What To Look For When Choosing Windows And Doors In Ottawa
In Canada, doors and windows are rated for both energy and physical performance. Energy performance is tested using standards set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Energy efficient doors and windows help you conserve energy spent on heating and cooling your home, lowering your energy bills lessening your impact on the environment. Physical performance is tested using standards set by the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). When shopping for doors and windows in Ottawa, make sure to consider these ratings for doors and windows manufactured in Ontario.
Energy Performance Rating
Energy performance is rated by the following:
- U-factor—the rate that heat escapes from the interior to the exterior of a building. Lower numbers mean better energy performance.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)—the amount of heat from the sun that is blocked. Lower numbers mean better energy performance.
- Energy Rating (ER)—a balance of the U-factor, SHGC, and air leakage. Higher numbers mean better energy performance.
- Visible Transmittance (VT)—the amount of light that comes through a product. Higher numbers mean more light passes through.
- Centre-of-glass rating—an energy-efficiency rating referring only to the glass part of a product.
Physical Performance Rating
Building codes require doors and windows in Ottawa, and indeed the rest of Canada, to be tested for physical performance before installation. The physical performance ratings vary by province, territory, and municipality, and are based on climate. For example, door and window manufacturers in Ontario will make windows strong enough to endure extreme weather, rain, and humidity found within the province.
Physical performance ratings are based on air leakage, water tightness, and structural strength. Higher numbers mean better physical performance—they are stronger and more water-resistant. Doors and windows are also given one of the following performance grades, depending on where they are installed:
- R—single-family residential buildings
- LC—low- and mid-rise multi-family residential and light commercial buildings
- CW—mid-rise multifamily residential and commercial office buildings
- AW—high-rise multifamily residential and commercial office buildings
Certified doors and windows manufactured in Ontario and the rest of Canada have been tested by at least one of these accredited labs and independent third parties:
- CSA International (CSA)
- Intertek Testing Services (ITS)
- Quality Auditing Institute Ltd. (QAI)
- The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
When investing in new doors and windows, it is worth choosing the best quality products for peace of mind and energy savings. Energy efficient products will save you money and have less of an impact on the environment. Products with high performance ratings will save you from future water damage, structural damage, and will also reduce energy costs with air tightness.
For more information on door and window certification, visit the Natural Resources Canada website.