From building codes to Energy Star®, “Energy Codes in Canada” was the discussion of a recent webinar hosted by Fenestration Canada. The presentation, first in a four-part series, was led by Jeff Baker, the group’s technical consultant. Baker discussed the country’s National Building Code as well as the Energy Efficiency Act and explained the differences between the two. He also provided a look at what the provinces have adopted, as well as those in the midst of adopting energy codes and requirements.

Baker began with a discussion of the National Building Code compared to the Energy Efficiency (EE) Act. He explained that the Energy Efficiency Act applies to products sold, both consumer products and those used in buildings.

“[The Act] has have been used differently both nationally and in the provinces. If it’s just in the province the law only exists there; if done nationally, the national EE act covers products across a border, whether it’s a national border or provincial border,” said Baker. “Any product coming into the country has to meet the national requirement and any product crossing the provincial border, such as built in Manitoba and sold in Ontario, has to meet the national act.

Currently, though, at the national level there is no requirement under the Energy Efficiency Act for fenestration.

“At the time, British Columbia is the only province that has adopted requirements under their Energy Efficiency Act for fenestration,” said Baker. “The rest of the provinces are currently working under the National Building Code. In the code if they add energy efficiency requirements it only covers products going onto a job that requires a building permit, whether new construction or a large renovation.” He further explained that while the code only covers products where a building permit is required, the Energy Efficiency Act will cover any products sold in that jurisdiction.

Baker said it was also important to note that National Building Code has no legal implication anywhere in Canada unless one of the provinces or territories adopts it.

“In most cases it’s adopted with some modifications within the provinces and territories,” he said. “And to prove compliance, what has been written into the code is you must prove you meet minimum requirements through CSA A440.2 or NFRC 100.”

He added that also under development and expected to be out for publication soon is a national model energy code for commercial buildings and that CSA A440.2 or NFRC 100 can both be used to prove compliance.

Baker also gave an overview of what the different provinces are doing as far as energy codes. Beginning with British Columbia, Baker said the province is working on adding energy efficiency requirements to the building code. He said the province has covered fenestration products under the Energy Efficiency Act since 2009 and is now working to add these requirements to the code. Baker said it’s under development and expects changes out later this year for comments.

According to Baker, under the Energy Efficiency Act, windows, sliding glass doors, curtainwall, window wall and storefront all have to have a U-factor of 2.0 or lower and skylights 3.1 or lower. Wood doors, he added, are exempt at this time.

Baker added that one big difference between the Energy Efficiency Act and the code in British Columbia is that neither requires certified values.

“You just have to prove compliance by having testing or computer simulation done,” said Baker. He explained that under Energy Star, though a voluntary program, it does requires certified values by an independent third party.

“What it comes down to is if you are participating in Energy Star and have certified values you are also in compliance with Energy Efficiency Act of British Columbia or any of the energy codes across Canada,” said Baker.

While Alberta and Saskatchewan have no energy code requirements in place, Manitoba, according to Baker, was the first province to adopt the National Building Code 2010 “and when they did they included an extra section on energy efficiency,” said Baker.

“Manitoba went in a completely different direction than what the other provinces and what the national code commission is working on. They went with a prescriptive requirement alone and only on windows; nothing on doors at all,” he explained.

He added that in Manitoba compliance is proven by visual inspection alone.

As far as Ontario, in 2006 the province added the energy code requirements in the 2006 Building Code. Baker explained that as of January 1, 2012 Ontario is amending the 2006 code allowing trade offs on the entire building.

“This is very complicated … because there are a number of different trade-off paths to prove compliance and they vary quite a bit from one to another,” said Baker.

Currently Quebec has no current energy code requirements.

“There is a proposed code for 2012 in the works now,” said Baker.

Nova Scotia implemented requirements this year for residential performance. Products covered include windows, sliding glass doors, swinging doors and skylights.

Baker also provided an overview of where Energy Star is and where it’s going.

“While it’s not a legislated code requirement, it’s a very strong marketing program used by manufacturers to promote their products,” said Baker. One change being considered has to do with the zones. Currently under Energy Star there is a four-zone map; there currently is discussion to change this to a three-zone map.

According to Baker, the Canadian Energy Star program is under review and those changes are being considered. The next meeting of the Energy Efficient Fenestration Steering Committee will be held in November at Win-door to discuss the changes.

The second part of the webinar series will take place September 15 and focus on building codes in Canada.

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