photo (12)We are so hyper connected as a society that digital devices are a bit like the air we breathe. When you have a moment, do you check your smart phone so you don’t “waste” it? Is there a glowing screen at your breakfast or dinner table? Many people sleep with a smart phone next to their bed. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that using a light-emitting electronic device before bed negatively affects sleep quality and circadian rhythms.

And a recent Pediatrics study found that distraction by digital devices is negatively impacting kids sleep. In the study, 57 percent of children said they slept with a tablet, smartphone or other digital screen in or next to their bed, and those children reported getting 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep each night compared to children without devices in their bedrooms. That’s 125 hours less sleep a year!

A quiet dark room is essential to good sleep so turn off that phone! And consider unplugging for just a day. The sixth annual National Day of Unplugging starts at sundown tomorrow – Friday, March 6 – and runs until sundown Saturday, March 7. If you’re one to take a digital device to bed, you might just get better sleep without it. And that’s a good thing since we lose an hour Sunday with Daylight Savings Time, which begins at 2 a.m.

P.S.: Don’t forget to set your clock back before you go to sleep Saturday night!

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Window restoration in motion at the Historic Homes Workshop

Some of the country’s foremost gurus on bringing an historic fixer upper to life are meeting in Tampa, Florida this weekend for the Historic Homes Workshop. And we’re proud to say three of those presenting are Indow dealers including Dan Moody with Restoration Aid, Angel Corrales with American Window Preservation and Scott Sidler with Austin Home Restorations!

Dan will be talking about creating comfortable conditions in an old house, Angel about restoring bricks and mortar and Scott will be speaking on “Taking Back Preservation.” Scott writes the useful, lively Craftsman Blog and recently posted, “This event is shaping up to be a huge thing in the empowerment of homeowners to take preservation into their own hands and I don’t want you to miss it.” Live near Tampa? Register here

The weekend also involves a hands-on historic window preservation project involving the Henry-Bryan House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and owned by Habitat for Humanity. What’s really great is that Scott’s upcoming book “Old Windows Made Easy” (due out  March 21) will serve as the guide for restoring the Henry-Bryan House windows. How cool is that?!

 

 

 

 

 

RevitalizingMainStreet-Cover image 2Driving around Oregon, who doesn’t pay attention to the small historic Main Streets? The brick storefronts that once housed independent hardware stores, clothiers and groceries.  If they’re neglected and punctuated with boarded up windows? Depressing! Makes a person want to hightail it rather than hangout.

But a repaired and cared-for downtown is something altogether with the past helping to create a brighter future. There’s a sense of place. This town can see where it’s been and so understands where it’s headed.  

Knowing this, Indow signed on as a supporter of Restore Oregon’s Revitalizing Main Street Act, which was just introduced in the Oregon legislature as SB 565. It’s no secret we care about and saving historic buildings with their historic wavy, leaded-glass windows. The act will create a Historic Rehabilitation Fund to provide a 25 percent rebate for rehabbing historic commercial buildings including stores, hotels, theaters, apartments, factories and mills. Restoration, seismic retrofitting and code compliance all cost loads of money and this rebate would offset that. Restore Oregon commissioned an economic study that shows the act will lead to:

  • More jobs
  • New businesses
  • Higher property values  

 

As Restore Oregon Executive Director Peggy Moretti said in a statement, “There is a small army of intrepid citizens eager to buttress foundations, re-shingle roofs, re-point brick, restore marques, re-glaze windows, and open businesses.They see the potential to remodel upper floors into housing, transform warehouses into office lofts, convert shuttered movie theaters into arts centers, and open restaurants that showcase local produce and microbrews. These entrepreneurs of Main Street lack just one thing: a complete financial toolset.”

Thirty-four states have enacted similar tax credit programs. Oregon is too awesome a state to let its Main Streets fade into history. Help bring them to life by adding your name to the list of supporters too!

 

Como Depot

Colorado Preservation, Inc. helped preserve the Como Depot

Colorado Preservation, Inc. is working hard to preserve the places that help tell not just the story of Colorado, but the nation as a whole. This is one reason preservation matters. Without the past, it’s harder to make sense of the now – and what the future might hold.

“The built environment is an expression of ourselves as people,” said Jennifer Orrigo Charles, programs manager. “By preserving these places, ultimately, we are preserving ourselves.”

That’s why we’re so happy to be attending the organization’s Saving Places conference next week with our dealer, Solargreen in Denver. We’re saving historic windows across the United States and we’re thrilled to be at an event where leaders in preservation will be discussing best practices and some of the coolest projects. Colorado Preservation Inc. has done a lot of exciting preservation work of late.

