October 11, 2017

Could Carbon Cutting Lead to Commercial Vinyl Adoption?

by Anthony Wright

Many tend to associate vinyl windows with strictly residential applications. But as we’ve seen lately, high-performing vinyl has gained some traction in mid-rise and multifamily applications in recent years. The material has matured to the point where structural concerns are assuaged. Combined with its thermal efficiency, vinyl can in many instances be a preferable choice.

But beyond a few stories tall, there remains healthy and pervasive skepticism for anything non-metallic. It’ll take continued advocacy for vinyl to make its mark in these applications, and perhaps a shift or two in market conditions that will cause commercial builders and architects to consider a new option.

Like this news out of New York City, for instance: Mayor Bill de Blasio recently targeted a whopping 80 percent cut in total emissions from the city’s large buildings by 2050. Per Bloomberg:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling on owners to reduce their use of fossil fuels and boost energy-efficiency, and said New York is the first major city to impose carbon reductions on existing buildings, according to a statement Thursday. The city will help support retrofits and upgrades through low-interest loans connected to property tax assessments… Burning fossil fuels for heat and hot water in buildings is New York’s top source of emissions, and the new policies are expected to reduce them 7 percent by 2035.

The new requirements will apply to buildings with a total of more than 25,000 square feet—a very low bar for commercial buildings requiring retrofit. Owners will need to apply a wide range of updates, from HVAC upgrades to roofing to windows.

My sense is that the new rules could open the floodgates to more widespread adoption of vinyl profiles in the city, which could have a significant ripple effect. Consider that New York state is the largest market for commercial properties in the country. If vinyl takes off there, I think adoption beyond is likely.

It’s certainly an interesting situation, and could be a real area of opportunity for vinyl window manufacturers.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Anthony.Wright@Quanex.com

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Posted: October 11, 2017 by Anthony Wright Filed under: commercial, vinyl, windows