Understanding the residential window standards that Canadian manufacturers must meet.

Manufacturers that provide residential windows in Canada work in a competitive market. In order to set themselves apart, it’s important to look closely at current industry standards and make sure the finished products measure up. While there’s a good chance that any

Homestars approved Mississauga windows company would comply with those standards, it helps to know exactly what qualities those windows must possess. Here is some basic information that will help.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) A440.2 Standard

Now known as the CSA Group, the former Canadian Standards Association has a history reaching back to 1919. At that time, it was known as the Canadian Engineering Standards Association. Accredited by the crown corporation known as the Standards Council of Canada, the CSA Group is responsible for setting standards in over 57 areas of manufacturing. That includes the manufacturing of new residential windows.

The current CSA Group A440.2 Standard for residential windows evaluates the following factors:

  • The U-Factor: this refers to the rate of heat transfer from warm to cold areas. The rate is measured in watts per square metre Kelvin (W/m2K.) In some parts of the country, the U-Factor is determined in British thermal units per hour per square foot Fahrenheit (Btu/h x sq. ft. x °F.)
    With either approach, the goal is to achieve a low number. A lower U-factor indicates that the window is more energy efficient than windows with higher U-factors.
  • The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): this is a ratio that evaluates the relationship between the heat of the sun and how much of that heat can pass through the window glass. Ideally, the SHGC is higher, since that indicates the glass is capable of limiting the amount of heat transference.
  • The Energy Rating (ER): this requires identifying the relationship between the U-Factor, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and the amount of air leakage found around the sashes and the frame. While this applies to windows, the same approach is applied to both interior and exterior doors.
  • The R-value: is another measurement that has to do with the amount of resistance to heat transfer. It’s calculated slightly differently from the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. To determine the R-value, it’s necessary to determine the amount of heat transfer per square foot per hour. The result is most often presented in Fahrenheit rather than Centigrade. As with the SHGC, a higher number indicates that the window is more efficient.

Other Ratings to Consider

Along with the CSA Group, other organizations are recognized as providing valuable guidelines for window and other manufacturers. These include Intertek Testing Services, Labtest Certifications, and the Quality Auditing Institute Ltd. Of particular interest is the National Fenestration Rating Council. While based in the United States, the ratings established by the Council do have some influence over standards for windows manufactured in Canada. Here are some of the factors that are considered and rated by these organizations:

  • The Visible Transmittance: this is a means of measuring the amount of light that passes through the window glass. A higher measurement indicates greater visibility.
  • The Centre-of-glass Rating: also related to energy efficiency, this has to do with the durability and overall quality of the glass used in the window design. Clarity, heat and cold resistance, and durability help to determine this rating.
  • Air Tightness: this element focuses on the amount of air leakage found between sashes and at the points where the window frame fit into the window proper. A scale ranging from a rating of A1 to A3 identifies how tight the window happens to be. A lower rating indicates more air leakage while a higher one indicates the window is tighter.
  • Water Tightness: this scale is designed to determine how much precipitation the windows is capable of blocking from entry into the home. A rating of B1 indicates the window is less effective for blocking precipitation. By contrast, a rating of B7 confirms the window is highly efficient in blocking precipitation.
  • Wind Load Strength: this rating has to do with wind resistance and the potential for wind shattering the glass. Using a scale of C1 to C5, a higher rating indicates greater resistance.
  • Forced Entry: this scale is designed to measure how well the window glass would hold up to attempts to shatter the glass for the purpose of entering the home. A rating of F1 indicates that the glass does offer minimal resistance. A rating of F2 confirms that the glass is more resistant to forced breakage and therefore a more secure choice.

Combined, these standards provide the basis for designing and producing windows capable of complying with federal and provincial safety standards. They also provide the manufacturer with more information to use when seeking to attract window installers who will recommend their products.