Increased Demand For Energy Star Windows Could Come From Proposed Building Code Changes
To improve the energy performance of buildings, the Government of Canada has proposed changes to the building codes in the National Energy Code for Buildings. If these changes are adopted, buildings will need to feature more energy efficient windows, doors, and structural design considerations, including the building envelope, heat recovery, lighting, and roofs, to name a few.
Although energy efficient windows are already popular in residential buildings, the demand for these windows is sure to increase with the onset of the proposed building codes. More clients will be looking for Energy Star windows to ensure that the energy performance of their buildings meets the new building code standards.
Looking At The Proposed Building Code Changes
Recent news and reactions suggest that the proposed changes to building codes will significantly impact new building designs, making popular window-covered high-rises less likely to meet the new energy performance standards. The proposed changes to the National Energy Code for Buildings can be found on the National Research Council Canada website, which is available for public comment until December 9, 2016.
Among these proposed changes are new criteria for how thermal bridging is measured. Thermal bridges are areas in a building that have a higher heat transfer rate than the surrounding areas, resulting in thermal transmittance, heat loss, and reduced insulation where thermal bridges come in contact with other parts of the building envelope. These contact points include junctions, studs, beams, and the edges of walls and floors.
Energy Efficiency Requirements
Heat recovery system standards are also facing changes. Should the changes go through, they’ll have to recover more heat and energy from a building’s HVAC system. Since outdoor air used in building ventilation must be heated in the winter, this requires more energy. This is especially true in Canada’s colder climates. The good news is that improved heating and energy recovery systems will reclaim a greater portion of clean exhausted air, capturing more heat, and thus significantly improve energy efficiency.
Proposed changes to the criteria for roofing, windows, and doors include improved energy performance with increased insulation. Since energy efficient windows and doors are already widely-available on the market (and are commonly used in residential buildings), this proposed change should be easy to address for builders. If architects still want to design window-covered high rises, they will just have to use more energy efficient windows instead. For window and door manufacturers and retailers, this means a potential increase in client demand for energy efficient windows and doors.
Energy Star Windows
Certified Energy Star windows on the market already exceed building code energy performance standards. As a result, the switch should not be difficult; these windows are already readily available. Energy Star windows are well insulated, providing exceptional energy efficiency. These windows are available in double-glazed and triple-glazed designs, providing more insulation than single-pane windows.
The glass glazes are low emissivity (low-E), meaning less heat will escape from the glass. Also, argon gas can be added between the panes to provide extra insulation. Canadian window manufacturers continue to design the highest quality glass and windows to be energy-efficient in Canada’s varying climates. For extra cold climates, especially in the winter, triple-glazed windows provide added insulation while avoiding condensation that can cause uncomfortable cold and dampness in the home or office.
Greater Client Demand for Energy Efficient Windows
Since Energy Star windows exceed the energy performance outlined in existing building codes, they will be certain to meet the new proposed standards. If the proposed building code changes occur, then there will be an even larger market for these windows, resulting increased business for energy-efficient window manufacturers and retailers.
Although these high-quality windows may seem costly when purchased in large quantities, there will be significant energy savings for businesses and property owners once they make the switch to improve the energy performance of their buildings.
Canada’s proposal to make buildings more energy efficient is a great step forward for green technology and environmental responsibility. The more energy we save, the less demand we will place on our energy resources, our environment, and our wallets.