On June 30, the Florida Building Code’s 5th Edition went into effect. One of the biggest changes involves dropping the prescriptive solar heat gain coefficient for residential windows from 0.30 to 0.25.
The code changes have many in the industry wondering if the cost of windows in Florida will be going up. The answer? Not necessarily.
New codes in Florida may cause prices of its windows to increase.
“If you can replace a window with monolithic glass, that will be a lower cost than with low-E IG,” says Dean Ruark, PE, PGT Industries. “However, it’s typically not a significant cost addition. What’s required is commonly used in the marketplace, and becoming more common in Florida as a market trend and consumer need, even without the code requiring it.”
The prices of windows aren’t going up at NewSouth.
“We’ve had these windows that meet the code since day one,” says Earl Rahn, president. He adds that the company, which has four locations in Florida, sells the same windows in all its locations. “We just entered the southeast Florida market [West Palm Beach], and we use the same windows there that we put in everyone else’s home in Florida.”
Rahn says he is thrilled that his company will no longer “be competing with the low-priced, non-energy-efficient window.”
The new code, which is laid out like the 2012 IECC with separate residential and commercial chapters, has been a topic of discussion among the industry given that the stringency of the state’s codes can serve as a model for future developments in other parts of the United States.
Key changes in the new code include a shift in climate zone, as Zone 1, the most southern zone, was expanded to cover more ground to its north.
Earlier this year, Arlene Z. Stewart of AZS Consulting gave attendees of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) 2015 Winter Conference an update on the new code. She noted that other basic changes are that the code no longer utilizes a multiplier, and that there is a penalty for using more than 15 percent glass, but no benefit of using less.
In the new code, she said, the 30-percent rule also has new clarification. The Florida statute says the energy code does not apply to renovated buildings where changes are less than 30 percent of the assessed value of the building.
Meanwhile, Stewart said code requirements for residential windows require an IG unit, and with impact resistance on one side of the glass. For commercial, she said the numbers are very similar and just as stringent. Stewart explained that the increase in stringency has a direct impact on the IG market because windows can make or break calculations and certifications.