WinDoor Proves a Snowy Setting for Warmer Expectations

December 5th, 2018 by Drew Vass

Quebec City

Wintry snow and holiday decorations set the scene for WinDoor this week in Quebec, Canada, where one might expect the conversation to center on triple-pane glazing based on the single digit morning temperatures. Instead, the event got off to a warm start Monday evening, for those choosing to attend “A Night at the Chapelle,” an event that was filled with French food and culture. The show takes place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, at the Quebec City Convention Center, where it was preceded by several Fenestration Canada committee meetings and a night of food and entertainment, including historic tours. Then it was down to business Tuesday morning.

Officials reported that the show was on pace for another record attendance this year, and in its initial hours it appeared to make good on that promise. More than 150 exhibitors look to take advantage of those numbers, amid one of North America’s final fenestration-related shows for 2018. The event also marks an opportunity for folks to catch up on the latest changes—including Canada’s codes, standards and national Energy Star program. Speakers Jeff Baker, of WESTLab, Jean-François Kogovsek, with Maxam Marketing, Steve Hopwood, of ENERGY STAR and Diana Charest, of Natural Resources Canada kicked off the event’s educational lineup at 9 a.m. Tuesday, with a session on expected changes.

Jeff Baker, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., technical consultant for fenestration Canada, opened with a high-level look at proposed code changes across Canada, which are developed at the national level, but primarily as guidelines, Baker said, as they’re enlisted by individual provinces and enforced at the local level. Ontario and British Columbia currently set the key stakes, he said, with more stringent codes than other provinces, while also requiring that fenestration manufacturers have products both certified and labeled.

Jeff Baker, technical consultant for Fenestration Canada.

Meanwhile, “They’ve gone to a stepped code,” Baker said, one that calls for more stringent performance ratings at various levels. “Step one is 9.36 of the national code,” he explained. “If I had a window with a u-value of 1.6, I’d meet the current code in most of British Columbia right now.” However, those requirements will change, Baker said, as codes evolve through a total of five levels, across the coming years. Exactly how that will play out, he and other speakers say is yet to be determined, but one thing’s for certain: fenestration manufacturers should expect stepped changes, he said. Meanwhile, for a glimpse at that future, Baker suggested that manufacturers look to British Columbia, where he said other codes tend to take root, eventually spreading across all of Canada.

So far as what manufacturers should aim for in the meantime, “Understand what the requirements are,” he said, then cue in on providing clear information on products and product performance for building designers to go on.

Weeding Out Performance

In addition to code changes, updates will occur to Canada’s Energy Star program, said Steve Hopwood, senior account manager, equipment division for the Energy Star program—including a plan to eliminate the current zoned approach to requirements.

“We’re going to go to no zones,” Hopwood said.

Effective January 1, 2020, with Version 5, requirements for fenestration will go to a single zone system, he explained, at which time there will be no restrictions on either path of compliance—via U-value or energy rating.

“Energy Star is one of the few programs that puts itself out of business,” Hopwood suggested. “Once the market adjusts [to the current standards], we adjust to make requirements more stringent.”

The last update occurred in 2015.

Introduced in 2013, Energy Star Canada’s Most Efficient program for doors and windows is also slated to become more stringent—dropping requirements from 1.17 to 1.05 U-value (0.18 U-factor) in some cases. While the number of products currently registered has more than doubled in recent years, under single-zone requirements, “All of those numbers will drop,” Hopwood said. “That’s what we want to see as we increase the requirements. Then they climb up again.”

With those tightened requirements will come more stringent expectations for product performance, as well. On the show floor, exhibitors report that they’re expecting those changes and are prepared to help customers. Vince Warne, eastern regional sales manager for Quanex, says his company is prepared to do so by helping the company’s customers to evaluate their options, including how they might adapt existing products to meet new standards.

“Going forward there will be a lot of changes,” Warne says. “We don’t know exactly where it’s going to go, but we have support and resources to help—including people.”

That’s the sort of flexibility that some say manufacturers will need to offer going forward, as needs evolve.

“We’re not tied to any one thing,” says Don Henrich, senior technical sales executive for Tremco. “If you don’t have flexibility in today’s market place, you aren’t going to succeed.”

WinDoor continues through Wednesday. Look for video coverage and additional articles via DWM’s newsletter, or check dwmmag.com for all of the latest.

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