A New Perspective
by Trey Barrineau
December 18th, 2017

2017 Was a Hectic Year for the Industry

From a new administration in Washington that’s really shaken things up in the energy-efficiency realm to devastating hurricanes that tested the limits of impact products and building codes, 2017 was quite a year for the door and window industry.

Some of the biggest changes came via the legislative and regulatory regime in D.C. The election of Donald Trump as president led to changes in programs that affect the industry. For example, Energy Star’s budget was cut in half (and the program was on the verge of elimination for a while).

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey hit the southern U.S. hard — but improvements to fenestration products that were put into place after Hurricane Andrew’s devastation in 1992 greatly reduced the damage from those storms.

And there were big changes here at DWM as well — at the first of the year, we launched the industry’s only e-mail newsletter published every business day.

Let’s take a look back at what made news in 2017, month by month.

January opened with the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla., and a slew of new products. Later that month, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the Northeast Window and Door Association announced that they would merge operations.  Also in January, Jeld-Wen launched its IPO.

In February, the industry learned of the sudden closing of B.F. Rich in Delaware. Also that month, DWM achieved another milestone when it was nominated for a Jesse H. Neal award for my extensive coverage of the Venezuelan government’s seizure of the Guardian glass plant in that country.

March brought the rollout of Trump’s budget outline, which included a proposal to eliminate the popular Energy Star program and other cost-cutting moves. And more honors rolled in for DWM — three American Society of Business Publication Editors’ (ASBPE) awards.

April saw DWM report on an innovative new take on the “broken windows” theory.

May opened with a pretty remarkable scoop for DWM — an e-mail interview with Myron Ebell, the man who led President Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He told me that “if your industry and others that participate in Energy Star think it’s a good program, then I think you should pay for it and run it.” The story was cited a couple of days later by Yale Environment 360 magazine.

In June, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved a bill  that would have forced window manufacturers to include replacement and labor costs in product warranties. It was strongly opposed by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

Fortunately, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed that bill in early July. Also in July: the congressional budget committees kept Energy Star alive for 2018, but with half the funding it had for 2017.  And the end of the month saw some sad news — Russell Ebeid, former president of Guardian Glass Group, passed away.

August brought coverage of a grim anniversary — a year since Venezuela seized Guardian’s glass plant in that country. We looked back with a two-part series, and I weighed in with a blog post on the topic. Also in August, I got to cover a fun story: the Netflix debut of White Gold, a BBC comedy about U.K. window salesmen in the 1980s. More sad news rolled in as the month came to a close, though. Hurricane Harvey hit the  Texas coast hard, and DWM covered the storm extensively.

September kicked off trade-show season, and DWM was on hand for the hurricane-damaged GlassBuild show in Atlanta. We also covered Hurricane Irma from beginning to end.  The month also saw another fun, memorable story — Universal Windows Direct of Cleveland, Ohio, and its mega-giveaway tagged to the Cleveland Indians’ historic winning streak.

October saw more regulatory news from Washington. The EPA banned “sue and settle” arrangements, and Congress followed suit with related legislation later in the month.

In November, softwood lumber tariffs against Canada were making headlines, but in happier news north of the border, the WinDoor 2017 trade show was a big success in Toronto.

And finally, the big news in December was the tax reform bill, which could become law any day now.

Whew. What a year.

Thanks again for reading along with me, and I look forward to bringing you more news and views in 2018.

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