Hunter Douglas has launched Hunter Green—a new and very important corporate green initiative designed to promote the superior energy-saving benefits Hunter Douglas products offer, create awareness and action around conserving energy throughout the company and support social programs that have a positive impact across the globe.
Our overriding goal is to help consumers everywhere conserve energy while adding to the design appeal of their homes with Hunter Douglas window fashions. What most people don’t know is that almost five percent of all energy consumed in the U.S. passes through the windows of residential homes and as much as 50 percent of a home’s energy is lost through these same windows. Select Hunter Douglas window fashions can significantly reduce that energy loss and help customers stay more comfortable in their homes, save on heating and cooling costs and do their part to protect the environment.
We have been pioneering energy-saving, fashion-forward solutions at the window for decades, from the introduction of the world’s first honeycomb shade—Duette® shades—to innovations such as Silhouette® window shadings, Vignette® Modern Roman Shades, Luminette® Privacy Sheers and Pirouette® window shadings.
Now boasting a significantly expanded offering of 156 SKUs, Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades take energy conservation to a whole new level. Their patented honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb design forms more air pockets than traditional honeycomb shades and reduces heat transfer at the window by up to 50 percent when they are properly installed. Our calculations, based on a conservative energy-savings methodology we devised and that was validated by the Rocky Mountain Institute, show that Duette Architella shades can save up to $1.48 per square foot annually in energy cost savings based on standard sized shade. Of course, estimates will vary by region.
TAKING THE LEAD IN EDUCATION
The green learning curve is steep. Last year we conducted focus groups among 30- to 64-year-old affluent, style-conscious female homeowners. What they told us was very interesting: while 96 percent of participants said that reducing energy consumption would influence their decision to purchase, 42 percent did not know that window coverings help reduce energy loss.
To raise consumer and dealer awareness of the enormous energy loss through windows and the energy and cost savings available by adding the right window fashions, we developed the Stop The Great Energy Giveaway promotional program. It just concluded April 30 and offered significant rebate savings on the most energy-efficient Hunter Douglas products and was comprised of a collection of comprehensive support materials including a brand new “We Make Green Beautiful” consumer brochure that is available online at www.hunterdouglas.com as well.
Stop The Great Energy Giveaway has resulted in the highest level of dealer participation and dealer advertising as well as the highest level of consumer sales tied to it of any Hunter Douglas promotion to date.
While the promotion was time-bound, the Hunter Douglas commitment to educating the marketplace about how window fashions can make a difference on an environmental level is ongoing and extremely broad-based. It is being reinforced across all platforms, including additional dealer marketing programs as well as on Hunter Douglas Web sites and in our national consumer advertising and public relations outreach.
And the definition of green window fashions extends beyond their ability to stop heat transfer and includes how they modulate incoming light to reduce dependency on artificial lighting (daylighting), the UV protection they afford that inhibits damage to furnishings and flooring and the high-quality and extremely durable materials they are made of that extend their lifecycle and reduce the frequency of replacement.
We also commissioned the GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI) to verify our products, and virtually all—a total of 26, far more than any industry company—have passed rigorous standards and test procedures and are GreenGuard Indoor Air Certified®. These products have also been certified by GreenGuard for Children & Schoolssm.
In addition, Hunter Douglas is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council and an Energy Star Partner of the National Fenestration Rating Council.
You can’t preach if you don’t practice what you preach. On a corporate level, we have undertaken an aggressive plan to reduce our carbon emissions by 20 percent over a three-year period and to educate our employees about the importance of environmental stewardship. We have also created an in-depth Green Light booklet that explains key scientific points about energy and light.
On the philanthropic side, Hunter Douglas supports the Arbor Day Foundation in its efforts to replant U.S. trees lost to fire and to preserve rain forest lands. In the social arena, we have been a 17-year sponsor of Habitat for Humanity. We have also invested in an equity fund that helps people in developing countries be more energy efficient and carbon neutral.
Environmental consciousness is a core Hunter Douglas value. For the future of our planet and the generations to come, we are steadfastly Hunter Green.
Jim Mathews is vice president of marketing for Hunter Douglas, Inc., Upper Saddle River, N.J.