Are You Stimulated?
Survey Results for 03/18/2009:
The new text credit has:
has had no impact.
Has increased the number of calls we're getting.
has already led to more sales
It seems I made a mistake with this last week's poll. I should have offered readers the option to say the new tax credit was having a negative impact. Randy Hoover, sales manager for Don Young Co. writes:
"The effect of the new stimulus bill on our business has been exactly the opposite of what the bill was intended to do. We are a 30 year old manufacturer of both vinyl and thermally broken aluminum windows based in Dallas. Both of our product lines meet current Energy Star criteria and we were excited to hear that the stimulus bill was upping the tax credit from a maximum $200 to a cap of $1500. In a tough economy, especially for window manufacturers, we thought this would be the shot in the arm we needed to get our business back on track for 2009, especially since the majority of our business favors the retrofit market. However, the last minute inclusion of the 30/30 criteria totally eliminates thermally broken aluminum windows and our vinyl window with our standard Low E glass package has a 32/31 U factor.
"We had started the process of simulating our windows with the new triple silver Low E's in anticipation of the more stringent Energy Star criteria going into effect in 2010. However, because of the 30/30 issue, the test labs have been overwhelmed and what would normally have taken one week to accomplish has been pushed back to four to five weeks. In the meantime, the small percentage of manufacturers that were fortunate enough to have a 30/30 window are grabbing market share by the handfulls. Instead of the criteria being based on meeting Energy Star criteria like it is for the other items included in section 1121, such as air conditioning, which only has to meet a 14 or 16 Seer rating, the 30/30 factor ignores years of Energy Star research and not only kills thermally broken aluminum windows but also forces manufacturers in the Northern U.S. to change their glass packages to a high solar blockage Low E from a passive solar gain Low E.
The 30/30 factor just shows the power of lobbyist groups with little regard to end effect this has on the majority of window manufacturers in the U.S.A.."
Hoover, as others have done, raises legitimate questions about the wisdom of the 30/30 requirements from an energy performance perspective. No matter what you believe about the numbers, you have to sympathize with his company and others, however, that have long followed Energy Star criteria and are willing to change their products to meet the new numbers, but just can't do so fast enough. The stimulative goals of the package were definitely not met across the board, given the last second nature of the new tax credit numbers.
But the tax credits are definitely having a stimulative effect for some companies. More than half our respondents this week are indicating they are getting more calls or have already seen an increase in sales.
"We’re definitely seeing an increase in phone calls," reports one manufacturer. "Not that that’s leading to an equivalent increase in sales, but at least it has gotten everyone’s attention."
Superior Windows & Doors, a dealer based in Ashland, Ore., moved aggressivly to take advantage of new tax credits, reports the company's Roy Cooper, who submitted video of the commercial the company has been airing:
"The week after Obama signed the stimulus bill we had the above commercial on the air in Southern Oregon. phones starting ringing and orders have been coming in," Cooper reports.