New incentives spur interest 
in higher-efficiency windows

Whether it's measured in U-Value or R-Value, the value of energy saving windows is on the rise. In a time when other window manufacturing plants are closing down, Serious Materials has opened two window factories in the last 4 months.

How come? “We make windows and glass that just blows the socks off of the ENERGY STAR standard,” answers a laughing Sandra Vaughn, chief marketing officer for the company. “Our R-11 fiberglass window is about 4 times ENERGY STAR. Until now, R-11 has been unheard of, particularly for residential windows.”

As it happens, not all Serious Windows meet that high standard, although their top sellers are R-5 or better. But even their entry level vinyl windows have an R-value of 3.3, which qualifies them for this year's new energy efficiency tax credits.

According to Vaughn, the company applies an array of technologies to achieve those efficiencies, including: the use of a suspended film between the dual panes; inert gas fillers; a proprietary Eco-Spacer to minimize thermal transfer at the edges; soy foam insulation in their fiberglass frames; and a reverse triple seal. “There's a lot that goes into it,” Vaughn confided.

Thanks to the Recovery Act, the federal government will be pouring $5 billion into weatherization tax credits, $4.5 billion into greening the federal buildings, plus additional money that will be funneled through state and local governments for rehabing public schools and for low-income housing. And that's why Serious Materials was feeling optimistic enough to buy the old Republic Window and Kensington Window plants. “A lot of things are moving in our direction,” said Vaughn. “We're on the right side of the energy efficiency curve, and the right side of the government funding curve.”

The Kensington purchase also gives them access to that company's popular stylings, such as the Quantum2 line – which now wears the Serious Windows label. Vaughn says that many former Kensington dealers are signing up for the new brand.

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