Nice frames! Who prescribed your Glass?

Have you purchased eye glasses recently? The selection of eyeglass frames is truly remarkable – high performance materials, durable and stylish. And I bet you bought the most fashionable pair, they looked perfect on you, and fit perfectly. And when someone said to you the next day – hey, nice glasses, it made you feel good about your purchase. I bet no one has ever said, nice lenses. But, why do you buy glasses? Because you can’t see without them!

Did you prescribe your own lenses? Of course not. What we do is go to the eye doctor; he or she turns down the lights, makes us read some letters on the wall, drops a machine in front our face and he flips down lenses and ask us – is that one better? How about this one? When it’s all done, he writes us a prescription.

If we prescribed our own lenses, we might pick the wrong ones and won’t be able to see through them. Although your frames look great, it’s the lenses that are real performance component.

It’s pretty much the same with windows. Once you replace your windows, your neighbours will come by and say, nice windows – and they will probably be talking about how the windows look. And although the looks are important, it’s the glass where you can best impact your year-round performance. No one will ever say, nice glass – however, it’s the reason you buy windows in the first place. We want to be able to look out of our homes and let natural light in.

So what is window performance? What if the temperature around your windows was the same as the middle of your home? You’d be comfortable – they would be performing.

With today’s window technology, you have the ability to get the performance and comfort you want – and the sales professionals, or window doctors, at Durabuilt can help you.

If you are looking to replace the windows in your home, you’ve already had experience with your present situation. Maybe you have a north facing living room window that is too cold to sit next to during the winter. Or, you have a southwest facing nook window that overheats your eating area during dinner in the summertime. Or, you have a bathroom window that always has condensation on it – especially in the dead of winter. Give thought to the areas that are causing you to be uncomfortable and get ready to write your comfort prescription.

Let’s start talking about your wintertime performance. So what happens during winter? It cold! The sun gets up around 8-8:30 and goes down around 4:30-5. The suns doesn’t really rise up – it basically hovers around the landscape, it lays low, and although it can provide some nice heat gain during the day the reality is that it is dark most of the time – and the nights are cold.

Have any of you stood beside a dualpane window in the winter and even though the window is closed, you can feel a draft? The reason is simple science. Heat runs to cold and your dualpane windows are the coldest area of the house. As heat comes up to the window it rises up, pushing the cold down – and it circulates around the window. In addition, the heat from your body is being pulled away from you toward the window; it makes you feel chilly – not comfortable.

So, what can you do to improve you wintertime performance?

For maximum wintertime performance, you want to choose windows with a low total window U-value. You may not have heard about the term U-value. Have you heard about R-value? Insulation? R-value is the resistance to heat flow and the U-value actually measure the heat loss – it is the inverse of the R-value.

Total window U-value measure the three areas of the window – the frame, a 2” inch band of glass next to the window frame and the rest of the glass. Think of the frame, the edge of glass and the rest of the glass as “building blocks” to help prescribe the level of performance you need.

First, pick a window frame the uses low conductivity materials. What is does that mean? Heat passes through material by the means of conduction. Do any of you have a cast iron frying pan? Ever notice that the handle gets pretty hot when you are cooking? Well, the heat of the pan is moving to the colder handle – cast iron is high conductivity material.

Vinyl window frames are both strong and low conductivity. Vinyl windows have airspaces, or warm air chambers, in their design to provide warmth and strength.

Now, the edge of glass. The 2” band of glass at the edge of the frame is affected mostly by the type of spacer bar use for the insulated sealed unit. A sealed unit is 2 or 3 pieces of glass separated by 1 or 2 airspaces and it sealed to ensure no moisture gets inside the airspaces. In fact, the airspaces provide natural insulation. The first sealed units were made using an aluminum spacer bar, which is a high conductivity produced and made the edge of the glass cool, resulting in an increased chance of condensation.

At Durabuilt, we use Super Spacer® – the warmest spacer bar. Made of structural silicone, this no-metal spacer is a low conductivity material means the edge of the glass will be warmer, which means less chance of edge condensation and an overall better performing window.

