The last 5 years in this industry has been tough. Probably the toughest time the industry has ever had to face. Thousands of companies have closed their doors, thousands have lost their jobs and many tens of thousands of customers have been left with worthless guarantees…unless they have been underwritten of course! But despite this, there are some in this industry which have done very well indeed.
Warm Edge Technology
Since the introduction of energy rated windows, which require warm edge spacer bars, production of this material has rocketed. Especially so since the WER band was lifted to C in October 2010. Companies that were there at the start, like SwissSpacer, Thermoseal and others, have grown massively year on year. They’re churning out millions of metres of the stuff because pretty much every new window now has to have their product to meet the correct regulations. Key point here? Be ready when change happens, you could really make a moderate fortune!
Low E/Low Iron
Again, since the introduction of energy rated windows, it has rendered standard float glass pretty much useless. Very little glass that we order now is float. So, to meet the correct energy efficiency measures, glass companies had to create new types of glass that were better than the current Pilk K standard to keep more heat in. But more than that, to take advantage of the free sunlight and turn it into heat. So, companies like Pilkington, Saint-Gobain and the rest developed all the types that are now in use in all new windows in this industry. And yes, their margins have truly benefited. Especially with all those price increases ;)
As well as glass specs benefiting from the forced increase in energy efficiency, frame work has also received a boost. To help gain the best energy rating possible, some companies ditched the metal reinforcing in favour of the ‘WER Bar’ or thermal inserts. Those multi-chambered, recycled bits of PVC that help boost the outer frame energy efficiency. And again, those who got there first with the production of these products are now making a pretty little mint as most profile suppliers now offer an option with thermal inserts.
You see the pattern with all the above? All energy efficiency related. Despite the many complaint associated with energy efficiency and the general discussion about the validity of the efficiency numbers, the introduction of energy rated windows has created a mini-industry within this main one. It has driven growth for companies producing the products we have to sell, and has helped boost or at least consolidate sales for those installers pushing the energy efficiency message. But it the main, it is the manufacturers that have been given the biggest boost out of all of us.