The Energy Star 7.0 criteria for windows and doors were recently finalized. If you want to keep your products Energy Star labeled beyond 2023, you’ll have to meet the stringent new U-factors and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs) targets. Doing so will likely require some significant changes to the way you make your windows.
If your current products are unable to meet the new guidelines, there are several potential solutions to consider. If you’re intent on keeping your label, it’s important to choose the right strategy that fits your business needs.
1. Triple-pane insulating glass (IG)
Conventional triples have been a staple in Canada due to its considerably colder climate. Meanwhile, American manufacturers have been able to incrementally improve performance with more traditional dual-pane IG glass. But that may no longer be enough to get to Energy Star 7.0 figures.
Although triples will undoubtedly boost your thermal performance, simply adding them to your portfolio may not be straightforward. Manufacturing triples increase manufacturing complexity, and requires additional glass and spacer material for each IG unit, which drives cost higher. Finally, accommodating the extra weight may be a challenge if you want to keep your existing framing system.
2. Thin glass triples
As an alternative to conventional triples, thin glass triples have a few advantages going for them.
If you are using a flexible warm edge spacer designed to accept the thin glass center lite, the thin triple manufacturing process is pretty similar to that of a traditional double. Thin triples minimize the added weight of the IG, cost less in glass while maintaining the high-performance promise triple pane IG provides. Last, but not least, thin glass triples do not add significant weight over a dual-pane IG unit and, in some cases, can be glazed into your existing window framing.
3. High-performance vinyl
Finally, you can opt to upgrade your framing system, but there are costs associated with making wholesale changes to your window platform. However, pairing a high-performance vinyl system with warm edge spacer in a high performance IG unit will help get you to Energy Star 7.0. Making this kind of investment now can set you up for longer-term success. Remember that eventually there will be an Energy Star 8.0, and we can only imagine what performance targets will come then. Taking advantage of high-performance technology today can better prepare you for even greater demands in the future.
Energy Star isn’t the only thing driving demand for high-performance windows and doors. The National Fenestration Rating Council’s Tom Herron noted recently that the demand for energy-efficient windows is only growing: “Post-pandemic consumers want to make more environmentally responsible choices and view themselves as the catalyst for change, according to research the National Fenestration Rating Council conducted,” he wrote. “Moreover, 85 percent think about energy efficiency and sustainability more than they did before the pandemic, and 73 percent plan to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact.”
Energy efficiency demands will only grow stronger. The ever-swinging pendulum of regulatory enforcement notwithstanding, higher- and higher-performing window and door systems will be the way of the future. Consider setting yourself up today for long-term success tomorrow.