2013 saw a number of acquisitions in the window and door market, including Ply Gem Industries’ purchase of Gienow Windows & Doors. In an effort to expand its presence in Canada, Ply Gem bought the company from VKR Holding, the Danish parent of Velux Group. "This acquisition allows the opportunity for Ply Gem to expand its existing product portfolio and distribution network in Western Canada," said John Wayne, Ply Gem executive vice president and COO.
Also notable last year was the acquisition of Truth Hardware by Amesbury parent Tyman plc. The $200 million transaction brought together two of North America’s largest suppliers of OEM window, door and skylight hardware.
Other major acquisitions in 2013: Andersen Corp.’s purchase of Weiland Sliding Doors & Windows Inc., the California-based manufacturer of sliding and folding door systems; and Wausau Supply Co.’s purchase of Taylor Entrance Systems, formerly Taylor Building Products of West Branch, Mich.
Energy Star Version 6.0
One of the biggest stories of 2013 was Energy Star Version 6.0, which at press time in late December, was nearing completion, according to EPA officials. Controversy surrounded the program in 2013, as window and door industry representatives expressed concern regarding the proposed implementation date of early 2014, as well as the program’s proposed product requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final draft of its Version 6.0 specification for Energy Star windows, doors, and skylights in July 2013, moving the implementation date to January 1, 2015. While the draft maintains the 0.27 U-factor maximum for windows in the Northern climate zone that many in the industry argued was not cost effective, it does reflect changes to some of the other U-factor requirements.
Passed at the beginning of 2013 to avoid tax increases for most Americans, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 reinstated energy efficient tax credits for windows, doors and skylights that expired at the end of 2011 and extended them through the end of 2013.
New Product Development
Reflecting a market that is beginning to pick up speed, manufacturers and suppliers launched a number of new product lines in 2013. Among the new introductions at the International Builders’ Show were Ply Gem’s 1500 System vinyl window line for the new residential and light commercial construction market; Jeld-Wen’s new replacement pocket double-hung window; and Lincoln Windows’ direct-set corner window. At GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, Deceuninck North America unveiled an industry-first prototype sliding door with a PVC frame and a polyurethane sash; and GED Integrated Solutions introduced the RC-100 RoboClean robotic corner cleaner.
Last year also saw the introduction of several new door models featuring contemporary designs. Therma-Tru launched its Pulse Collection, while Masonite debuted modern door designs that included the Hamel interior door, part of the West End Collection.
Energy efficiency remained at the top of consumers’ priority list of value-added features last year, and the window and door industry responded with continued innovation. The Energy Star program recognized more than 30 manufacturers with product lines meeting the criteria for its 2013 Most Efficient program, designed to recognize the highest-performing residential windows available on the market.
And research continues as to how the industry can further boost the energy efficiency of its products. At the American Architectural Manufacturers Fall Conference last year, Department of Energy officials announced that the DOE is “seeking the next game-changing, energy-saving window technology.”