So the election is over. What now? Well, for one thing, most door and window manufacturers are expecting an uptick in business for at least the first half of 2017. Many of my customers tell me that their business usually sees a downtown in the months directly preceding a presidential election, which they attribute to a general feeling of uncertainty. This year was no exception, they say. Now that the election is over and with single-family housing starts on the upswing, most of the door and window customers that I am talking with are expecting the first half of 2017 to look quite strong.

Did you hear me say that housing starts on the upswing? Absolutely! Check out DWM‘s recent report on housing activity.

So what about regulation? President-elect Trump has promised to focus on deregulation as a theme. The role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is likely to be diminished under a Republican-controlled Congress. Is the Energy Star Program itself in danger? Will it fall by the wayside? How will this affect the fenestration industry?

I asked some of my customers how they would respond if the Energy Star program and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labeling were to be discontinued altogether. Would it hurt their business? Many answered that it will not be discontinued. What is already done will stay in place, and perhaps the future evolution of the program is the only thing in question.

Some manufacturers feel that the Energy Star program and NFRC labeling are a hindrance. They feel that they spend thousands of dollars per year on testing, labels and compliance procedures just to end up in the same boat as everyone else. Everyone or nearly everyone has the Energy Star label, so it does little to differentiate companies, yet it is a burden to small- and medium-sized businesses that struggle financially to remain in compliance. Some feel that if the whole program were discontinued, then window companies would fall back on bigger marketing and advertising programs. Perhaps more money would be spent on improving other areas of window design other than thermal performance. Marketing budgets and sales training programs would be expanded and salesmanship would take more of a front seat as opposed to “this window meets Energy Star requirements – see label for details.”

So, will the new administration be more favorable to small- and medium-sized companies in the way of less regulation, lower corporate taxes, and better trade deals? Will this help fuel the door and window industry and lead to stronger growth? Some say yes. Some say, “Well, they better know what they are doing. Too much growth leads to inflation, which will cause the Fed to raise interest rates, which will in turn put the brakes on any comeback in the housing industry. So, Trump better choose his economic advisors wisely.”

Yes, the key to success is steady and sustainable growth.

The country is turning a page. Things are going to be quite different. But most of the people I am talking to in the door and window industry are quite optimistic about the immediate future, and hopeful that the new political landscape will favor steady growth. One thing is for sure, however. Our fenestration industry is adaptive, and it will certainly adjust accordingly to take full advantage of whatever changes develop in the political landscape.

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