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Along with the BC building code there are energy performance requirements for all products. Below I touch on a few scenarios facing window manufacturers, you should always discuss your particular situation with a professional.
- The BC Energy Efficiency Act regulates by law that all products must meet a minimum level of thermal performance.
- Residential windows must meet a 2.0 or lower U value. This can be achieved via thermal simulations with a test lab.
- Labs will use air leakage test data along with computer simulations of frame and glazing performance to determine overall window system performance. A variety of glazing options can easily be simulated in each window type.
- These simulations that are certified by the labs also become the values used in the Energy Star program.
An alternative method typically used by aluminum window systems is done by an overall thermal simulation performed by an engineer on the actual product designs and sizes for each project. This process allows for the performance of all products in a project to be averaged to meet the 2.0 or lower value. This allows poorer performing products to be used in some cases, as it is the average value that must be met.
Swing doors systems are a little different in that there are three paths that depend somewhat on slab type. A manufacturer could test and simulate their system to follow the typical window path. Or, Fiberglass and Insulated steel slabs must have thermal resistance (RSI) greater than or equal to 0.875 (m2xK)/W along with high performance glazing, LowE argon and warm edge spacers.
Wood door slabs are only required to have prescriptive high performance glazing as above.
The Fenestration Association of BC is currently in talks with the Ministry to develop improved methods to enforce the compliance to the BCEEA. I recommend looking over the attached document to better understand the requirements for all products and project types affected by the BCEEA.
The City of Vancouver is in the works to bring in a very aggressive thermal performance requirements for windows and doors in single family homes. The values being proposed over the next few years will likely push the slider window out of Vancouver, and potentially require triple glazing or fourth surface LowEs. We expect to see this early in 2014.
Also the province of BC is bringing in thermal performance requirements to the BCBC. Expect to see this by the end of 2014, with values much lower than the current BCEEA and the Energy Star programs. It is expected these two programs may follow suit by lowering the performance values to comply to their programs.
Thermal performance of fenestration is high on everyone's radar, we will see significant changes in performance requirements over the next five to ten years that will change the BC market.
Make Westeck Windows and Doors your choice to meet the latest in performance requirements.
Terry Adamson has worked in the window and door industry since 1985, an avid industry supporter, and member of multiple associations. Employed with Westeck Windows in Chilliwack BC, and director with WDMA-BC for past 8 years, serving as Association president for the last two years. His particular interest is the challenges facing manufacturers by codes, laws, regulations and their inconsistent compliance and enforcement between jurisdictions.