Now, the rest of the glass. This is the area that provides the most “building blocks” to improve your comfort – it is the largest area of the window. Let’s begin with the true performance layer know as low-e. These sophisticated, virtually transparent coatings, on the glass are protected inside the airspace. Low e means, low emmissity – it allows for low levels of heat transfer, or basically pushes heat back to its source. And there are different types of Low e, so we can prescribe the performance you want. At Durabuilt, we manufacture your insulated sealed units using two types of PPG Low e coatings. Sungate 400® helps retain the heat from your home and allows for solar heat gain – a source of free energy. Solarban 60® does a slightly better job at retaining heat and reflects a large portion of solar heat providing summertime comfort and reduced cooling costs – wintertime and summertime performance.

In addition to the Low-e coating, we fill the airspaces with argon gas – which is 30% more dense than air, so it slows down the transfer of heat. In fact, when you add argon a dualpane low-e window sealed unit, it increase its insulation value by 15%.

When you choose triple pane glass, three pieces glass with two sealed airspaces, you get an extra layer that can have low-e and an additional that you can fill with argon gas.

So when it comes to wintertime comfort, you have the building blocks of the windows frame, it’s spacer bar, airspaces, low e coatings and argon filling to write your performance prescription.

In Canada, we use two methods to measure window performance – U-value and Energy Rating. The U-value is the rate of heat loss through windows under standardized winter conditions and does not take solar heat gain into account. The ER is an overall energy balance rating that takes account of passive solar heat gain in addition to heat loss.

How about summer? Long hot days, lots of sun light – up around 5:30-6, goes to bed around 9:30-10.

The goal in the summer is to keep the heat outside – not let it in the house. Ever stand beside a dualpane window in the summer when the light and heat were pouring through it? I bet you didn’t stand there very long. An easy way to think about heat gain is; if you’re in your home and the light from the sun is coming through the windows, it is also allowing for the sun’s heat and damaging ultraviolet to enter as well. On the other hand you may have large overhangs or trees that block the sun’s heat – however, it is blocking its much valued light as well.

A windows ability to block solar heat is measured by a term call the solar heat gain coefficient. Sorry about that; don’t worry it’s not as complicated as it sound. If you stand outside your window the solar heat you feel is given a value of 1. When you go inside, the same heat that you feel behind the window is the solar heat gain coefficient. Standard dualpane glass let in about 80% of the solar heat. Solarban 60® low-e blocks about 60% the solar heat, dramatically reducing heat gain. If you choose triple pane, you can have two surfaces of Solarban 60® low-e and reduce the heat gain even further to about 70%.

In addition, it blocks about 85% of the damaging UV rays. With the increased amount of sun’s hours relates to the potential for a lot of heat and UV gain. You need to protect your level of comfort and your valuable furnishing, floors and drapery from premature fading.

Some people think that they don’t need heat blockage in the summer because the have air-conditioning. First, air conditioning cost money to run. Secondly, if you sit down next to a window where the sun’s heat is pouring in through the window and the air conditioning is blasting up through the floor – it’s like you’re sitting on a block of ice and your hair is on fire – it’s not comfortable.

We’ve looked after your wintertime and summertime performance. Well, fall is part summer and part winter, and spring is part winter and part summer. Now we are ready to prescribe you windows so you get year-round, all-day performance.

Two residual benefits of choosing high performance windows include getting to use all your floor space – you can position your furnishings next to the windows, enjoy the light and gain back some space. Additionally, high performance windows result in wintertime energy savings, year-round if you have air conditioning; and as energy costs go up, so do your savings. Think about your new windows as a long-term investment, that immediately returns comfort and living space and energy savings.

As a basic reference guide, take a look at our Durabuilt Energy Performance info sheet that provides single unit window performance information. For more complete information based on your particular window and door configurations contact us to get a quote that contains specific energy performance information for every window and door.

If you’d like learn more, feel free to book a consultation or get a quote from a Durabuilt sales consultant or dealer partner.

Window performance testing – A basic overview of NAFS

The North American Fenestration Standard/Specification, or NAFS, is the recognized standard for testing, rating and labelling of windows, doors and skylights for residential and commercial buildings in Canada.

The official name is AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, “NAFS – North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Skylights” In Canada, an additional supplement is used to address specific Canadian performance conditions.

