Manitoba Window industry ready to meet the Environmental/Energy Codes
Written by Al Dueck & Aynsley Dueck, DUXTON Windows & Doors
We live in very interesting times where a rapidly evolving world seems to be facing an unprecedented number of challenges – ranging from environmental problems demanding more energy efficient buildings, new and old to the most recent chaos caused by Covid-19. Clearly, there are elements of such turbulence that are difficult to solve but Manitoba is blessed with at least one industry which continues to be a leader in world class window and door technology. (It is worth emphasizing that there is an independent organization – www.FenestrationManitoba.com – which provides insight into the industry and member companies.) It is the proposition of that industry – which generates some 5,000 direct and indirect jobs – that our province needs to “charge forward”/embrace energy codes such as the Step Code which is already effectively in place several parts of Canada. Sadly, Manitoba has allowed itself to slip from a leadership position to a point where it currently working under very outdated energy legislation dating back to 2015, despite having enormous electrical energy resources to leverage!
For perspective, consider the fact that the Canadian prairies have held a history of being forerunners of the development of highly energy efficient building envelopes going back to the early basis of double stud walls and more basic R2000 systems. In fact, these almost revolutionary building ideas were in fact “re-cycled” in Europe to become the highly promoted Passiv home concepts. The requirements to achieve such higher performance levels in one of the toughest climates in the world also led to a number of technical breakthroughs right here in the Canadian Prairies as forerunners to these more energy efficient homes.
Manitoba and the Prairies were the source of important break throughs such as triple pane glass and pultruded fiberglass window frames in the local manufacturing industry. The Prairies were also the area where air to air heat exchangers were rapidly evolving, allowing for the creation of more air tight and more energy efficient building envelopes. Historically, the demands of the weather was a factor in the successful development of companies such as Loewen Windows in Steinbach – developing window frames and operable windows which easily accommodated high performance triple pane glass. Manitoba was also the home to the creation of thin wall fiberglass pultrusions for windows and doors which were more technically capable of holding heavier, high performance glass while delivering more environmentally friendly components with longer life spans. Its important to note that these types of developments IN Manitoba have led to the creation of thousands of jobs that are important to our economy – many of which are generated by exports to other provinces and countries seeking such high performance technology.
Presently, there are some additional important trends evolving where the Federal government is seeking to implement more cutting-edge Energy Codes which will allow Canada to meet its commitments for the Paris Accord. There are definite opponents to the implementation of these steps but we would like to point out that there are definite advantages to our province and to our future generations. Let’s just consider a few of those elements:
First, Manitoba has a sizeable, historically strong manufacturing industry which is capable of not only meeting those demands and generating more jobs locally in our diversified economy (otherwise at risk from low performance imported products). Fenestration Manitoba members are somewhat uniquely capable of creating a very wide range of superior, high performance windows of various types as well as sliding and swinging door assemblies – in a wide range of frame types, from metal clad wood to vinyl to Pultruded Fiberglass.
Second, past and current generations of Manitobans have demonstrated a desire to create some of the finest and most energy efficient homes in the Canada and the world. We know that in our extreme hot and cold weather patterns we are much wiser to build to higher standards which will benefit our province and future generations. The construction of new homes and the renovation of existing homes and buildings can be accomplished to much higher energy standards within reasonable cost.
Third, the domestic support and development of such industries has a long and rich history of leading to further technological strength and generation of additional exports and jobs. This effect is definitely demonstrated in the lower mainland of BC where Step Code energy implementation has been recognized for generating more advanced technology and more jobs. A combination of forward leaning industry and a more progressive group of government leaders have invested in Passiv and similar high performance buildings, resulting in the development of products which are now being exported elsewhere.
Finally, economic research has for many years demonstrated that it is wiser and more beneficial to make longer term investments. We have witnessed the installation of very low cost fixed and dual pane windows into new homes and home replacement up-dates – originating in some cases from other parts of Canada or areas which have much less demanding weather. Independent research has demonstrated that selecting a high performance suitable building component will not only keep you more comfortable in your home/building/project – but also deliver significantly longer life, less maintenance requirements, less service requirements AND support local industry and generate more jobs and pride in our province!
Request that your window and door products meet at a minimum a triple low e performance level that has been locally made and has been verified by independent testing/national standards. If you need additional information, check the website for Fenestration Manitoba and contact one of those member manufacturers. Remember, those manufacturers have experience building products for one of the most challenging weather conditions in the world and they are based right her in your home province, available for the longer term support to our environmentally challenged world. Consider your children and grand-children and invest in their future!