Volume 2   Issue 2               Summer 2001

t h e   r a t e   d e b a t e

Window's Benefits: Convincing the Builder
by Jim Benney

Window manufacturers must compete for the consumers’ dollars with a number of home improvements and upgrades including master baths, high-tech kitchens and the like. To compete effectively, salespeople and dealers must be armed with positive information about windows that makes a difference to both the homebuilder and the homeowner. It is important that the industry ride the wave of these new trends. Specifically, that master baths need more and larger windows and a skylight. Also, technological kitchens look so much better with the addition of daylighting (and the added accessibility) that sliding and swinging patio door systems can provide. Beyond these simple techniques, there are some sales tools that can perhaps persuade a builder to add a few more windows, to add an additional patio door or a skylight to a new home. 

Simple Explanations

Use simple explanations for the natural benefits of windows—daylight and fresh air.

Sell the fact that people need daylight and fresh air. Natural light is known to affect visual performance, health and human performance. Research has shown that workers are more productive when there are more windows; that students perform better in schools where there is more daylighting; and that patients heal faster in hospital rooms with windows. It is simple—houses with more fenestration products have better curb appeal, sell faster and make for happier homebuyers. 

In addition, windows are necessary for healthy, natural ventilation in homes. Operable windows, skylights and doors are the only way to bring natural ventilation into a home. Who doesn’t enjoy opening up their house in the springtime after being closed up for the long, cold winter? 

Educate builders on the benefits of cross-ventilation—windows on more than one side of the room. Only with windows can you enjoy those cool summer and fall nights—bringing in fresh air and saving energy, too.

Energy and the Environment

Use both energy and the environment to promote window usage. The fenestration industry has used the latest window technology effectively to promote the energy savings offered by efficient windows. Try to explain these benefits in simple terms—such as “comfort” and “reduced heat loss.” Energy efficiency as a sales tool can be made even more effective by noting the positive aspects that energy use has on the environment. Studies have shown that the energy it takes to heat, cool and light buildings (both residential and commercial) is responsible for as much as 40 percent of the carbon emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. Global warming is a reality and it can be a key phrase to reach those homeowners (and builders) who are environmentally-aware. The ever-increasing popularity of the DOE/EPA ENERGY STAR® Windows Program is proof of this fact. Energy-efficient windows are a very green product—allowing daylight into the home (reducing the dependence on artificial lighting), while reducing unwanted heat loss and/or heat gain. Promote energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights as a way to lighten hallways and garages and to make living areas more comfortable and people-friendly. 

Credible Ratings

Use credible and believable performance ratings so homebuilders and homebuyers feel they are getting value from their purchasing decisions. Having National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels on windows, doors and skylights provide that credibility and offer increased perceived value for fenestration products. In addition, having NFRC-certified performance ratings assists salespeople and dealers when confronting less-than-honest competition. Promote the fact that your products are certified—it may be just the incentive needed for the sale. 

Research has shown that workers are more productive when there are more windows; that students perform 
better in schools where there is more daylighting; and that patients heal faster in hospital rooms with windows.

There is an old saying: “Eyes are the windows to the soul.” The windows, doors and skylights are the “eyes” of the home, the openings that allow us to enjoy nature and the outdoors, while keeping us secure in our surroundings. Communicate all the benefits of fenestration products to your customers and see your sales soar.

Jim Benney is director of education at the National Fenestration Rating Council, based in Silver Spring, Md.

© Copyright 2001 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.