Windows – The Key to Energy Efficiency

Good windows are key to energy efficiency.  Period.  Until the day we all get smart and actually concede that performance trumps appearance, we will continue building houses that push the limits on glazing area.  When we build walls with an approximate thermal resistance of R20, roofs and ceilings with values between R28 and R40, the R1 value of a low end window really stands out.  Especially when glazing areas are 15% and upwards.  Moving to a high performance window with a thermal resistance around R6 coupled with the various performance enhancing coatings and glazing units can result in a staggering difference in energy efficiency.

The trouble with buying windows is that for most people they look relatively the same. And ‘pretty’ doesn’t necessarily translate into quality or performance.  Even more challenging is that shopping for windows is much like buying a car.  Every dealer has their own brands with their own specs, and each one is happy to tell you why their product is superior vs. the next guy.

If you aren’t a building science nerd, the hard line comparisons can be daunting.

One valuable resource I can recommend is Complete Windows in Parksville.  These guys are one of the only places around with a full showroom of windows you can touch and feel, and with multiple different manufacturer’s available.  Complete Windows are dealers of Vinyltek, Milgard, Marvin, Innotech and Western Windows amongst others. These are all quality windows that are worth a look for your next project.

Next time you are driving through Parksville, stop in and see Eric.

Renovating? Check your water service

Here is a simple tip to avoid unexpected cost overruns in your next renovation:  Check the size of your water service line connecting the city supply to your house.  The size of your water service is determined by the number of ‘fixture units’ in the house.  Fixture units are the number of toilets, sinks, washing machines etc., each with a weighted value. The aggregate of this weighted value correlates to a minimum service size which most municipalities enforce.  Chances are, if you have an older home and are looking to add additional fixture units during a renovation, your current water service may be rendered inadequate, resulting in a required upgrade being a condition of your building permit.

Too many times we have seen Clients go way over their renovation budget due to an ‘unforeseen expense’ as the ‘City made them upgrade their water line’.

Most municipalities have a published formula you can use to determine the number of fixture units currently in your home, and what your post renovation totals will be.  It only takes a few minutes to see whether a water service upgrade is in the cards before you get caught off guard.

Here is an example fixture calcuation from the City of Victoria:  Fixture Hydraulic Load Calculation for Water Service Pipe