Codes & Regulations

Canada Ponders Stringent Standards for Windows

“I’m pretty sure we’re not going to make everybody happy.”That’s how Debbie Scharf, director of the Equipment Division of the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada, described the government of Canada’s proposals for boosting energy efficiency in buildings during the WinDoor trade show at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which came out in December 2016 and seeks 30 percent of reductions in energy use through building efficiency, sets stringent goals that could mandate triple-pane windows in Canada by 2030.

Despite some concerns about this change, Scharf repeatedly emphasized that nothing is set in stone yet.

“These are aspirational goals,” she said. “They are around setting a direction in the marketplace. They are directional in nature. It’s where we’d like to see the market go.”

According to Scharf, if Canada switched all residential windows to a U-factor of 0.8, the country could reduce national energy use by 9 per-cent and cut greenhouse gases by 5 metric tons.

The Pan-Canadian Framework calls for an average U-factor of 1.6 by 2020. Scharf says feedback from the industry indicates that this goal is achievable with current technology.

By 2025, it seeks a U-factor of 1.2 for windows. By 2030, the plan demands 0.8 U-factors for windows. That means triple-pane windows would be mandated in Canada, and Scharf said there are a lot of barriers to achieving that goal.

Additionally, there would only be one climate zone for all of Canada, as op-posed to three that Natural Resources Canada currently uses under the country’s Energy Star program.

However, she said there are five barriers to success: availability, awareness, accessibility affordability and acceptance.

“We want to build a system that is the least amount of burden on industry,” Scharf said.

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