Take the Como Depot built in 1879. Back then, the railroad stretched from Denver to Como where trains could stop for maintenance and switching before entering the famously narrow-gauge Boreas Pass Line into Breckenridge. The depot still has its original freight doors, a telegraph office, freight and ticket rooms, original interior paint, telegraph wires, interior window and door pediments, doors and fixtures. When the preservation began, volunteers with Colorado Preservation cleaned, braced, reroofed and boarded the windows and doors so the depot could survive the winters until the funds were secured for its restoration from state and federal sources. Now that it’s complete, the Como Depot will serve as a museum/visitors center.

Go Colorado Preservation, Inc!

shutterstock_111366503I will go to the gym twice a week! I will eat more dark green vegetables! I will cook more healthy meals instead of going out! Typical New Year’s resolutions as people strive to live healthier lives. But how many people had a version of this for their 2015 resolution: lights out at 10 p.m. so I can get 8 hours of sleep every single night! If you didn’t, it’s not too late to change it. Lauren Hale, an associate professor of preventive medicine in the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University, wishes more people would. She’s the inaugural editor of the National Sleep Foundation’s new journal Sleep Health coming out in March, which will offer a social science perspective on sleep and health. Hale talked with Indow about the importance of sleep and how sleepless so many Americans are.

Q. Why launch Sleep Health now?

A. Sleeplessness has become more of a concern as we have become an increasingly 24/7 over-caffeinated culture. We’re becoming more urbanized with people living in more crowded, loud and well-lit spaces. All of these things interfere with sleep. Our use of electronic devices at bedtime is at an all-time high and will only get magnified by recent advances in technology.

Q. How is technology interfering with sleep?

A. There is so much access to screen-based technologies with an expectation that every adult, teenager and child has her own device. These screens are part of our bedroom environment and consequently it’s hurting our sleep. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that using a light-emitting electronic device before bed negatively affects sleep quality and circadian rhythms.

Q. How is the health and wellness community responding?

A. Sleep is compromised in a huge swath of the population. The public health community is recognizing that sleep needs to be included in a prescription for healthy living. It’s not just about eating right and exercising but also making time for sleep. Health professionals are starting to ask patients, “How much sleep are you getting?”

Q. You have found that people in urban areas sleep less than those who live in rural or suburban areas. Why is that?

A. There are a range of factors that lead to impaired sleep: for example, more street lights and traffic noises as well more cultural and social activities could cut back on the amount of sleep people get in urban environments. Quality of sleep is also affected by light and noise. Typically, we think of the noise coming from outside, but it can also be indoor noise since more people are living with shared walls in apartments. In more disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, quality of sleep can be affected if people have fears about their safety or worries about how they’re going to pay next month’s rent.

Q. You have also talked about sleep as a social justice issue. Can you explain what that means?

A. Yes, when I talk about sleep as a social justice problem, I am not just referring to the standard concern that there are too many people not getting enough sleep. I also want to highlight the social patterning of sleep: the most socially disadvantaged persons are getting the worst sleep. This means that people with more education have better sleep quality and more appropriate sleep durations. Other factors such as marital status, employment status and mental health are also tied to sleep. The reason this is a social justice problem is that those who are at a disadvantage in one area, tend to be worse off in sleep too. And this creates a feedback loop of disadvantage.

Q. What is the most important thing people need to understand about sleep?

A. A restorative night’s sleep improves well being, productivity, interpersonal relationships and health so people should prioritize making smart choices about their sleep environment and their sleep timing to improve their sleep every single night.

Q. What concrete recommendations do you have for people struggling to get better sleep?

A. I recommend these healthy sleep tips:

  1. Stick to the same bedtime and wakeup time, even on weekends.
  2. Avoid naps, especially in the after noon.
  3. Exercise daily.
  4. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep: keep it cool, quiet and as dark as possible.  
  5. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  6. Avoid bright lights in the evenings
  7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy meals in the evening.
  8. Wind down before bed with a calming activity such as reading.
  9. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom.

 

SG PictureSuperGreen Solutions doesn’t just do insulation. Or just solar. Or just energy efficient window solutions. They do just about anything to make a dwelling more energy efficient. The  company looks closely at how people live in their homes to understand where energy efficient needs are greatest and what would give the best return on investment. We love working with them as Indow authorized dealers because they truly care about their customers’ long-term happiness as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment.

“We’re focused on planet, people and then profit,” said Wilburn Taylor IV, technical operations manager at SuperGreen.  “If you help the planet, you help the people and your profit comes from there.”

