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One label to rule them all – NRCan proposing harmonized label for windows and doors

June 14, 2024  By Patrick Flannery

Adam Buist, a standards engineer from Natural Resources Canada, told Fenestration Canada’s Spring Conference in Kananaskis, Alta., that his department is conducting an industry pre-consultation on a proposal for a new federal labeling regime for windows. The idea is that window products, by 2028, would be required under the federal Energy Efficiency Act to display a standardized label replacing Energy Star and/or NFRC labels in order to be shipped across provincial or national borders. The labels would show energy performance information about the product using metrics harmonized between CSA, Energy Star and NFRC.  The labeling requirement would apply to products regardless of their use in commercial or residential construction, however the proposed product definition would normally apply to products used in Part 9 residential builds. Importantly, the labels would not require any kind of minimum performance standard or necessarily indicate compliance with any standards program (though consideration is being given to having the labels display certification logos if the products qualify) – they are for information purposes only. The labels would likely be used to indicate eligibility for future federal rebate programs. Since the labels would be required under the federal Energy Act, they would only be required for products shipped across provincial borders or exported to other countries – products produced and sold in the same province would not need to display the labels unless the province itself required it. Buist mentioned that the goal would be to build a database taking data from all the existing certification programs so manufacturers were not forced to report performance data multiple times in multiple ways to multiple different agencies. He also said it is likely the labels will not use Energy Star’s Energy Rating (ER) metric as a required item, though manufacturers may be able to display it if they wish. NRCan will conduct “pre-consultation” with our industry until September and Buist invited participants to submit questions and comments via email. Buist also addressed the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance Summer Conference in Montreal later that week with the same message.

Questions from the audience after Buist’s presentation focused mainly on the problem of enforcement. Manufacturers are frustrated with additional layers of red tape that legitimate businesses make efforts to comply with only to be undercut by shady operators providing product without accountability for their performance. Buist emphasized that his department does have a mandate to enforce compliance with the Energy Act and compliance officers on staff to do so. However he admitted that they obviously do not have the resources to police all projects. The immediate plan seems to be to rely heavily on the concept that everyone – homeowners, building inspectors, builders – will come to expect the labels to be present and avoid buying unlabeled products.

Buist invited the room to reach out to him or his colleagues at the contacts in the photo opposite with feedback and for more information about their plans.

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