The short answer is that American windows offer desirable features that are elusive in New Zealand, at attractive prices. American consumers have demanded high performance windows with additional benefits at lower prices, and American producers have had to respond to remain successful. This has resulted in a large market that caters to thermally efficient vinyl windows and glazing with integrated insect screens as a standard. In addition, American liability has driven a market that produces predominantly sliding and hung windows from reputable manufacturers that have extensive proven performance histories. American pricing also takes advantage of both an economy of scale and level of competition that isn’t available in NZ.
What is different from NZ windows? First, a majority of American windows are vinyl. Vinyl is a very energy efficient material (transfers 1000x less heat than aluminium) that is very resistant to chemicals and weather. This results in a very durable and rugged window that is efficient at separating the weather extremes outside from the comfort inside. Vinyl windows have a long history and started in the 1950’s in Germany, and surpassed the production of Aluminium windows in America in the last quarter of the last century. For more information on the advantages of vinyl, visit our page on Why Vinyl?
American customers also experience a wide variety of weather extremes that have driven window performance, from deserts to extreme cold, and extreme winds from hurricanes or tornadoes. The durability of vinyl allows some standard window dimensions to be tested at pressures that are double the NZ Extreme Wind Zone! The demand for protection from these extreme climates has driven supply of energy efficient glazing that cuts out the roughest of unwanted temperatures and solar radiation (double glazing with argon fill and low-e glass is standard). Pella’s vinyl formulations also exceed NZ requirements for protection against UV radiation.
In addition, American windows offer sliding and hung windows as standard because of the liability associated with outward opening awning and casement windows. The American scale of economy makes sliding and hung windows less expensive than awning and casement varieties. This liability is becoming recognized in NZ though. In fact, the hazard is so significant that the NZ Building Code (Clause D1 paragraph 1.5.4) now requires a physical safety precaution like a handrail, guard-rails, or other barrier to protect people outside from open windows adjacent to access routes.
One final reason for importing is that every window opening comes with an integrated insect screen to keep out insects and pests, but allow in the refreshing breezes. These aren’t magnetic after-market add-ons that have to be adjusted to open or close a window, these are removable screens designed and integrated into the window frame. None of our window screens have to be removed, adjusted, or unhooked to open or adjust your window opening.