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It's Easy Being Green: Energy Efficient Manufacturing

Posted on May 18, 2017
Indow Windows

Case Study: Indow Windows, Window Insert Manufacturer, Portland, OR

“We need to do everything we can to address a changing climate that’s endangering people the world over with rising seas, food shortages and drought. Every step we take helps.” –Sam Pardue, CEO and Founder, Indow Windows

In 2010 Sam Pardue was reaching for a beer when everything changed. Sam took special notice of the silicone gasket surrounding his refrigerator door. He noted that the silicone seal kept his fridge the correct temperature, while keeping his electricity bill in check and reducing his energy footprint. This was his eureka moment. This is exactly what Sam needed to block the cold drafts coming in from his Portland bungalow’s 1906 windows. With a silicone seal he could maintain the integrity of the beautiful historic wooden windows while making them more energy efficient. And thus, Indow Windows was born.

Today Sam Pardue is the CEO and Founder of Indow, located in Portland, Oregon. The company’s acrylic thermal window inserts are edged in a silicone compression tubing. This patented design creates a super tight seal on interior window frames without damaging their aesthetics or inhibiting their functionality. But by far one of the best features of Indow’s inserts lies in their ability to maintain internal temperatures, making homes more energy efficient.

A U.S. Department of Energy study found that installing Indow inserts led to more than a 20% reduction in heating, ventilating and air-conditioning use in a Seattle home. Portland State University Green Building Research Lab found similar results.

indow windows stacked

That’s the kind of research that makes Sam proud. Homes and commercial buildings consume 40% of the energy used in America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and so it’s vital to air seal, insulate and address drafty windows to make those buildings more energy efficient. “We need to do everything we can to address a changing climate that’s endangering people the world over with rising seas, food shortages and drought. Every step we take helps,” says Sam.

Indow also does its best to create a sustainable workplace. It gives employees incentives to take alternative transit to work, reduces paper use, and even provides employees with their own hook and bathroom hand towel, which Sam personally launders! Indow takes a triple bottom line approach to business considering people and the planet alongside profit. In addition, the company also values creativity, discipline, confidence and humility. Sam is always looking to find innovative solutions to his manufacturing processes.

“Indow is grateful to be working with another local company, TigerStop, so it can have the best equipment to help it innovate and grow,” explains Sam. Indow recently started manufacturing its window inserts using a rigid acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) in combination with silicone compression tubing. Because ABS is inflexible unlike silicone, there is no room for error when cutting it.

“It’s vital that Indow makes precision angled cuts with its miter saw because the rigid ABS doesn’t allow for any error, unlike soft silicone, which stretches and compresses,” explains Carrie Sturrock, Company Storyteller.

SawGear by TigerStop, an automated stop that attaches to Indow's chop saw, enables Indow to continue making inserts that fit snugly in window frames using the new ABS material. “It allows us to accurately cut the rigid frame to very tight tolerances required with our new product,” says Director of Operations, Rich Radford. “SawGear positions the frame to allow us to cut accurately each and every time.” 

indow using sawgear

Production Designer Mark Pratt said it’s made a huge difference. Before, when all inserts were edged solely with flexible and forgiving silicone compression tubing, Indow was able to use a basic process that involved tape measures, a cutting jig, movable wood stops, and a razor blade to do the cutting. That process would be impossible with the new manufacturing method. “SawGear is easy to use and calibrate,” explains Mark. “Training new employees is easy. Without it we would be stuck using measuring tapes and our dimensional stability would go way down.”

sawgear accuracy

 

TigerStop is also the perfect partner for eco-conscious companies like Indow. All of the machines are hand assembled and manufactured in Vancouver, WA using the best waste reducing, lean manufacturing methods. TigerStop recycles cardboard and turns it into packaging material and also uses TigerStops to manufacture TigerStops! This way every part is cut extremely accurately, up to .008in, and with very little waste involved.

TigerStop is proud to supply machinery to Indow Windows, who now sells inserts throughout the United States, in three provinces of Canada, the Bahamas, and is rapidly growing. Today Indow has 30 employees working in its Portland factory where each window insert is handcrafted. 

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