identified for that article told us that recycling and earth-friendly practices are not a high priority.
“We have our scrap vinyl picked up by another company, but that’s about it,” the employee says. “I hope it gets recycled, but I don’t know.”
It’s doubtful that many other companies would be as candid. Then again maybe you would. I’d love to talk to you about why you don’t incorporate “green-building” practices into your products or plants. No judgments would be made. Maybe you would love to but just can’t afford it due to the costs involved and the state of the housing market today. Maybe you don’t know where to start?
On the flip side, maybe manufacturers will call or e-mail with examples of what practices they do incorporate into their plants and products to make them “green,” or how they work with builders to incorporate “green building” into a home.
The challenge is on. One way or the other I’d love to hear from you regarding this growing trend. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org