As part of its Window Attachments program, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is investigating the market potential for Commercial Secondary Windows (CSW), which are secondary windows that can be added to existing commercial windows to improve overall building performance. In late 2020, NEEA contracted with Cadeo Group to conduct the Commercial Secondary Windows Program Structure Research study. The study focused solely on CSWs and included several activities that together provide a picture of a complex market in which decision-makers balance multiple competing priorities when considering solutions for under-performing windows. The research had four objectives: 1) refine the assessment of the market opportunity presented by CSWs; 2) assess CSW awareness among key market actors; 3) explore and assess key scenarios for which CSW might be a viable solution; and 4) understand the decision-making process and market actors involved in window and building envelope improvement projects. The methodologies for this study included surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews with representatives of key market actor groups such as architects, installers and building managers.
Findings from the report show that awareness of CSW among key market actors is low. While certain building stock features and other market conditions present opportunities for the product, there are several market barriers that will need to be addressed, such as concerns about liability and cost, and building owners’ tendency to wait until failure to replace windows.