Research shows shift in home improvement trends
— Americans would choose new windows over kitchen remodel —
Reprint from Window & Door Magazine
As the housing economy slows and energy costs accelerate, Americans are looking for home improvement projects that work
to add value to their home and add to their monthly savings. In a national study conducted by Kelton Research, over two in
five (44%) homeowners surveyed said that if presented with the free services of a contractor, window replacement would be
more important than a variety of popular home improvements like a kitchen remodel, installing new carpeting, landscaping the
yard or building a new deck.
“A majority of American homeowners (51 percent) said their windows aren’t ‘green’ or energy-efficient
enough,” said Elaine Sagers, vice president of marketing, Windows & Doors. “That fact combined with this
new sense of practicality about home improvement projects tells us that many consumers are truly looking for ways to reduce
how much their house actually costs them in monthly bills and upkeep.”
In the study, over half (51 percent) of Americans said that of anything in their home windows offer the most potential
when it comes to energy efficiency — even more than other products including lights (48 percent), insulation (48 percent)
and heating systems (43 percent).
Green is taking root
Nearly two out of three (65 percent) homeowners believe
that energy efficiency is the most important quality to consider when choosing new windows. The virtues of ‘green’
energy-efficient windows easily won out over other qualities like durability, safety, ease of use, soundproofing and clarity.
“We have long recognized the priority homeowners, builders, and contractors and architects put on energy efficiency
when it comes to choosing windows and doors, said Rob Jablonski, vice president of engineering whose team is focused
on designing and testing innovative energy-efficient solutions. “That’s why innovation and the environment are
so important . We are continuously striving for ways to make windows and doors the best they can be in terms of
quality and energy efficiency.”
Despite many Americans’ worries about energy efficiency,
drafts and other issues, some homeowners are still reluctant to initiate a window replacement project.
More than four in 10 (44 percent) said that suddenly coming into some money like winning the lottery or landing an inheritance
would motivate them to replace at least one window in their home. Yet among those who have experienced a window replacement
project in their home, 60 percent said the entire project cost about what was expected or even less.
Other concerns about replacement included the perception that the process seems too daunting, that it’s too time
intensive and not knowing where to go for help. Contrasting that among the recent replacers, nearly half (45 percent) of homeowners
who hired a professional to replace their windows noted the quality of the installer’s service was better than expected.
Right frame of mind
Despite the dread of ripping
into home improvement projects for many people, two-thirds of homeowners surveyed agree it’s not okay to delay window
And, after all was said and done, among those who did replace, their energy efficiency priorities were met as savings,
style and comfort added up. Almost half (49 percent) reported their utility bills actually went down after their last window
replacement project. They also found their homes more comfortable (48 percent), more valuable (38 percent) and their new windows
aesthetically more pleasing (48 percent).
Chicago Tribune features writer Lou Carlozo’s window replacement experience
is a prime example of a painless replacement project. Carlozo recently replaced the windows in his 1920s Victorian bungalow
home just a few miles from Wrigley Field on Chicago’s North Side.
One month after having six new windows installed in his home Carlozo says, “the glow has hardly faded from our
new windows. My wife Amy and I feel like we’ve made the right move to protect, beautify and conserve energy.”
“The windows look incredibly beautiful and our old house looks like it has a new life,” said Amy.
The Windows & Doors Survey was conducted by Kelton
Research between Jan. 10-16, 2008, using e-mail invitation and online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate
representation of the total U.S. population of homeowners ages 18 and above.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of variation is measurable, affected by the number
of interviews and level of percentages expressing the results.
In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3 percentage
points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented
by the sample.