CEO, Eternia, a business unit of Hindalco Industries
Covered By- Construction Times
What are the core competencies of Eternia in the door & windows space?
The world has changed! Our homes have never been more important to us; they have evolved into multifunctional living spaces, for leisure and work. Eternia’s mission is to create a happy union of spaces, by making the world greener, stronger and smarter. Our primary focus is the ‘Home’ and our passion is to transform everyday ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones.
In an unorganised market, values are more important than competencies – The Aditya Birla Group’s parentage grounds us in trust and a culture of nurturing the eco-system to deliver the best products to every income strata of Indian homes. Our values enable us to build a national footprint of high-quality dedicated partners to serve our customers till the last mile.
Our core competencies are rooted in our parentage of Hindalco – The world leader in aluminium. Aluminum is a material of choice for fenestration (doors and windows) products and now emerging as a leader in other home products due to its design adaptability, lightweight yet strong and recycling properties. This gives Eternia a head start in bringing the most cutting-edge global technology to India – many of which are World-Firsts for the Indian consumers in the construction business
Our second competency is the robust national infrastructure – in an industry where time and delivery are paramount, we have an unmatched manufacturing and warehousing infrastructure to deliver on time and in full. What makes it distinctive is in a new world order of broken supply chains, we are the only player in the country that is fully integrated from bauxite mining to installed windows!
Lastly, our world-class design competencies have enabled us to create a mélange of global design experiences yet rooted to Indian context of heterogeneous consumer segments with specific price, product, and service needs.
What kind of innovative solutions do you provide in doors and windows? What are the advantages and benefits offered?
Fenestration products play the primary role of protecting you and your home from wind, water and air – the secondary role is to enhance the aesthetics of your home.
Surprisingly in India, very little awareness exists of this primary role – less than 2% of windows in India are certified and tested. Eternia bridges this market gap with its brand promise of WiWA© (acronym for Wind, Water and Air) certified products– every Eternia product across price points is rigorously tested by independent agencies against stiff international standards before launching in the market. So, when you buy Eternia, you and your home have superior protection from cyclonic winds, heavy rains, noise, dust etc.
The aesthetic element is assured by Duranium®, another World-First by Eternia. Invented by Hindalco engineers who create parts strong enough for aerospace missions, this aluminium alloy offers better yield strength. Simply put this ensures slimmer yet strong frames and enhanced surface quality for customised coating.
But just building products is not enough when you are nurturing the industry to a new level – think about it – how do you know which window to choose from basis the above-mentioned roles? To bring transparency and trust to our customers in a simpler way, we have jointly developed an algorithm with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. The world’s only tool of its kind, ‘Know your WiWA© score’ enables you to find the right window for your home by answering five simple questions (this is like a Carat meter for Gold).
To solve for aesthetics, we offer a wide range of colours, finishes and accessories that the customer can choose from. To help customers visualize the end product, we have created ForesenseTM, the world’s only 3D AR/VR tool for windows. This unique tool enables you to try a window before you buy one, in the context of your home. While most of our industry players offer either 2D, AR or VR, we have pushed all the boundaries here to make the choice easy and hassle-free for our customers.
How do safety and sustainability play a key role in your product lines?
WiWA is our first anchor of Safety which we have spoken above. Our doors and windows come with anti-lift and anti-burglary locks to offer extra security, which is sourced from the best global and local suppliers. Lastly, our windows are designed to adapt to different grades of glass quality and thickness to enhance safety.
At Hindalco and therefore at Eternia, a business unit of Hindalco, sustainability is of utmost importance and Hindalco has ranked No. 1 on the sustainability index (Dow Jones sustainability indices 2021). We are happy to share that all our products are IGBC green pro certified. We are the only aluminium system window company in India to have this international recognition towards lower environmental impact of our business activities and our contribution towards enhancing the performance of green buildings.
All our premium products are made up of Duranium®, a World-First aluminium alloy that is not just continuously recyclable, but also helps one get a low air permeability score in all our products ensuring minimum energy leakage without compromising on the strength and safety.
We also take extra care to ensure our bought-out components are made of materials that are recyclable, e.g. – Nylon Grade 6.
How is design evolving in doors and windows with the growing urbanisation in the country?
We are seeing two secular shifts – taller buildings in the country, larger windows as a result of urbanisation and aspirational quality of living preferences. Further, Covid has accelerated the spend and care people are willing to do to make their homes comfortable for work – so noise cancellation needs have accelerated.
The Government of India also has recognised these trends and is in the process of issuing new building codes and product standards for the window industry.
As a result of this, more consumers and even industry players who were only using other materials are now shifting to aluminium fenestration – again a clear secular trend that favours aluminium as the preferred material of choice suited for our country’s climate and weather conditions.
At Eternia, our global and local design teams try to find a balance in meeting the above functional trends while delivering superior aesthetics – the ability to design for skyscrapers is a specialised capability that cannot be addressed by local contractors. This is encouraging companies like ours to invest in innovation and inventive design. Duranium remains a big enabler for Eternia in design because of its distinctive characteristics helping us balance strength with slim designs.
How do you look at the future demand trends for your products in windows and doors?
India has started only now on this journey of using branded tested and certified windows. In a Rs. 20K crore market opportunity, less than 2% of households in India use certified windows.
While we have upgraded our bathrooms, kitchens and flooring in the past 20 years, quality windows are still an afterthought. But this is rapidly changing with growing customer consciousness in both B2B and B2C markets resulting in accelerated market growth, increasing the share of aluminium vs other materials and importantly creating a shift-away from local uncertified aluminium products to certified and innovative aluminium products.
There is a large market out there and there is space for everyone – if we collaborate as an eco-system we all stand to gain, fortunately this is not a winner takes all or a zero-sum game.
What are your expansion plans in products and sales?
Our aspiration is to create several World-Firsts in India for our consumers. We are continuously expanding and evolving our products to ensure that they are currently with the latest technology and design trends. We will also expand our categories beyond doors and windows in the near future.
However, we believe that the industry eco-system needs to be nurtured and evolved before its players can achieve scale – we see the following imperatives:
All this has been done earlier in other home product industries – we can learn from them as an industry and accelerate.