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Fenestration Forum : December 2009

2010 will be a year of change


January 11, 2010
By Brian Burton

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We are also seeing the emergence of what is called ‘performative’ architecture. This involves establishing long-term building performance.

We’re entering a new decade and it is appropriate that we take a moment to look ahead to the changes – some of them radical – we can expect in the glass industry in 2010 and over the long term.

We are likely to start seeing the impact of the federal government’s Energy Efficiency Act, which became law in May 2009, and Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which is generally viewed as a model that will be adopted by many other provinces in 2010 and beyond. This legislation is so new that the first steps of implementation were only announced at the beginning of October 2009.

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In effect, the government is looking to the fenestration industry – as leaders in the field of energy efficiency – to create innovative and cost-effective solutions that can be utilized by others. The legislation specifically addresses the issue of reducing the cost of manufacturing building envelope products through the use of green energy as well as reducing the amount of heat gain and/or heat loss from the interior of a building using energy-effective windows and doors, reflective glazing, window films and better insulated glass.

One specific element of this legislation that has not received much attention is a clause that will make energy audits mandatory prior to the sale of a house, unless specifically waived by the buyer in writing.
In addition, new standards for qualification for the Energy Star Initiative will take effect later in 2010. Labelling for Energy Star will become mandatory June 1. There will also be a new separate qualification table for doors.

The Energy Star program encourages window and door companies to promote their energy-efficient products in ongoing efforts to reduce energy costs. For more details, visit  www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca.

It is expected that we will see an increase in sales and construction of new homes over the next six months as buyers and builders attempt to beat the added cost this will represent for homes priced above $400,000.

Most experts are also predicting that renovation activity will get a boost from the federal government renovation tax credit and are expecting that interest rates will remain low.

The most dramatic changes in the future of construction and building will be related to our approach to the durability, energy efficiency and sustainability of the built environment.

We will also see dramatic changes in education and training of construction professionals, including window and door installers. There will be an acceleration of the trend towards the “design/build” approach.
Many predict that the increasing complexity of the design, construction and maintenance of buildings will accelerate. We are likely to witness radical changes in the form and function of our buildings – and the materials we use to fabricate them.

We are also seeing the emergence of what is called “performative” architecture. This process involves establishing long-term building performance as the guiding principle of design and construction. This approach is quite different from current practice where esthetics and short-term economics are the primary concerns.

This new approach also involves highly focused interaction between architects, engineers, building scientists and suppliers using computer simulations to design the “built environment.” The fenestration industry has been a leader in this field. Some have suggested that the concept will eventually be included in the building code in some manner.

Performative construction, more education and the use of computers are changes in how we build. The other side of the equation relates to what we build and the materials we will use to build it. This is because the experts claim that about half of the materials we will be using in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. To say that radical changes will occur over the next 10 to 20 years is an understatement!


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