Richmond family wins $10,000 toward new windows

Windows contest winner Nazim Jamal in front of his Richmond home.

Blaine Kyllo

Nazim Jamal takes care of his house. It's how he's been able to keep his family's Richmond residence in good shape, even though the family has been living in it for more than 20 years. It's not a heritage house, says Nazim over the phone, but it's home.

They've redone the kitchen, they've replaced appliances with efficient ENERGY STAR® models, the roof has been replaced and the structure has been painted a few times. Nazim is a mechanical engineer who has been involved in construction projects for many years, so he knows that performing renovations in phases keeps things manageable.

The most recent upgrade to the Jamal family's two-storey, cedar-sided house were new windows. Thanks to a BC Hydro contest that offered up to $10,000 toward a windows upgrade, it cost the family next to nothing for the new windows.

The house had single-glazed windows on the upper floor, and those second-storey rooms got cold in the winter. The new vinyl-framed portals he selected are LowE Argon, and Nazim says comfort has improved considerably since they were installed.

"There is less heat loss and more consistent temperature inside the house," he says.

When it came to source the windows, Nazim was methodical. "It's the way you're taught to think," says the engineer. "I did research. You have to do that."

He talked to others who had upgraded windows to identify potential suppliers. Then he checked the Better Business Bureau reputation of the dealer he was considering for the project, looked at previous installations they had performed and even visited and toured the manufacturing plant.

It gave him confidence that his house was in good hands.

At the time Nazim was considering the windows upgrade, ENERGY STAR windows were PST exempt and many retailers and suppliers were also offering to cover the GST. That savings was a powerful incentive, admits Nazim. "Having to pay an extra 12% was a major consideration," he says. "It would be to anybody."

While the PST exemption no longer applies, many windows retailers are offering other savings opportunities for those wanting to improve the windows in their home.

As for Nazim and his family, there are other upgrades that can be done with the $10,000 they recouped from the BC Hydro promotion.

"We're thinking of doing the bathrooms," says Nazim. "And I'll have to replace the flooring at some point."

Blaine Kyllo is a Vancouver-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to