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Shared Values: Building something from nothing for a green solution

When it comes to finding creative answers to problems faced by partners, All Weather Windows is up for the challenge. Different sets of priorities for contractors, suppliers, builders and project managers can sometimes be challenging to navigate but when everyone collaborates, the solutions are much stronger.

“The problem of competing priorities was universal,” says Darryl Ballance, who works in sales at All Weather Windows. “But one of our builders felt comfortable enough to talk to us about it. We were able to approach a solution for these customers.”

With more than 40 years in the industry, All Weather Windows invests heavily into research and development for new and innovative ways to improve windows and doors for both residential and commercial buildings. So, venturing into creative problem solving to help builders create more efficient properties is nothing new for the team.

Matt Taylor, All Weather Windows’ Product Manager, remembers talking about this specific challenge. The builder that his team was working with needed to be net-zero, where the project’s total amount of energy used on an annual basis had to be roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. Where the challenge came in was with the airflow.

Materials and codes can change

“Changes to the building code resulted in homes being extremely airtight,” explains Matt. “If a home’s attic hatch does not have proper insulation, weather stripping, or installed incorrectly, there is an opportunity for cold dry air inside attic spaces to meet the warm, humidified air of living spaces. If this happens, it creates condensation that can damage ceilings and walls.”

“We had conversations with a few of our builders about problems they were having with houses being more airtight,” Darryl continues. “We’d found a weakness in the whole operation, which was the attic hatch.”

Attic hatches that allow for air to circulate within the home increases the potential for condensation to develop. One of the specific issues with builders’ hatches rested in their aluminum frames. Aluminum is a strong heat conductor, so aluminum frames caused problems with energy inefficiencies and unbalanced heat dispersals in addition to air circulation.

However, there was an eco-friendly solution for All Weather Windows’ attic hatch solution sitting right in front of the team: fibreglass. Scraps from window and door installations that would have otherwise been destined for the landfill suddenly had a whole new lease on life.

Eco-friendly and energy-savvy

“That’s one of my pitches,” says Kevin Bedford, who works in sales at All Weather Windows and has earned the nickname “Mr. Attic Hatch” after selling so many. “Reusing the fibreglass panel for the attic hatch is a huge advantage. Instead of going to waste, it’s going directly back into the house.”

The team started with fibreglass door cut outs that were originally destined for the landfill. Utilizing what would have previously been a waste product meant that the builder would be reducing overall waste and saving money on materials. From there, a one-piece design was developed to ensure the hatch would remain airtight. Weather stripping and insulation dams were then added to make the hatch’s installation quick and simple — reducing time and labour costs for the builder.

The attic hatch has been reworked after testing and customer feedback pointed out opportunities to improve on the original design. “There were a few false starts where it wasn’t exactly right, and the customer let us know,” says Darryl. “We took that information, saw the opportunities where it could be corrected and worked with it. People need to take the product, use it and get a real feel for how it’s actually working.”

“The new design has great feedback coming in,” adds Kevin. “A lot of people in the past have struggled with the attic hatch, whether it was our original design or a competitor’s product. Some are still having troubles and failing that vital airflow test in the home construction process. The new hatch is bulletproof, as far as I’m concerned.”

Creative problem solving leads to great solutions

The full scale of All Weather Windows’ creative thinking resulted in a ground breaking solution that almost any residential or commercial property could quickly and easily integrate into their plans. The Attic Hatch is both environmentally-minded and budget-friendly while still meeting a high standard for energy efficiency and building codes.

“As a company, our best ideas can come from our customers,” concludes Darryl. “They identify their need, and it’s our job to find something to fill that need.”

If you’re a builder looking for a partner to assist with your window and door needs, consider All Weather Windows.