NAFS at a Glance

NAFS features a comprehensive method to classify the type, class and performance of windows and doors. Any product that has not been tested to NAFS does not meet the 2010 National Building Code of Canada, or provincial revisions.
Some of the main components of NAFS includes;

Performance Class
There are four performance classes: R, LC, CW and AW. Building type, load requirements and serviceability determine the Performance Class of the windows and doors and is set by the building architect, designer or specifier as;

Residential | R – Light duty, commonly used in single-family dwellings.
Light Commercial | LC – Medium duty, commonly used in low-rise and mid-rise multifamily dwellings.
Commercial Window | CW – Heavy duty, commonly used in low to mid-rise multifamily dwellings where limits on deflections are imposed and tougher environmental constraints exist.
Architectural Window | AW – Severe duty, used in high-rises or when extreme use of fenestration is expected.

Each Performance Class (R, LC, CW and AW) has minimum test sizes and minimum test pressures known as Gateway Requirements. Every product must be tested for each Gateway Requirement in order to qualify for a Performance Class.

Performance Grade
The Performance Grade is a single number that represents performance attributes for a number of different tests including design pressure, water penetration resistance, air leakage resistance, operating force, durability and life-cycle test. The Performance Grade is determined by;

Geographic location – Performance requirements are calculated to determine minimum design pressure, water penetration resistance and air leakage resistance based on the site’s geographical location

Building height – Determined from the top of the window or door above grade, with a minimum height of 10 metres.

Exposure condition – Determined as either;
Open terrain – level with only scattered buildings, trees or other obstructions, open water or shorelines.
Rough terrain – suburban, urban, or wooded terrain extending upwind from the building uninterrupted for at least 1km or 20 times the building height, whichever is greater

The NAFS Canadian Supplement includes a table that lists all major cities in Canada to help building professionals select the right Performance Grade. An easier method is to use the Fenestration Canada NAFS calculator – go to http://www.fenestrationcanada.ca/calculator and click on the fenestration performance calculator.

Determining your Durabuilt window and door Performance Class

As a basic reference guide take a look at our Durabuilt NAFS Ratings info sheet that provides single unit window performance information. For more complete information based on your particular window and door configurations contact us to get a quote that contains specific NAFS performance information for every window and door, and an overall NAFS rating, for your project.

As part of NAFS requirements, the manufacturer is to affix both a removable NAFS rating label for building inspection purposes, and a permanent label to the product. This ensure your windows or doors comply with the NAFS requirements based on your site location.

To obtain more detailed information feel free to book a consultation or get a quote from a Durabuilt sales consultant or dealer partner.

Energy Code 9.36 – Where Do Windows and Doors Fit in?

Section 9.36 of the National Building Code details new requirements for housing and small buildings that is focused on improving the energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The code references six climate zones. The prairies have four of these zones. The specific weather location may be determined by referencing Appendix C of Division B in the Code or by consulting the local authority.

Compliance Map

Compliance Paths

Energy Code 9.36 includes three paths for compliance; Prescriptive, Trade-Off, and Performance Compliance. Select only one compliance path; multiple compliance paths are not permitted on a single building.

Prescriptive Path – The acceptable level of building energy efficiency by constructing the minimum requirements. This path involves following the prescriptive requirements of Subsection 9.36.2, 9.36.3 and 9.36.4 and is typically the simplest compliance path. It involves meeting all requirements in that part, but might not be appropriate for all buildings.

Prescriptive / Trade off Path – The acceptable level achieved by swapping of one or more building envelope thermal performance requirements, resulting in no worse thermal performance than if the affected assemblies met prescriptive requirements. If you need more flexibility in your design, a trade-off path allows you to trade elements within the above ground building envelope to demonstrate an equivalent level of performance without meeting every prescriptive requirement.

Performance Path – The acceptable level by employing a computer simulation software or calculations to compare a proposed design with a hypothetical reference building to show that the proposed design will use less energy over the course of an operational year. Once construction of the house is complete, a blower door test is performed and a Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide Rating System label is issued.

How do windows and door fit into Energy Code 9.36?

The Code allows windows and doors to qualify under two different energy performance rating methods: by the total unit U-value, and by Energy Rating (ER).

The U-value is the rate of heat loss through windows under standardized winter conditions and does not take solar heat gain into account. The ER is an overall energy balance rating that takes account of passive solar heat gain in addition to heat loss.