When SuperGreen goes to a home, the company takes a holistic approach, asking, “Where is the most energy being used?”

SuperGreen looks at energy bills, uses return-on-investment calculators as well as tools developed in-house. Maybe the problem is an old hot water tank or a ton of incandescent lights. Maybe the attic isn’t insulated or the windows are just single pane.

“We’re not trying to push a product, we’re trying to push a solution,” said Wilburn. “It’s about finding the right solution.”

Once they find it, they stay in close contact, helping customers get rebates, tax credits and proper maintenance plans.

As SuperGreen Solutions opens up locations around the world, it’s hearing from people across the globe who want to tread more lightly on the planet while saving money at the same time.

“It’s about helping the environment and making sure we have a thriving Earth for our children and their children’s children,” said Wilburn. “It’s cliched to say, ‘We want to make the world a better place’ but at the end of the day, that’s really what we want to do.”

Another year has flown by as we seek to provide homeowners with comfort and quiet, preserve historic irreplaceable windows and reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment. As 2015 approaches, it’s a good time to reflect back on our achievements and express how grateful we are to everyone who has helped Indow succeed: our team, our talented dealers and all those who have taken steps to preserve their windows and create more energy efficient homes!

10. Treehugger editor endorses Indow.

The managing editor of Treehugger knows a lot about making homes more energy efficient and the value of preserving old windows. Lloyd Alter recently installed Indow inserts on bay windows and liked them so much he bought more, writing: I am seriously impressed at how accurately they fit and how much of a difference they made. I have ordered them for the existing old windows on the front of the house, and expect that they will make a huge difference in the apartment upstairs – saving energy, increasing comfort and preserving the historic character of my home. He even sent us a picture of his Christmas tree reflected in the Indow inserts, I noticed that there is a different index of refraction or reflectivity in your inserts and our glass that set up a perfect infinity box reflecting our lights forever. It is a wonderful effect.

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9. Historic preservation!

Our push to preserve historic windows with their beautiful rippled glass has lead us to help sponsor the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in Savannah, Georgia this year. It also sparked us to create a Window Hero Webinar Series in which we invite historic preservation experts to give free webinars. John Leeke, a well-known preservationist and author of Save America’s Windows: Caring for Older and Historic Wood Windows, did the first one. Author and vintage home expert Gordon Bock did the second as well as a Q & A


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 8. Expanded our team!

We expanded our creative, energetic team by hiring a new creative director, more sales representatives, production employees, and customer support staff. Indow inserts are selling like mad and we’re working hard to keep up! We added the following stellar individuals:

Michael Hofler – Creative Director. Michael is taking Indow into creative new worlds.

Jessie Cahill – Indow Fit Specialist. Jessie is the master of walking people through the self-measure process. (And she has an excellent dolphin call!)

Myo Aung – Manufacturing. Myo has a degree in physics from his native Burma and cuts the silicone tubing. He also has a green thumb!

Myo Naing Aung – Myo’s younger brother who recently joined Indow. He too has a green thumb!

Doug Ricketts – Administrative assistant. An important hub at Indow with a sense of humor.

Adam Fine – Administrative assistant. Keeps Indow organized and is the ultimate friendly voice on the phone.

Edgar Avery – Manufacturing. Ensures that all Indows leaving the facility are in perfect condition.

Robbie Lockhart – The face of Indow in that Robbie ensures every shipment leaving the facility is packaged in a careful and spiffy manner.  

Khin Htun- Cuts the acrylic with the utmost precision!

Killian Kuntz – Indow Fit Specialist. Takes great care with customers and is an excellent listener!

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 7. Hear, hear sustainability!

We are honored by the continued recognition of our sustainable practices. We won the “Top Product of the Year Award” in the Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards. Judges lauded Indow inserts for their ability to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment by creating energy efficiency: “Indow Windows offers a fast and easy way to reduce air and solar infiltration through existing windows, yielding significant energy savings in both hot and cold climates. By reducing energy usage, Indow also helps to decrease demand on the electricity grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions simultaneously.” And Door & Window Market Magazine named us a 2014 Green Award winner calling us an “Overall Energy Saver.”

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6. Fresh new face!

We redesigned our logo and refreshed our Web site, making it a better experience for those who come to visit us. It’s a friendly place to explore!

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5. Expanded reach!

We now have 92 excellent dealers in 38 U.S. states and three provinces of Canada!

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4. Indow knows no bounds!

We now sell everywhere in the U.S. If a someone doesn’t live near a dealer, we send them a kit to laser measure their windows themselves. Jessie (pictured below) walks people through the process! It’s a true breakthrough. 

