Mild Storm Season “Best Time to Get Prepared”

November 3rd, 2014 by Editor
WinDoor is seeing an increase in condominium projects for its impact products.

WinDoor is seeing an increase in condominium projects for its impact products.

Tropical storm Hannah, which formed and dissipated near the end of October, was the eighth named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. According to the National Hurricane Center, on average, the eighth storm is typically named by September 24, putting this year’s season more than a month behind pace.

And while the six hurricanes formed is on par with the average, their strength and longevity have been weaker than usual. Barring a November push, the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is shaping out to be mild by comparison, particularly as it pertains to the U.S.

“We’re very happy it’s been a mild season, and we’re grateful for the safety of people and property,” says CGI Windows vice president and general manager Steve Dawson. “But we can never let down our guard, and the down time is actually the best time to get prepared …We know another storm is coming, we just can’t predict when.”

WinDoor general manager Jerry Decker stresses the importance of being diligent through the quiet times. “If builders and the community as a whole are not keeping up to date, individuals may not even give it a second thought,” he says.

As of last week, the state of Florida has gone a record nine years without a hurricane reaching its land. According to Weather.com, that’s the longest stretch on record dating back to 1851.

While the mid-Atlantic region is less susceptible to hurricanes than the Southeast, it took the brunt of the U.S.’s Sandy-related damage in 2012. This week marked the two-year anniversary of the storm, which has prompted the area to take a more proactive approach in its codes.

According the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), the New York Code Council has begun the adoption of the 2015 edition of the International Code Council (ICC) model building codes. The state is currently enforcing the 2006 I-codes, something the IBHS is urging New York to update by its stated August 2015 deadline.

“New York is subject to a variety of severe weather, including winter weather and hurricanes such as Sandy two years ago, which is why it is so important to maintain and enforce the protection provided by up-to-date building codes throughout the state,” says Si Farvardin, IBHS’s manager of codes and standards.

Energy Performance Making an Impact

Florida and the Gulf Coast make up a majority of WinDoor’s market, though the company covers areas from Texas to the Caribbean, all the way up the mid-Atlantic to New York. While the northern part of the east coast has a demand for impact products that are high in thermal performance, energy performance has taken the wheel throughout different regions all over the U.S. with stricter code and enforcement. That effect has been felt in the impact product market of late.

“A primary difference for us is that impact codes haven’t change a lot,” says Decker. “Where development has really changed is thermal requirements on impact products. It used to be that impact products got a little bit of a pass with energy performance, but now with energy codes becoming more and more stringent, it’s driving energy performance in impact products to a higher level.”

Dawson says enhanced energy performance is among the biggest trends CGI is seeing in impact products, as well, along with enhanced aesthetics.

“Energy codes continue to get more strict, so we’re incorporating more high performance glass into our products—particularly low-E and insulating glass,” he says.

As far as aesthetics, Dawson says that as the economy rebounds, the new construction in Florida is growing “significantly faster” than the retrofit market, so there has been an increased focus in creating a window that’s “more attractive.”

WinDoor marketing manager George Hanus says that while new construction has significantly picked up, WinDoor finds that the replacement market remains strong as people are putting equity back into their homes and upgrading. “The same applies to the condominium business. We’re starting to see that take off substantially.”

No matter the application, fenestration is an extremely important factor in guarding against storms.

“When you look at a house, the areas most susceptible to allowing water intrusion and damage are windows and doors,” says WinDoor national sales manager John Adams. “Once windows and doors are compromised, everything in your house is open season.”

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