The ER is intended for use in homes with average window-to-wall ratios, and an approximately even distribution of windows on all sides of the home, and no external window shading devices. In such homes it has been shown to be more effective for selecting windows for lowest year round energy use. The ER is not recommended for homes with higher window-to-wall ratios (above 30%), or with windows facing primarily one or two orientations. Under these conditions occupants could face heating discomfort, or fail to obtain the benefits of moderate passive solar heat gain.

For homes with high window to wall ratios, or windows primarily facing one or two orientations, windows should be selected on the basis of U-value, and with consideration to reduce occupant discomfort from excessive solar heat gain by use of external shading or glass with lower solar heat gain.

There is some flexibility that allows trade-offs, in which a better performing window or glass door can compensate for a worse-performing product having the same orientation. It also has a performance path, and it is possible that homes designed under the performance path could accommodate several products that have worse than prescriptive ratings. The code also relaxes the U-value requirement for one door in a home. The intent is to allow decorative or heritage style entrance doors to be used which might be constructed of materials that cannot achieve the prescriptive U-values.

This table provides the maximum U-value and minimum Energy Rating for your building zone.

Table

Determining your Durabuilt window and door Performance Class

As a basic reference guide, take a look at our Durabuilt Energy Performance info sheet that provides single unit window performance information. For more complete information based on your particular window and door configurations contact us to get a quote that contains specific energy performance information for every window and door.

The code requires products to be labeled with energy performance ratings. This ensure your windows or doors comply with the energy requirements based on your site location.

To obtain more detailed information feel free to book a consultation or get a quote from a Durabuilt sales consultant or dealer partner.

Performance Rating

If you are ever wondering about the structural and thermal performance of your windows, these guides are here to help you ensure you are getting the most out of your windows and sliding patio doors.

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Built Green

Durabuilt Windows & Doors is a proud member of Built Green Canada, a third party certification program for homes that are environmentally responsible. Built Green Canada encourages, promotes, and recognizes home builders that prioritize energy efficiency by providing healthier indoor air, preserving natural resources, and improving your home’s overall durability. As a Supporting Member, Durabuilt offers energy efficient products and solutions that deliver superior ratings and R-Values to support Built Green Certification.

There are some of the benefits of installing Energy Star rated Durabuilt products to help achieve Built Green Certification:

  • One or two points for windows that meet or exceed your required Energy Star Zone
  • One point for energy efficient door systems that meet or exceed an R6 rating
  • Improved comfort by reducing drafts and controlling temperatures in the home
  • Reduce energy consumption by 6-12% with high performance windows and doors
  • Lower unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact

More builders and savvy homeowners are choosing high performance options because they recognize the value and return on investment of Built Green Certification.

Read more about our green products:

My home is south facing. How can I make it cooler?

Durabuilt offers Low E glass solutions for year round comfort and savings. Low E glass can act as a gateway for natural heat to come in during cooler winter months and as a shield to block heat waves in the summer. Ask your Sales Consultant for a solution that is right for your home.

Will I save on my heating and cooling costs?

If you’ve been experiencing inflated heating and cooling costs, we can guarantee that you will see a reduction on your energy bill once you replace your windows and doors with new high performance solutions from Durabuilt. Also, when you renovate with Energy Star® rated windows, studies have shown you can reduce your energy costs up to 12%*, so you can feel good about your beautiful window makeover while saving money and protecting the environment! Durabuilt offers many Energy Star® rated products to achieve optimal efficiency. Discuss with your Sales Consultant to determine the best solution for your home renovation project.

*Based on replacement of all windows in an average older home, household energy consumption would be reduced by 7%, saving three quarters of a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Star website statistic 2006.

Why should I renovate with Durabuilt?

Durabuilt Windows & Doors is a local Edmonton based company that employs over 400 staff members. We are a CSA Certified manufacturer and Energy Star partner. We have over 25 years experience and back our products with a competitive warranty and local service teams. As a family-run business, we value our customer’s satisfaction and pride ourselves on providing quality products at a competitive price.

How Does Super Spacer® Keep Energy Costs Down?

All Durabuilt insulating glass units, across our various Window Collections feature the same premium grade all-foam, no metal Super Spacer®.  Thermal efficiency through no presence of conductive metals is the Super Spacer® hallmark and one of the cornerstones of our high performance window solutions, here’s why:


Blocks Heat Escape

The all foam formula of Super Spacer® blocks the heat escape path and provides one of the best thermal performances in the industry.

