JELD-WEN’s Les Stephens Discusses Replacement Window Product Innovations and Sustainable Practices

Written by AnonymousAugust 8, 2011

Founded in the Pacific Northwest and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, JELD-WEN is one of the nation’s largest window manufacturers and a recognized leader in sustainable practices. In addition to developing products that are Energy Star qualified, JELD-WEN commits to renewable forest management, habitat protection and land stewardship. Earlier this year, the company offset demand for new wood by introducing a line of reclaimed Douglas fir windows from old barns, fences and buildings across America- the first of its kind in the industry.

Along with earning the Sustainable Forestry Initiative President’s Award, JELD-WEN participates on the Board of the Green Building Initiative, identifying strategies to improve the environmental performance of existing buildings, and is a member of the US Green Building Council.

We caught up with JELD-WEN’s Product Manager, Les Stephens, to learn more about the company’s latest product innovations and green practices in an industry that demands exceptional performance.

RWFD:  JELD-WEN is widely recognized for its environmental stewardship- something customers take into account today more than ever. What are some of the latest innovations you offer in terms of energy savings and sustainable or recycled material?

JW:  JELD-WEN is one of the world’s leading window and door manufacturers. We have always taken a practical approach to manufacturing and product development, introducing a number of sustainable practices that were simply recognized as good business many years ago. Today, we offer a number of industry-leading sustainable product options including:

  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified wood windows and patio doors in the JELD-WEN Custom Wood window line.
  • AuraLast Wood that’s made from solid pine and provides superior protection from wood decay, water saturation and termites. What makes AuraLast Wood different is a water-based process that results in a 96 percent decrease of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when compared to traditional dip treatments. JELD-WEN Windows with AuraLast Wood can contribute to LEED credits.
  • JELD-WEN has the largest and broadest offering of ENERGY STAR qualified windows and exterior doors in the industry and has been an ENERGY STAR partner since 1998.
  • Door skins that contribute to healthier indoor air quality. To meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) formaldehyde standards, JELD-WEN offers Phase 1- and Phase 2-compliant no-added formaldehyde (NAF) door skins in accordance with the CARB Airborne Toxic Control Measure.
  • Recycled materials. JELD-WEN Molded Interior doors and Wood Composite garage doors feature facings and trim boards made of recycled wood fiber. The company also recently introduced Reclaimed Wood windows and doors as part of the Custom Wood line.  

It’s important to note that windows and doors can contribute toward LEED credits but they are not LEED certified.

RWFD:  You mentioned JELD-WEN’s line of Aura Last Wood and your latest recycled material line. What are the advantages of these windows to traditional wood?

JW:  JELD-WEN has a research and development lab where we test many types of materials to ensure product performance and reliability. AuraLast is JELD-WEN’s proprietary process that prevents wood rot, termites and water saturation. Made from solid pine, we manufacture it using a vacuum-pressured process that helps protect the wood all the way through to the core and offers an industry-leading limited-lifetime warranty. AuraLast Wood uses a closed-loop, water-based system selected because it does not harm the environment with hazardous, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in most other traditional wood preservation methods. Homeowners that choose JELD-WEN’s products can rest assured that their windows will perform reliably for many years. 

Reclaimed Douglas Fir WindowsOur windows made using recycled or sustainable materials are built to perform just as reliably as their counterparts. We recently introduced Reclaimed Wood windows (and doors) as part of our Custom Wood line (see picture on the left). One source of our reclaimed material is from snow fencing, used to prevent snow drifts along highways. That wood, which was specifically used to stand up to harsh conditions, is now used to make JELD-WEN Reclaimed Wood windows that will perform reliably for many more years to come.

RWFD:  Many home owners appreciate the architectural warmth associated with wood windows yet prefer the lower cost of vinyl. Aside from price tag, what are the benefits that JELD-WEN vinyl windows offer?

JW:  Two out of every three replacement windows sold in the United States are vinyl windows, so consumers seem to be happy with the quality and performance standards of vinyl. Vinyl offers comparable energy performance with wood windows and vinyl frames never need to be painted.  JELD-WEN’s new vinyl window lines offer features that compare favorably including painted exteriors and wood grain laminate interiors, so whatever gap may have existed in consumer opinion of vinyl windows compared to wood seems to have diminished over time.

Vinyl provides low maintenance, durability and greater energy efficiency and it does well in virtually all climates. Vinyl windows are also increasingly becoming versatile with style options. JELD-WEN offers many features for vinyl windows that can blend with classic architecture styles such as simulated divided lites and a variety of trim and color options.


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