Window Retrofits: The Gateway Drug for Home Performance Improvements

Homeowners looking for more comfort and energy efficiency frequently start their search with their windows because that’s something they can see and feel. Contributor Sam Pardue believes that Home Performance Contractors can expand window retrofits into bigger measures and more revenue.


Contributor Sam Pardue is CEO and Founder of Indow Windows.

When working on the Indow Windows Google Adwords campaign, Google’s ad planner indicated that there are 400 consumer searches for “Replacement windows” for every “Home Performance” search.  As the CEO and marketing planner for a window insert product that is primarily sold through Home Performance Contractors, I realized the data was of profound importance to my company and to the entire Home Performance industry.

The Google search data reinforces what our Home Performance dealers are telling us, which is that almost all of the time homeowners start their search for comfort and energy efficiency with their windows.  The reason is starkly evident:  They can see and feel their cold (or hot) windows.

This presents Home Performance Contractors and Residential Energy Efficiency programs across the United States with a conundrum.  As American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding is depleted, many of these programs find their futures in doubt along with the livelihoods of many Home Performance Contractors who built their businesses to satisfy the demand.

How can EE programs and HPCs continue to thrive and deliver energy savings in a post-ARRA world?

Some current thinking focuses on whether deemed measures deliver on their promised savings.  Others have rightly advised that Home Performance Contractors modify the language they use to be more consumer-friendly.

While such approaches are clearly needed, the EE industry must also confront the central dilemma:  Customers start their search for energy efficiency with their windows but window replacement is among the least cost-effective of energy saving measures.

Unfortunately, building science sets Home Performance Contractors up for sales failure by asking HPCs to explain why the customers’ perceived priorities are wrong.

Customers that do engage with EE programs often are left with unhappy outcomes because after spending thousands of dollars on insulation and air sealing they can still feel their windows letting in cold drafts.  The result is lower customer satisfaction with the HPCs and the programs resulting in lower word-of-mouth marketing.  And as we all know, word-of-mouth marketing is a critical determinant of who thrives in the marketplace.

That’s if the Home Performance Contractor is lucky enough to have a conversation with this customer in the first place because the customer very often is not searching for them, they are searching for solutions for their windows.

Unless energy efficiency programs can find a cost-effective remedy for windows these programs will continue offering solutions to questions that customers are not asking.

Indow Windows’ experience with the Clean Energy Works Oregon program indicates the positive role lower cost window insulation solutions such as window inserts can play in driving overall programmatic success and HPC prosperity.  The leads we generate by marketing Indow Window Inserts turn into full home performance jobs for our Home Performance Contractor dealers.

Indow Windows’ marketing programs reach consumers who are looking for solutions for their homes’ energy efficiency and comfort problems. Consumers call our Home Performance Contractor Dealers wanting to learn more about our innovative window inserts.  When the HPC’s sales representative visits a home they explain how the customer can finance their Indow Windows purchase and other energy saving upgrades with low cost financing through the Clean Energy Works Oregon Program.

This is a win-win-win formula.  The customer is happy because their windows are comfortable and the problem they identified is solved.  The Home Performance Contractor is happy because about half the time a $2,000 Indow Windows job turns into a $20,000 full home performance retrofit.  Clean Energy Works is happy because their energy efficiency program thrives.


2013-08-Sam-Pardue-HeadshotSam Pardue

Upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program in 1998, Sam first worked at Intel Corporation as a marketing manager. After several years he left Intel to co-found Lensbaby, a Portland, Oregon-based manufacturer of special effects SLR camera lenses. In August 2010 Sam stepped down as Lensbaby’s CEO to found Indow Windows, which manufactures and markets Pardue’s patented invention, a window insert that presses inside window frames to deliver double pane window performance at lower cost.


Posted in Energy Business, Energy Efficiency, Opinion

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