Recent product innovations and designs have moved york windows squarely into the high-tech arena. Improvements in product performance and energy efficiency are key considerations in managing this category and set windows apart from doors, moldings and other millwork items.
Although windows and doors are usually sold in the same department, they are distinct products that call for separate management techniques.
Window manufacturers have improved their products with Low-E and other energy-efficient glazing systems, new framing materials, and better installation systems. The task of selecting–and selling–these high-tech windows requires greater expertise and the need to communicate technical product facts clearly, concisely and effectively to all categories of customers.
The retail window assortment must have a balanced selection with wood, aluminum and vinyl framing; double-hung and casement styles; and specialty windows and patio doors. Local preferences change quickly and must constantly be monitored to keep a productive, fine-tuned assortment.
Additionally, many manufacturers offer double-glazed windows with removable inner glazing panels. These inner panels can be removed in the summer and added in the winter. To carry thermal performance further – particularly in harsh climates such as northern New England or the upper Midwest – a third pane of glass can be added.
Windows with insulating glass assemblies offer another possible advantage. Glass coatings and tints can be applied to any of the surfaces. Each location can provide a different heat-transfer effect or significantly change the visual characteristics of a window. Windows can even be assembled using different types of glass for each layer – most commonly the inner layer is clear and the outer layer can be tinted, coated or both.
Manufacturers also have substantially improved the edge spacers that separate the layers of glass. Thermal breaks, spacers that combine traditional aluminum or stainless steel with less conductive metals, foam spacers and various combinations of these techniques have reduced the problem of heat transfer at the traditionally cold edges of window and patio door glazing.
There are also several other technologies, somewhat experimental, that offer even greater thermal benefits. These include evacuated windows (those with no gas at all between glass layers); so-called “transparent insulation,” which allows light to pass through while preventing heat gain and loss; and windows that can change their performance in response to light and temperature or in response to the flipping of a switch that sends a current through them.
Even more options will be available to builders in the near future. The improved performance will surely give builders who take the time to research and use them a competitive edge.