June 5th, 2012
We often get hung up on thermal performance when comparing windows, but another feature that is becoming increasingly important to the homeowner is security. Walls are very secure, but windows and doors are less so. Sure, windows allow us to see the beauty around our homes and also to let in fresh air, but at the same time they can also let in the undesirable intruder.
Homeowners want a window that is strong and one that cannot easily be pried open. They also want window hardware that is strong and secure as well because no matter how strong the window frame might be, the window itself is only as strong as the hardware that keeps it locked or the glass that the frame encompasses. Special anti-crime window locks can be a big selling feature and laminated glass can also be offered as an option for security. One window manufacturer I know of shows a video of a “would be” burglar literally beating his laminated glass window with a baseball bat without breaking through the glass. It doesn’t look pretty and the view is obscured after the outer layer of the glass is shattered, but nonetheless, the glass package holds together and the frustrated burglar just gives up.
I remember back in the 80s, one customer of mine really jump-started their business by offering a built-in alarm system as a standard feature in every one of their windows. The windows were an instant hit among homeowners in the Cleveland area and really helped establish this company in the marketplace. It didn’t hurt that Larmco was also one of the first window companies to combine triple-pane IG construction with multiple low-E coatings, vinyl frames, non-metal spacer systems and even krypton. This integrated package of superior thermal performance coupled with an innovative approach to home security helped Larmco to gain a reputation in the marketplace as a cutting edge window company. I believe the company still offers these alarms as an option but they are no longer a standard item since many customers now seek more specialized window alarms offered by third parties such as ADT sold as part of an integrated home security monitoring system.
Champion Window salespeople can pitch home security with their “Champion Difference Number 30- Crime Fighting Windows and Home Security” bulletin. This bulletin, which I found online pitches their deep pocket sill, which offers a deeper groove for the window to rest in, providing more interior and exterior support. The company also offers an anti-lift lock for its windows, which further prevents unwanted removal of the window sash from the outside.
I suppose one could get the ultimate security by installing metal bars outside of one’s windows, but this screams “I live in a terrible neighborhood!”, so many homeowners might avoid this approach unless they really do live in a terrible neighborhood. However, one company I found on an Internet search, Mr. Goodbar, operating out of Calgary, offers what I feel is a rather attractive line of home security bars which mount on the inside of the window. The Goodbar product line also includes a swing -away feature which easily moves the bars out of the way during the daytime when one wants to appreciate the full view.
Last week I was both amused and impressed to see Tara Taffera and Holly Biller reporting from the AIA show about a bird proof window product. So now homeowners can rest easy without worrying about birds crashing into their windows, which can be quite upsetting. I remember this actually happening to one of my neighbors when I was a kid! She went to Church and prayed for ten days straight because she thought it was a bad omen!
One thing is for certain, home security is of increasing concern in today’s world, and window and door home security features are something that more window fabricators should latch onto when it comes to designing and pitching their products to home owners seeking extra security. Window and door home security can be another key feature to convince the fickle homeowner that it is indeed time to invest in new windows and doors.