ER Ratings: Are Your Windows Good Enough for Wintry Winnipeg?

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One of the biggest things we preach to homeowners is the importance of doing some research prior to your window replacement consultation appointment. But just how much information do you need to know?

If you’re like most customers you probably won’t care about the details and little things involved in your installation. You just want the job to be done right. And while pretty much every company out there will tell you that their windows are the best, there has to be a way of holding them accountable to some standard.

In fact, in Canada, the government goes to great lengths to protect the interests of consumers and make sure they are getting quality windows with accreditation. The Natural Resources Canada website is a great place to begin learning about what good windows are made of, and how they should be installed. It features a lot of in-depth information and guides on properly choosing products and the right people to install them.

To unify and make their standards consistent, NRCan utilises the Energy Star rating system for evaluating window performance and efficiency. Energy Star, in turn, relies on the ER number calculations to give energy-efficient windows a quantitative rating.

As of January 2020, homeowners no longer have to consider a Climate zone when shopping for windows that are ENERGY STAR® certified in a particular area. A product in Canada is either ENERGY STAR® certified or not, with a single standard applied nationwide.

But despite a single climate zone, your new replacement windows should possess specific properties to be recognised as energy efficient and hence Energy Star-rated, with the most critical factor being Energy Rating (ER).

Thus, if you are looking to purchase windows in Winnipeg, you should be looking at something with a minimum ER rating of 34 to make sure that these windows meet the Canadian government fenestration standards.

An ER rating of replacement windows is calculated on three factors:

  • U-Factor: The U-Factor shows how well a window stops heat from escaping your home. A lower U-Factor means better insulation and higher energy efficiency, crucial for preserving a comfortable indoor climate and reducing heating costs, especially in colder climates.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): SHGC indicates the amount of solar radiation that enters through a window. It is a scale from 0 to 1; replacement windows with a higher SHGC collect more solar heat. Knowing about your window’s SHGC helps choose the right windows based on climate control needs. A higher SHGC is beneficial for leveraging solar heat to warm interiors in cooler climates. On the other hand, a lower SHGC is preferable in regions with warmer weather conditions to reduce cooling demands.
  • Air Tightness: Window’s air tightness refers to preventing air infiltration through the window seals, occurring when there are gaps or low-quality seals in the window installation. High air tightness in windows is vital for energy efficiency. It prevents unwanted heat loss during cold seasons and heat gains during warm seasons, providing the consistent indoor temperatures and lower energy bills.

Make sure to ask about Energy Star ratings in your consultation, to see how different Winnipeg companies windows compare across the board. In general Energy Star compliant windows share most of these features:

  • double- or triple-glazing, with a sealed insulating glass unit
  • low-E coating on the glass
  • An inert gas, such as argon or krypton, in the sealed unit
  • low-conductivity or “warm edge” spacer bars
  • insulated frames, sashes and door cores

Learn more about replacement windows:
Find out how much a project usually costs
See our full lineup of window styles
Read about the importance of correct installation

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