Window and Door March/April 2012 : Page 84
➤ MATERIALS & COMPONENTS— Turning to Hardware for Differntiation ings and the creation of indoor/outdoor living spaces. “We see a growing number of large, wide-span openings so manufacturers are looking for hardware that can operate large panels securely and without effort,” Husen states, noting that lift-and-slide, folding door and tilt/turn hardware continue to generate sales growth for Interlock. He sees the strong trend toward large-opening systems as key to increased interest in European hardware in general. Another development in the hardware market is the result of changing building codes designed to prevent child falls from windows. The new codes allow the use of window opening control devices, which limit a window opening to less than 4 inches to keep a child from falling out of a window, but are also operable to allow for egress in an emergency. Roto sees a keen interest marketwide in new hardware products that meet the ASTM-F2090 referenced in the codes to provide enhanced child safety, Gray notes. With the baby-boomer population growing older, an increasingly important topic in home building and remodeling is design for aging in place. Window and door manufacturers are responding, looking to provide new options that meet the needs of the elderly and the handicapped, suppliers agree. “We are seeing a trend toward hardware that addresses an aging population with an emphasis on ADA-compliant products.” Truth’s Mundt states. One response to that trend are hardware operator and locking systems that are easier to grasp and operate by the elderly, he notes. Another option his ﬁrm sees is motorized systems that allow the homeowner to open/close and secure their windows and skylights by the simple touch of a button. Electronics are also coming into hardware with the emergence of smart or connected homes (see related article on page 79), although suppliers see such developments in the very early stage. There’s not much demand from most North American window and door manufacturers, Interlock’s Husen reports. What requests he sees for smart home-capable products are coming from high-end, custom window and door shops. These ﬁrms on occasion are looking for “intelligent” products, he notes, and generally will turn to options available with European hardware. Interest is out there, but demand is limited now, agrees Dave Johnson, Truth’s business unit manager for patio door products. “We believe that we will see a growing demand by the end user to be able to control the locking hardware from a remote location in the home or outside the home.” Today consumers are able to control numerous applications in their home including lighting, temperature, appliances, etc., and the list goes on, 84 | Window & Door | March/April 2012 Interest in electronic systems, such as Truth’s motorized skylight operator, is increasing to both meet the demands of an aging population and integrate with smart home technologies. Johnson continues. “I believe we have all had situations where we have left home only to question whether we remembered to lock a door, turn off an appliance, closed the garage door, or get a call that a family member is locked out of the home. Being able to control these functions remotely provides the peace of mind and ﬂexibility consumers are looking for.” Jim Lajeneusse, vice president of engineering for Bronze Craft Corp., sees opportunities for such systems in commercial buildings. His company has been involved in several window automation projects that included the use of sensors on windows for monitoring indoor and outdoor environmental conditions. The data measurements are wirelessly transmitted to a modem which will communicate by Ethernet connection to the a building automation system or to a dedicated website which can in turn direct changes in lighting, cooling and heating systems for optimum energy efﬁciency, he explains. “We believe that the use of electronics will provide window designers real world performance data that will spur new product developments that encourage more use of windows in commercial buildings,” he states. Manufacturers want “unique functionality combined with convenience and performance,” suggests Truth’s Mundt. The industry trend, he concludes, is “to ﬁnd new and creative ways to operate a window or door.” Contact John G. Swanson, editor & associate publisher, at jswanson@ glass.org.