Focus on energy efficiency
Despite the problems, demand for windows remains high, with the strongest growth seen in residential construction, Chen said. According to a survey by the national trade publication Doors and windows market magazine, industry members have seen an increase in sales of at least 10% between 2020 and 2021, and 72% of respondents expect to see an increase in sales in 2022.
About 15 or 16 years ago, it was common for an architect to give Crystal a blueprint, and the company would adapt windows to the design after the fact, said Sabrina Leung, senior project manager. But now Crystal meets the consultants early on and incorporates the windows into the building layout, as they play a major role in how the property emits energy.
The importance of using technology to help its offerings meet energy efficiency requirements is one of the company’s top priorities. Chen believes that the demand for energy-efficient windows will continue to increase.
The company strives to meet New York City’s ever-changing environmental codes and go beyond those guidelines, Leung said. Now Crystal is looking to Europe for trends in environmental compliance, she said.
For example, there are special coatings that reduce the amount of heat that leaves window panels and cool sunlight entering an office or apartment. Other windows have multi-chambered frames, so the air pockets act like a puffy down jacket. New technology is in the works that allows windows to automatically tint.
Ultimately, Chen said, windows will always be an essential part of the home and office experience.
“When you wake up in the morning, just think: When you have that sun sitting on your body, your skin, it rejuvenates you,” Chen said. “If there were no windows, we’d just be sitting in a concrete block. How sad would that be?”
Steven Chen’s age was incorrectly listed as 44 in an earlier version of this article. He is 43 years old.