March 2021

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Vinyl casement windows and patio doors. High-performance fibreglass window walls. M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 33 Residential Windows P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E SY W E S T EC K W I N D OWS; C A S C A D I A W I N D OWS & D O O R S Code changes and high-tech developments are taking the world of windows to new heights by STACEY MCLACHLAN T hough a pandemic, dramatic code changes, and ever-changing consumer tastes have thrown some real challenges at the window industry lately, technology and innovation always seem to save the day. This year, the world of windows is bringing products that are ultra efficient, effortlessly functional, and beautifully striking. There have been so many changes around energy perfor- mance recently, that the industry is scrambling to keep up. "It's challenging right now," says Terry Adamson, Westeck Windows' technical director and president of Fenestration Canada. As jurisdictions across North America continue to introduce more stringent code requirements, the window industry has stepped up to keep pace, which means predictions for the future of windows are all about efficiency. "I think window industry trends over the next few years will continue to revolve around energy performance to help address the performance of build- ings and the associated impact on the environment," says Michael Bousfield, technical director for Cascadia Windows & Doors. Any visual trends will be secondary to performance. "I think a lot of design conversations are going to start with performance and then move to function and esthetics from there, whereas maybe in the past, performance was an afterthought," says Bousfield. The name of the game now is looking beyond the current code to future-proof for whatever comes next. "More has changed in the last five years than the last 30 years," says Adamson. He predicts that triple-glazing will be the next big thing: a triple pane-sealed unit possibly using a thinner piece of glass in the middle, which may help to minimize weights. Vacuum-glazing is a buzzy topic for the industry right now, too, but looks to be years away for residential applica- tions, while companies like Westeck are now offering krypton-gas-filled dual and triple units replacing standard argon gas to meet performance targets. And looking forward, it's clear that the retrofitting of existing buildings to meet new codes is sure to throw a wrench into things soon enough. "We're keep- ing a close eye on this area of the industry," says Bousfield. "With so many aging buildings out there, using so much energy for things like heating and cooling, it's a problem we're going to have to find solutions for." Cascadia is already looking at streamlining retrofits of high-rises with its punched, strip, and window wall products, which are all built on the same technology platform and feature similar install detailing. With this product set, engineers don't have to adapt multiple installation methods to an existing building – one smart way to keep costs down and streamline construction. FUNCTION FIRST Architects' interest in sustainability goes beyond the R-value these days, Bousfield notes. "We're finding architects are increasingly interested in detailed information about the sustainability of products," he says. "Everything from materials used in manufacturing and expected lifespan, to the carbon footprint of raw materials and end-of-life recycling." Similarly, homeowners are more curious than ever about performance, and not just available colours and maintenance. "They're asking, 'Can better windows lower my heating costs? Can different coatings help with keeping my kitchen cooler?'" Bousfield says. Windows impact their day-to-day life: no won- der they want to know just how those products will affect their thermal comfort. And when it comes to the architects: "Above all, they want verified performance data," Bousfield says. "With new code requirements like the BC Step Code, archi- tects and builders need performance data readily available so they can enter it into their energy models and understand the overall performance of a building." Cascadia's new high-performance fibreglass window walls for high-rise projects are 100 percent more thermally efficient than traditional aluminum. A typical double-glazed window jumps from an R-2 to R-4, with opaque areas of the window wall reaching up to R-19 in some places, which means architects are able to deliver lots of light and great views, while still adhering to energy codes. Panes With Power

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