In the last couple of years, one of the main trends noticed in construction circles is the importance of comfort for building occupants. This trend has been incorporated into discussions regarding energy efficiency as well, as personal comfort is a way to get those who aren’t otherwise concerned about energy efficiency to move in that direction.

It’s ironic, of course. All the processes NFRC and others have in place for developing and maintaining standards include clearly defining each term, step, and outcome. But what the customer can relate to is the most variable – “comfort.”

Consider the quizzical looks you get when you say “U-factor,” “solar heat gain,” or even “fenestration” when speaking to those not in this industry. For some, hearing unfamiliar terms automatically means the topic in question is too complicated to be worth understanding — “I just want new windows, I don’t need to build them.”

By contrast, if we pivot the conversation with consumers to addressing their comfort first, they may be more likely to listen to the reasoning.

Comfort is an Easy Sell

Even though each person has a different gauge for ranking “comfort,” as a concept, it’s easy for everyone to grasp and make personal. Or perhaps because it is personal, it becomes easy to grasp. They don’t need to know why they’re cold, hot, or feel a draft; they just want to be comfortable.

In NFRC’s “Insulating Glazing Units: Helping Improve the Performance of Your Products” webinar on May 12, Sean Foley of Guardian Industries brought up the importance of comfort: “Energy has always been a tough one to sell. Energy is cheap in the U.S. Incremental energy performance benefits have always been a tough sell for manufacturers. But comfort isn’t,” said one of the speakers. “Selling the additional comfort you get from a higher performance window is something that can give you that edge as you see more and more high-performance products get on the market.”

“And the payback for comfort is immediate as soon as you replace that old drafty window,” said Foley. “It’s not a 5- or 10-year payback model; it’s that day.” (Review the webinar here. NOTE: The quote above was from the Question-and-Answer session after the webinar. The Q&A was not included in the recording.)

Why Windows Matter in Comfort

Most people, when considering comfort at home, are going to first think about their HVAC systems. It’s part of the complete picture, of course, but windows should be as important a consideration because comfort can include several factors – mental and physical benefits (to be discussed in future blog posts) — beyond body temperature.

It is up to the fenestration industry to educate consumers on how significantly comfort can be impacted – negatively with poor windows, and positively with high-performing windows. For our part, we have included comfort on the Efficient Windows Collaborative website (here) and we will be expanding this page to include more information.

Together we can spread the word. What will you do?

1 Comment

  1. This is so true Deb which is why the dealer’s show room can be so important when it comes to demonstrating comfort. I have seen setups with infrared heat lamps so that potential customers can physically feel the difference on the other side of the window comparing different window systems for comfort. Numbers are one thing but Comfort is King!

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