Energy-efficient features may help window and patio door manufacturers increase customer satisfaction, said a J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction study released recently.

The study, now in its fifth year, measures satisfaction among customers who purchased new windows or patio doors based on six performance factors, with ordering and delivery as the highest priority measure, followed by operational performance and durability, price, appearance, warranty and repair or replacement.

The study was based on responses from 2,600 customers who purchased windows or patio doors during the previous 12 months, fielded in March and April 2011.

Results from the study showed that the importance customers place on weather tightness of windows and patio doors has increased from 2010, and that the proportion of customers who indicate they purchased Energy Star-qualified windows averages 95 percent, according to the West Lake Village, Calif.-based marketing firm.

The trend demonstrates “the strong awareness of that program in the minds of consumers and customers alike,” the firm said in a statement. “In addition to having high levels of importance and awareness among consumers, energy-efficient window features and technologies help raise customer satisfaction levels.”

While overall satisfaction with windows and patio doors averaged 786 on a 1,000-point-scale in 2011, various energy-efficient window types had higher levels of satisfaction, such a triple-plane glass, glass-filled panels, low emissivity glass and dual-pane glass.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking the environmental and economic benefits that energy-efficient windows and patio doors offer, but since they may not know which products can meet their needs, it benefits manufacturers to highlight these products and features prominently,” said Jim Howland, senior director in the real estate industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Company rankings for consumer satisfaction was led by Simonton with a score of 818, followed by Window World with 807, Champion with 805 and Renewal by Andersen with 801.

The study also found that about seven in 10 customers chose their window brand themselves rather than relying on a window installer or contractor, and that information sources in the shopping process included past experience, recommendations from contractors and recommendations from family and friends.

When deciding between different window brands, customers most often consider price, recommendations, quality and previous experience with a brand, according to the study.

The firm said customers indicated air leaks and broken seals were the most aggravating problems with windows due to their compromising weather tightness and energy efficiency.

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