Energy Star standards were implemented years ago to recognize residential products that respond to stringent criteria in terms of eco-responsibility, with the goal of significantly reducing energy waste. Since then, numerous products ranging from doors and windows to home appliances have been Energy Star certified. Effective January 1, 2020, the Canadian government has implemented new specifications that are much stricter than before. This will make it easier for consumers to ensure that they’re getting maximum insulation, which, in turn will save them even more money on their utility bills.
Certification will now be reserved for the top 20 percent among the most energy-efficient products sold in Canada. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the doors and windows that are not currently Energy Star certified are of poor quality. Certain categories of products will naturally be favored by the new regulations, for example, triple thermopane windows, which offer incomparable levels of insulation, as well as fixed windows (windows that cannot be opened). Likewise, there will be other categories that are automatically excluded, such as windows with multiple panes or false grids.
Previously divided into three different climate zones, as of January 1, 2020, all of Canada has been lumped into a single zone. This climate zone determines residents’ energy efficiency needs. Only products that meet the specifications of this zone will qualify for Energy Star certification. Considering the harshness of our climate, the requirements are very strict.
Measuring the energy efficiency of a window
To make an informed decision when the time comes to purchase new windows, it’s important for you to understand the values that represent their energy efficiency.
- The R-value designates the insulating properties or thermal resistance of a material or product. The higher the rating, the better insulation the product provides. For example, the Building Code requires the insulation used in walls, ceilings, doors and windows to have a certain R-value in order to be compliant.
- The U-factor, determined by a product’s heat transfer coefficient, represents the product’s resistance to temperature fluctuations. A low number is desirable as it means that the product will prevent indoor heat from escaping through the home’s windows during the winter and prevent outdoor heat from entering the home during the summer.
- Finally, the EP (energy performance) rating is calculated using a formula that establishes a balance between a product’s U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and air leakage. The higher the EP rating, the more energy efficient the product will be.
Here are the minimum values for meeting the new Energy Star requirements: