We have arrived at the first of the month and we are fast approaching the coldest months of the year, so I thought I would open up the November blog posts with a look at how our industry is slap bang in the middle of a priority shift.
When I first joined the industry in 2006, one of the main USP’s of our product portfolio was the range of security features we did. It worked very well indeed. We have various things other companies didn’t come close to at the time. Our focus on security won us a lot of business. But I joined at a time when minds started to zone in on energy efficiency. This meant that windows also had to do their bit within the fabric of the home. By 2008 we had WER’s and by 2010 we had minimum C ratings.
There has been a fundamental shift within the UK over the last ten years or so to become far more energy efficient in as many things as possible. Whether that is recycling, building new homes, cleaning up power stations etc. But importantly for us, what this shift has done is to bring windows and doors more into focus. I would argue that before the UK really got on board with being energy efficient, new windows and doors were seen very much as an un-glamorous and boring home purchase. More of a chore than an aspirational purchase and came nowhere near to the excitement levels of buying a new car or kitchen. Now however, thanks to better education and freely available information, I would argue that much more of the buying public now see new windows and doors as a much more influential and important purchase. That new glazing does actually play a huge part of the fabric of a home and brings many advantages. This is a positive attitude swing that we can very much welcome and build upon.
But this is where I believe energy efficient windows are just that start. I think what energy efficiency in our industry has done is to educate us on how other areas of building can also make a huge difference to the efficiency of a building and how they also tie in with fenestration. For example I believe we all take more of an interest in different building techniques, other energy efficiency measures and have a better understanding of these thanks to programs like Grand Designs. It is also helping window companies to make more connections outside the usual circles, especially now thanks to things like blogs and Twitter. What I believe is currently happening is a cultural shift within out sector.
Thanks to more available information, better consumer understanding, greater energy efficiency focus and a drive to differentiate, I believe that in places our industry isn’t just windows and doors any more. It is something far bigger, far more diverse and has a much greater potential.
I refer you to a Twitter pal of mine @markmclean41. He is based up in Scotland selling high spec, highly energy efficient windows, doors and other glazing solutions. However, expanding on that, his business also provides things like heat recovery systems, geo thermal pumps – or heat pumps and other Passivhaus products. And this is exactly what I am talking about. It is only because of a fundamental priority shift to energy efficiency that we are starting to see businesses like these pop up in more and more places across the country. And I believe that this can only be a good thing.
Yes it takes time to prepare a business to get to selling other solutions beyond glazing. But if they can open up new revenue streams and expand the business in a positive and sustainable way, then why not.
So from locks to Passivhaus, there really has been a priority shift over the last few years, and it’s still happening right in front of our eyes.
Agree? Do you think our industry has changed a lot in just a few years? Or do you think it’s the same old industry trying to sell the same old mediocre products? All comments welcome in the section below.