Resists Condensation & Mold

Condensation can lead to more than mold it can increase the likelihood of fungi, viruses and mites that cause respiratory infections, allergies and asthma. Durabuilt’s Super Spacer® helps keep the glass surface warmer, reducing the risk of condensation and all that follows.

Blocks Unwanted Noise

Improved sound absorption over traditional metal spacers is achieved as a result of the closed-cell polymer foam in the Super Spacer® that transmits very little sound, keeping the decibels down.

Adapts to Extreme Temperature Variances

Our all foam formula offsets the effects of temperature changes, barometric pressure, wind load and glazing pressure. The end result is less seal failure and fewer stress cracks.

Withstands the Test of Time

Super Spacer units withstand 60°C temperatures, 95 – 100% humidity and constant UV bombardment in the world’s toughest durability test – The P-1 Chamber. Considered by many engineers as the world’s toughest simulation, one week in the P-1 Chamber is equivalent to one year in field; Super Spacer survives 75+ weeks *.

* Source Test: RLS08006B

 

Foam vs. Metal


Metal can’t bounce back the way Super Spacer® can. As a result of Super Spacer’s® 100% memory formula (TSS technology), it will expand and contract, but always return to its original shape. Rigid metal and plastic spacer’s cannot compensate for the natural expansion that occurs daily in insulating glass – especially with western Canada’s extreme temperature fluctuations.

Super Spacer® will Outlast and Outperform


Many of today’s windows offer glass packages with “warm edge technology.” The problem with these highly conductive metal-based insulating spacers, is that they can cause heat/cold transfer to flow through a window the same way you see heat conduct from the stove to a hot skillet.

 

Durabuilt’s Premium grade Super Spacer® can provide up to +10.2˚C warmer temperature at the edge of the glass.

 

Outside Temperature: -17.78˚C ± -1.1˚C
Inside Temperature: 21.11˚C ± -1.1˚C

Simulations performed by Enermodal Engineering Ltd. using window 5.2 and Therm 5.2 as per NFRC100-2001. Outside temperature -17.8°C, inside temperature 21.1°C. Double-glazed Low-E glass with Sungate 400 with argon fill. Temperature results shown are average temperatures. [Test Reports EIG10009w, Oct. 15, 2010 – doubles and EIG11001w, Dec. 9, 2010 – triples.] Keff is per NFRC 101-2010.

 

The Differences Between Dual and Triple Pane Windows

Dual Pane

All Durabuilt windows come with dual pane insulating glass as a standard (two individual pieces of glass separated by a sealed airspace). Installing new dual pane windows with our high-performance PVC frames will significantly improve your window & doors performance; especially when old single pane metal systems were previously in place.

Triple Pane

Triple pane insulating glass (three individual pieces of glass separated by two sealed airspaces) provides added performance benefits, especially in extreme climates, as it features additional glass and airspace for improved insulation. All of our Casement Collection windows support triple pane glass as well as selection of our slider series.

Simulations performed by Enermodal Engineering Ltd. using window 5.2 and Therm 5.2 as per NFRC100-2001. Outside temperature -17.8°C, inside temperature 21.1°C. Double-glazed Low-E glass with argon fill. Temperature results shown are average temperatures. [Test Reports EIG10009w, Oct. 15, 2010 – doubles and EIG11001w, Dec. 9, 2010 – triples.] Keff is per NFRC 101-2010.


Save on Energy Cost

Durabuilt’s triple pane windows deliver superior air-tightness and protection, preventing winter heat loss and summer heat gain. The dual seal combination keeps the entire glass surface warmer / cooler, especially on the inside, which helps retain energy. As a result, triple pane windows can insulate up to 60%* better than their dual pane counterparts.

* Study based on a double and triple pane window comparison under controlled circumstances featuring Super Spacer ® and Low E Glass with argon.


Reduce Noise & Improve Comfort

In today’s housing market, neighbours and distractions are often in close proximity. Triple pane windows are equally as effective at blocking unwanted noise as they are in retaining energy. By trapping sound waves in the first chamber and keeping cool drafts outside, your home will become the tranquil haven you long for.

Reduce Condensation

Triple pane insulating glass can improve your relative humidity levels (the point before surface condensation occurs) by almost double due to warmer window surface temperatures. Triple pane is highly recommended if you live in a cold dry climate and desire more moisture and humidity in the home.

 

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