Notes from the Fabricators Council
By Patrick Flannery
Fenestration Canada held a meeting of its Fabricators Council at its Spring Conference in Calgary earlier this month. Brad Fevold of Marvin Windows and Doors and Gary Blad of Loewen Windows reported on the Council’s activities to Fenestration Review. The Fabricators Council is a closed meeting only for FenCan members who manufacture windows and doors.
About 25 fabricator members attended with “good representation from across Canada,” according to Fevold. B.C. and Alberta were well represented due to the location in Calgary.
Steve Hopwood of Energy Star provided an update on the upcoming tightening of Energy Star efficiency requirements due to hit the program in about 18 months. The proposal is becoming clearer as the program reacts to industry input and the changing mandate coming from Natural Resources Canada’s mandate to implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Energy Star is looking at moving from a requirement for a 1.6 U-factor to a 1.2 for qualifying products. This change is anticipated to eliminate from qualification about 73 per cent of the products currently listed in the Energy Star database. Unsuprisingly, this change is causing some concern with Council members. “The manufacturers who lead with Energy Star are going to have to make sure they have products when customers call in looking for it,” Blad said. “Once fabricators start digging into their product data they are going to find whole lines that don’t qualify. Sliders, swinging doors, patio doors are a big concern. And what do you do about whole house packages where maybe the windows qualify but not the doors?” Fevold said that while the industry has been adequately warned about this shift, the feeling in the room was still that Energy Star is moving too far all at once and that perhaps a more incremental change from 1.6 to 1.4 would be more feasible for fabricators.
The Certification Testing Advisory Panel told the Council it plans to update the FenCan website with answers to questions about NAFS 11 and 17. J.F. Kogovsek of Maxim Marketing shared his work on FenCan’s component substitution guidelines that tell fabricators how to swap out components without losing their NAFS rating on tested products. He asked for more help, especially from door prehangers, and got several volunteers.
The Council heard that the Fenestration Installation Technician certification test should be ready and posted within a few weeks. The Product Certification Task Group has suspended activities for now due to low pull from the fabricating community.
Jeff Baker, FenCan’s technical consultant, told the Council he’s working on a white paper to clarify rules on rounding decimal places when recording test data for Energy Star, especially when converting imperial units to metric. It is anticipated that Baker’s process will meet wide acceptance, as B.C. and NRCan have already indicated they agree with the approach.
CSA reported it is working with NFRC to update CSA 440.2 and NFRC 200 and 400 testing procedures for air/water leakage and energy efficiency. The update is intended to give fabricators a way to approve multiple large door sizes based on one test of a specified size. The present test protocol for a patio door specifies a 79-by-79-inch door that is much smaller than what is commonly sold. CSA is consulting with fabricators to find a testing size that is closer to the market average.