Volume 14, Issue 8- October 2013

Energy & Environmental News

Market Analysis
How do the Energy Star Programs in the U.S. and Canada Compare?

Comparisons are expected. The U.S. is set to finalize its new Energy Star criteria in 2013 and Canada has just published its latest version which will go into effect February 1, 2015.

Even manufacturer support varies between the two countries. John Cockburn, director of The Equipment Division, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada, points out that the Energy Star program in general is highly recognized in Canada.

“Canada is a very active Energy Star partner and it covers every product,” he says. “It is a mark that is widely recognized and is a very big part of the Canadian residential scene.”

Both countries introduced Most Efficient programs for windows in 2013. Twenty-two window manufacturers and one dealer participate in the Canadian program which encompasses 23,000 models of windows out of nearly a million, says Steve Hopwood, Energy Star account manager for windows, doors and skylights for the Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada.

“It takes some time to get traction,” says Cockburn. “The manufacturers have to get the retailers on board. We are in it for a while and expect it to grow.”

Hopwood adds that 23 participants is about what was expected when the program was launched.

“A lot of companies print literature years in advance so there is a delay sometimes,” he says.

While the most efficient program is a way for companies to stand out from an energy perspective, Canada’s latest Energy Star version also became more stringent.

“We noticed there was quite a lot of room for improvement in efficiency,” says Hopwood. “We went through a two-phase process to get to the 2015 spec. The first phase was October 1, 2010. The next phase was 2015 so we did an analysis of what was achievable and followed that with a lot of consultation. This included a steering committee comprised of manufacturers of all sizes, as well as suppliers and extruders. We are fairly confident we were on track with both phases.”

What role did payback play when revising the criteria?

“Payback is always a criterion we look at for all products in the program,” says Hopwood. “For fenestration there is no difference though it is a bit complex as there are four zones. We also have to take different fuel types into consideration, and whether it’s new construction or renovation. For 2015, the average payback is just over eight years which given current realities this is very good.

“There are so many other benefits to the upgrade,” adds Cockburn. “Payback is just one item.”

While payback is also a consideration to homeowners in the U.S. there is another bigger way in which the two countries differ. Canada adopted its Energy Rating (ER) in the 1980s and, while some manufacturers question its effectiveness, Hopwood points out that a Review of Window Energy Rating Procedure in Canada, published in January 2013 showed that “it is an effective tool to rank windows.”

The purpose of the ER is to help consumers compare the relative energy efficiency of windows and glazed sliding doors. It is a single number rating that evaluates the energy performance under winter heating conditions and takes into account the balance between heat loss through conduction and air leakage, and solar heat gain through the door or window. The ER was designed mainly for ranking products in a heating-dominated climate and for doors and windows installed in low-rise residential buildings, according to the report.

—Tara Taffera

U.S. Manufacturers Save Energy
PPG Industries, Eastman Chemical Co., Saint-Gobain Corp. and Ingersoll Rand were among the more than 120 manufacturers recognized in September by the Department of Energy (DOE) for making wise investments that reduced energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions while improving their bottom lines.

Through the DOE’s “Better Buildings, Better Plants” program, which is a key cog in President Barack Obama’s efforts to double energy productivity by 2030 while saving businesses money and energy, more than 1,750 plants across the nation have saved about $1 billion in energy costs.

Other companies involved in the program with glass/window industry ties include Aloca, 3M, Serious Materials, Sunoptics Prismatic Skylights, Arkema and the Dow Chemical Co.


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