Don’t try telling John Haddon’s family that Friday the 13th is unlucky. They have more reason to believe in divine intervention than luck. After buying Accu-Weld Feb. 13, 2009 — a windows and doors company that laid off 70 employees in 2008 — the business is doing great, thanks to the family’s commitment to energy efficiency and the Recovery Act, signed into law just four days later. John didn’t know much about the Recovery Act then, but now he’s convinced the stimulus has dramatically improved profits.
“The Recovery Act coming on board shortly after we purchased the company has been a boost to our business and window makers in general,” John says about Accu-Weld, which is based in Bensalem, Pa. “The good news is not only that we’re selling more windows and people are getting tax credits, but also they’re getting windows that are energy efficient in the long term.”
When the stimulus passed, creating incentives for energy-efficient home-building products, Accu-Weld was already producing windows that exceed many of the standards for tax credit eligibility. The surge in weatherization improvements in homes across the country has allowed the company to increase its almost 150 employees’ hours from 32 to 45 each week. Employees make as much as $22 an hour, more than triple the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, as they work to meet the needs of dealers who are demanding more-efficient products.
The company also integrates green practices in its own operations, as Accu-Weld recycles its leftover vinyl, glass and cardboard at its plant.
“Running our plant with an eye on recycling spills over to the rest of the company,” John says. “Considering recycled materials is at the top of our minds, and being able to recycle things that are being produced in mass quantity is a good thing on all fronts.”
Homeowners with metal-framed windows or windows with just a single pane of glass stand to gain the most savings by upgrading to vinyl energy-efficient windows, John says. And they should experience an increase in overall comfort in terms of temperature and noise reduction, he adds. John expects these benefits, along with the tax credit, to keep Accu-Weld moving upward.
“We’re optimistic about an increase in sales in 2010 as the economy turns around and there is a continuation of the tax credit through the year,” he says. “People are happy about the fact that we’re a family-run business that has come in and has been successful. We’re instilling confidence because we have an interest in growing the business, meaning everyone will have additional opportunities going forward.”
And the company’s employees appreciate those opportunities and the stability that developing green products has brought to Accu-Weld.
“When I began working in the window industry 31 years ago, I never thought that windows would be such a large part of the energy savings goals of the future,” Mel Blount, facility manager, says. “It’s been a steady progression to more energy efficiency.”
American taxpayers can benefit from the Residential Energy Property Credit (Section 1121) that increases the energy tax credit for homeowners’ energy-efficient improvements to their existing homes. The new law under the Recovery Act increases the tax credit to 30 percent of the cost of qualifying improvements up to $1,500 through 2010. Visit www.energysavers.gov/financial for more information.