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3.  Indow does time at Alcatraz!

The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei wanted the public to view his installations on freedom of expression through the broken gun gallery windows at Alcatraz where guards once trained their weapons on the prisoners below. Organizers not only had to protect this National Historic Landmark from souvenir seekers, they had to protect visitors who would be looking at Ai Weiwei’s art through the broken windows. They turned to Indow to line the gun gallery with inserts!

Alcatraz sized for press release

2. Launched Shade Grade!

Now we have your back when it’s hot, hot, hot.  We proudly launched Indow inserts in Shade Grade. They’re like sunglasses for your home, shielding searing summer sun through your windows to keep you cooler and more comfortable. If you live in hot climate, we’re there for you!

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1. We continue to make the built environment more energy efficient!

A U.S.  Department of Energy study released this year found that installing Indow inserts led to a more than 20 percent reduction in heating, ventilating and air-conditioning use in a Seattle home! A separate pilot study by Portland State University’s Green Building Research Laboratory found similar results: four Portland-area homes reduced their heating energy costs by an average of 19 percent after installing Indow inserts. We love what we do!

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indow inserts at Bowdoin CollegeWe’re constantly telling people, “Don’t replace your windows just because they’re drafty.” For starters, replacing your windows can be eye-popping, take-out-a-new-mortgage expensive. Try $30,000 for materials, installation, and general construction commonly required for high-performance replacement windows in an existing home, according to the report Saving Windows, Saving Money:Evaluating the Energy Performance of Window Retrofit and Replacement by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab.

And then there’s the issue of preserving your home’s historic integrity since beautiful old windows are often made from old growth wood and have wavy, leaded glass that you just can’t get anymore.

But that’s not the message of the window replacement industry. It’s: rip ‘em out and get new. Sometimes that’s necessary if you have newer, poorly-made windows with a short life-expectancy that have already failed. But old windows? Those things were made to last.

So we were particularly delighted that Door & Window Market Magazine, which covers the window replacement industry, recognized us as a 2014 Green Award winner calling us an “Overall Energy Saver”.

The magazine wrote, “The solution for single-pane windows? Indow Windows, based in Portland, Ore., offers acrylic thermal window inserts that increase the energy efficiency of the built environment by creating nearly double-pane performance in existing single-pane windows. On a larger scale, the company takes a serious approach to embodying overall principles while also manufacturing a green product.”

>> Check out this new webpage we created that outlines the benefits of Indow inserts over replacement windows.

In a post earlier this week, MyHomeScience recognized us as a solution for making drafty windows more comfortable and listed replacing windows dead last. Read more about that here.

Take it from window replacement folks: Indow inserts are a great solution for drafty windows!

Fred and Carrie

Credit: Peabody Awards/ Flickr

Around this time last year, in a Hail Mary pass moment, we decided to seek help from Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein for a small business competition.  

“Someone just tweeted that film crews are over at the Goat Field in Southeast Portland. It has to be Portlandia!” We were intent on speaking to Fred and Carrie directly fearing a thicket of dead ends if we attempted to go through publicists.

Our mission?  Indow had just made it to the next level of an Intuit small business competition and we needed to create a 90 second promo video to advance to the next round. The prize was something a small startup like ours could only dream about: a Super Bowl commercial on Indow’s energy efficient window inserts broadcast to 100 million viewers. With a Fred or Carrie cameo, surely we would advance. And then maybe the ultimate: a  Portlandia-ed Indow Big Game commercial.

Kristina and Russ biked over to the Goat Field, but it was the TV show Grimm filming, not Portlandia. Jelica checked for more Twitter sightings. Portlandia film crews were spotted minutes before in the Kenton neighborhood! So we looked up coffee shops and called the first one.   

“I know this is going to sound weird, but this is Carrie at Indow and do you happen to see any film crews outside your cafe windows?”

Yes, the barista replied: Portlandia is on the sidewalk out front. Kristina and Russ returned and dashed over in Indow’s ancient green and orange delivery Volvo but Portlandia was out to lunch by the time they arrived.

IW VolvoAnd we were seemingly out of luck.

Until we learned a colleague had a friend who was friends with Fred Armisen. We scored an email address. We sent Fred this letter:

Fred Armisen: this is your chance to save the planet.

Indow is a Portland startup that makes an ingenious product: a simple window insert that blocks drafts, reduces city noise and saves energy. The inserts are handcrafted in our warehouse on North Interstate Avenue by an eclectic team including a sculptor, handyman and fashion designer.

