FGIA Conference Provides Canadian Codes UpdateMarch 5th, 2021 by Jordan Scott
The Canadian national energy code is becoming more stringent, which will impact the glass and fenestration industries. The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) held a “U.S. and Canadian Codes Report” session during its 2021 Virtual Annual Conference to keep its members informed about the latest in Canadian codes.
Margaret Webb, FGIA glass products and Canadian industry affairs director, told attendees that the FGIA filed its first written public comments on National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) changes in March 2020. The comments were on Proposed Change Forms (PCF) 1414, 1536 and 1541.
PCF 1414, Air Infiltration Through the Building Envelope, introduces restrictive air leakage values for doors, which FGIA opposed. The allowable air leakage is proposed to be reduced from 0.5 L/s/m2 (0.1 CFM/ft2) to 0.3 L/s/m2 (0.06 CFM/ft2). Webb said FGIA believes the Building Envelope Task Group made a mistake and used the wrong units, explaining that FGIA staff believe 0.3 CFM/ft2 was misinterpreted as 0.3 L/s/m2. The Building Envelope Task Group agreed and corrected the issue.
PCF 1536, Thermal Characteristics of Fenestration and Doors, would aggressively reduce maximum allowable U-factors, according to Webb, who said reducing the U-values would put an undue hardship on the industry. The proposal includes a prescriptive maximum U-factor requirement for a 10-12% reduction. However, Webb pointed out that values also were reduced in the 2017 code update be 10-15%, meaning the result would be a 20-30% reduction over five years. The reduced U-factors were accepted as presented, but skylights were given their own targets and doors will be held to the 2015 level.
PCF 1541, Fenestration and Door to Wall Ratio, would reduce allowable fenestration and door area to wall area ratio for prescriptive compliance to the code. The current allowable area ratio ranges from 40-20% based on climate zone. The PCF would reduce the area ratio range to 30-10% based on climate zone. Webb said FGIA argued that this coupled with PCF 1536 would be a double hit to the industry. The task group recommended to table the PCF which was accepted by SC-EE. However, the PCF will be taken forward to the 2025 code cycle.
She explained that PCF 1527, 1611 and 1617 all proposed changes to introduce tiered energy code requirements to Canadian national codes. The goal is to get to tier four by 2030. This would impact both residential and commercial buildings.
Webb also told attendees that provinces will start reviewing the 2020 National Building Code of Canada and NECB to consider adoption in whole or in part. Standing committees will focus on current work activities for the 2025 building code cycle.
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