Is Weatherization for You?
Survey Results for 11/04/2009:
Will Your Company Get Involved in Weatherization Projects?
We are definitely interested in these types of projects.
We have already worked on such projects.
Unlikely, but we are looking at the possibility.
This week's poll suggests the window and door industry is looking at DOE-financed weatherization programs for opportunities. Thirty percent of our respondents said they were definitely interested in these types of projects and nearly a quarter said they had already worked on them.
That may represent more than half the responses altogether, but just under a half expressed less enthusiasm. A definitive "no" came from 30 percent and another 16 percent say their companies are unlikely to pursue such work, but they'll look at the possibility.
As far as written responses, I would say I heard more from the "no" voters. As one distributor wrote, "While it would create energy savings for the country to put more efficient windows in every opening in the U.S., we need to stop the ridiculous spending of our government with 'economic stimulus' money. The thing that consumers consider is cost vs. savings. Giving a consumer an actual value will stimulate our industry and the economy more than excessive government intervention."
Robert Maynes of Mathews Brothers, a Maine window manufacturer, expressed even more alarm about stimulus spending, particularly as it relates to Serious Materials. Pointing to the announcement that Serious Windows' super-insulated windows were being used in a Chicago weatherization assistance program, he suggests "our tax dollars are being used to support the company of a friend of Obama."
I also heard from a manufacturer who doesn't appear to object so much to the concept of government-funded weatherization projects, but the approach that's beeing taken. "In the interest of saving the tax dollars earmarked for weatherization I feel that an R 5 window will cost too much $ to produce and therefore cost the taxpayer too much to use. Do we really save that much as a country with an R 5 window? This is true in the North but what about the Midwest and South where the need for U-factor changes to SHGC? I think we need to adhere to the Energy Star (approach) for performance of windows and not have a blanket requirement that does not truely meet the needs of the whole country's diverse climates. "
I know there are many people out there in our industry who share concerns about increased government spending. Given the number of objections raised about 30/30, I suspect there are others out there that agree that the R-5 strategy for the entire U.S. has limitations too. My guess is that such concerns will keep more than a few companies from getting involved in weatherization projects. Our poll suggests plenty of companies will be ready to pursue such work, no matter what their political feelings. No doubt, it will be interesting to see how many manufacturers participate in DOE's R-5 volume purchase program. I suspect I won't be the only one looking when that Web site eventually posts its list of companies.