We’ve won many awards and just made it to the second round of a national contest. This time, the prize is a Super Bowl TV commercial. An Indow Super Bowl commercial would make the entire world more energy-efficient.

As part of the contest, we’re creating a short video. You’ve become a national face of Portland; a few-second cameo in our contest video would be like the heavens opening up and shining down upon us. It would be like Fred Armisen has just saved the world!

So what about compensation? We’ve got you (and your windows & cameras) covered. We’re offering free Indow Windows and Lensbaby special effects camera lenses – because our CEO Sam Pardue is so cool he started both companies.

We’re filming this week – so let us know soon!

- The Indow Windows team

Graciously, Fred replied:

Hi! I like the idea of doing this, but I have to say, my schedule over the next few weeks is insane. I mean seriously! When are you shooting?

F

We whooped. Sam wrote a script that Fred could take as-is or change. Whatever Fred wanted. One of the scenes was this:

Sam: Our inserts are simple to use but very effective.  You just press them in. [Shot of Sam holding an Indow insert, squeezing the tube. He presses it into a window and Fred is on the other side of the window, smiling, looking in.]

alternate version:

[Shot of Sam and Fred at a window…Fred: ”Really you just press it in?” Sam - “Yeah!”, Fred - “Really. Wait. You just press it in?!...back and forth - both go from friendly to a little annoyed to play fight/aggressive...]

Six days after Fred sent our hopes soaring, we got this also very gracious email:

Hi! Good morning. This all sounds really fun. I have to say..it’s getting a bit frenzied at work these weeks. I don’t think I’d be able to really shoot anything until December. And even that is a maybe. I think I was under the impression that I had some more free time, but with this show, I am in every scene. I’m up this early to shoot all day today.

I am bummed, because I really like doing things and being part of cool ideas. Yours sounds like a good project to do. But it’s getting insanely busy, trying to make this show complete and right. Maybe another time?

Thanks

F

And of course we understood because we all find Portlandia hilarious and know that it must take a lot of work. So we set about making our own video, which we’re quite proud of.

Umbrella_ladder_936x568We didn’t advance further in the contest. No Super Bowl commercial for us. But there was for Fred. He appeared in this Honda commercial hugging Bruce Willis, funny as ever. We’re guessing that squeeze earned him more than rad window inserts and special effects SLR lenses!

Gordon Bock imageGordon Bock is co-author of The Vintage House: A Guide to Successful Renovations and Additions. As an architectural historian and former editor-in-chief of Old House Journal, Gordon is an expert on how people can preserve what is essential in their vintage home while making it work for the needs and demands of modern life.

Below is the second of a two-part Q & A we did in advance of a Window Hero Webinar he will be doing with Indow on December 3. Those who register will receive a recording of the presentation, so sign up even if you cannot attend.

>> Click here to sign up.

Q. What is the biggest mistake people make when dealing with their old windows?

A. In our lifetime people have forgotten that windows in a vintage house were meant to be maintained and designed to be repaired. And they repair very easily. When people buy a house, they see flaking paint or a broken sash and they think the window is shot. It doesn’t help when they can’t find anyone who can fix it. The days of the local handyman who will do everything and fix the glass in your windows are making a comeback, but it can still be hard to find someone.

Q. What about achieving energy efficiency?

A. Lately, we’ve been wringing our hands over increased energy and fuel costs for heating and cooling. Old windows get a bad rap and become the lightning rod for energy and comfort issues. When people step back and get an energy audit of their house and see where they’re losing heating and cooling dollars, they often see they’re losing the most energy through a poorly insulated roof.

If you have a limited budget for improving the energy efficiency of your house, first look at the roof and tune up your heating system. If you have clogged filters and old belts, this will be the easiest way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Maintain your old windows to keep them in good condition and use simple techniques to stop drafts like storm windows on the outside or inside of your windows.

Q. You write in your book that people have replaced windows for a long time. What’s different about the window replacement you see going on today?

A. In the 1850s, people advocated changing windows for aesthetic reasons: to get more modern windows with bigger pieces of glass. In the 1950s, the message was that you wanted to upgrade your windows for mechanical reasons so they were easier to use and clean. Now the message is energy efficiency.

Q. How should someone properly maintain their old windows?

A. Most people have double-hung sash windows with a corded weight system. Don’t paint the cords – they get stiff and break and the sash stops moving. People sometimes mistakenly think the window has reached the point of no return because it’s dirty and stuck. People with vintage houses have faced this myth for years: that the windows can’t be repaired since no one knows how to do that anymore. It’s baloney! People are making reproduction parts for windows and all aspects of vintage houses. There are more resources than ever before.