April 1, 2014
Windows and doors are some of the most important components of the building envelope. One could even say that they are the most important component, since heat lost through windows is often as much as heat loss through walls and roof combined.
When buying a new house or renovating an existing one, choosing windows and doors is a big decision, one that will have a considerable effect on the energy-efficiency and comfort of your home.
In Canada the r-value – or “resistance value” – is often still used. It measures how resistant a product is against thermal flow. Usually these values are given at centre of glass, which is always higher (higher values are better) than the value for the entire window, including the frame.
Officially, Canada now uses the u-factor (heat transfer coefficient – lower values are better). This value is not just based on the centre of glass, but on the entire window including the frame. Here, too, one cannot simply rely on the value to determine the performance of the window unit, because, like the r-value, the u-factor does not take into consideration air and water tightness. A simple sliding window with a small frame and good glass can achieve good results in the lab, whereas in real life the same window might leak air and water. A tilt & turn window that is equipped with multi-point locking hardware, on the other hand, seals tightly all around performing better when installed, yet does not achieve significantly better results with the same glass in the lab. Most tilt & turn windows have a deeper frame and can accommodate triple glazed IG units with larger air spaces, which do make a significant difference in the u-factor and real efficiency.
Thanks to their thermal performance, tilt & turn windows are the standard for windows in Europe and Asia, and are gaining popularity in North America. Increased demand has resulted in more and more companies fabricating tilt & turn windows themselves, or importing them for sale.
While tilt & turn window and door systems are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions by forming a barrier against wind, rain and cold, it is important to be aware that not all tilt & turn windows are created equal.
While many companies advertise “German Technology” and “German Engineering”, this does not mean that the windows – or their components – are actually made in Germany, just that the tilt & turn technology originated there. Many windows and/or components are made in other European or Asian countries, where labour and materials are cheaper, and environmental regulations are laxer, resulting in a cheaper final product. In addition, costs are reduced where possible, for instance by using fewer locking points. Even if the windows and/or components are in fact made in Germany, it is very possible that they are not approved for sale on the Canadian market, since German – as well as other European and Asian – profiles often still contain heavy metals such as lead or cadmium, which is not allowed in North America. Differences in construction style, structural and wind loads, egress requirements, and even something as simple as insect screen availability, also must be taken into consideration, which is all too easily forgotten when importing windows from abroad.
All windows that are sold in Canada must comply with Canadian regulations. It is not only illegal to sell imported windows that do not meet these regulations, but it is equally as illegal to purchase these windows. A person who sells a house with windows that do not comply with these regulations may be sued by the new owners.
EuroLine products are manufactured in Delta, B.C. We use German multi-point locking hardware from Roto Frank, the inventor of the tilt & turn system, and profiles from REHAU, most of which are extruded right here in Canada. Profiles for our 4700-series ThermoPlus® are extruded in Germany, but do not contain any lead or cadmium. Our windows and doors are tested to ASTM and NAFS standards, are NFRC certified for thermal performance, and are Energy Star rated. Because your security and comfort are important to us, we sell our windows the way we test them: with the maximum possible number of locking points and roll-formed galvanized steel reinforcement all around.