Certification Comments

Clear Creek Windows offers windows that are “Energy Star” certified. However, in many cases we do not recommend them. Rather, we recommend windows that we refer to as “better than Energy Star”. But don't take our word for it. Here is an excerpt from an article written by one of Canada's most respected manufacturers of high quality PVC windows – windows that I installed 25 years ago and that are still functioning to a very high performance level today.

Written by Christopher Meiorin
for Fenestration Review Magazine
February 24, 2015

I came across a recent online editorial discussing how well recent fenestration labeling is being received by manufacturers, which begged the question "What manufacturers exactly is she referring to....?" Almost without exception, the small shop fabricator makes like a deer in the headlights when the topic of NAFS and fenestration labeling comes up......

…..On the surface, it is easy to see the value in fenestration labeling. It’s all about offering the consumer the most energy-efficient products available for the application. In theory, not a bad idea, however what is lost is how the product performs after it has been installed. No mention is given to how the product is made. No mention of the materials used and how they actually perform in the long run. How they might hold up in our harsh climates.

It’s all about energy modeling and how one product is slightly better than the next, using a rather narrow criteria. Yes, fenestration labeling has brought some value to industry but any of the men and woman I have had the pleasure of associating with over the years made great products long before labeling came into effect.

In fact, the argument can be made that labeling has the potential to decrease how the product performs in the field. Take steel reinforcing out of the window and earn energy points. Narrow down a profile, more points. Use a non-structural spacer and you’re on an energy roll.

Yes, it all looks good on paper but the windows I would make for my own home will work for generations, and the same cannot always be said for energy-efficient windows.....

These comments by Mr. Meiorin are not new. Shortly after the CSA standards for windows and doors were re-written in 1984, I was attending an industry conference. At the time, the research director for one of the most respected window manufacturers in North America (Repla Limited) told me, “Pete, I hate these new CSA standards. All significant requirements related to longevity have been removed. Now, it is just a performance standard for when they are brand new. Nothing about how they perform 5 years from now. Sometimes I feel that if I could figure out a way to make a window out of chicken feathers and get it to last long enough to get through the test lab next week, I could get it certified.”

Even within the Energy Star rating system, there is a significant issue that may lead consumers to order a window that increases rather than decreases the energy consumption in their homes.

In all climatic zones within Canada, Energy Star for windows looks only at heating costs. It assumes nobody air conditions. Yet the majority of the homes we supply are air conditioned in the summer. Assuming no air conditioning in these cases is sort of like assuming the world is flat. If you assume the world is flat, the navigation decisions you make when navigating your ship are likely to produce an incorrect outcome. Similarly, if you assume no air conditioning costs when calculating your energy consumption, your cost model is likely to produce an incorrect outcome.

In fact, if you do not air condition now and replace your current windows with “Energy Star” rated windows, you may actually create a situation where you have to add air conditioning to your home to be comfortable.

See our Low E write-up for more on this point.

Peter Walker