Clearing Up The 5th Edition Florida Energy Code For 2015
The New 5th Edition Florida Energy Code went into effect on June 30, 2015. Lets take a look at what that means for a South West Florida property owner.
The Florida Energy Code effects quite a few parts of a commercial and residential structure. Some examples are heating, air conditioning, electrical, lighting, and fenestration. Fenestration is defined as “the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building”. Now that windows and doors are on the list, it makes an already complicated subject even more complicated for most consumers. This article will clear up confusion and give you a basic understanding of the new Florida Energy Code when purchasing new windows and doors.
The International Energy Conservation Code was the parent for the New Florida Energy Code
The United States Department of Energy has estimated that the Florida residential sector will save nearly $730 million by 2030. This New Energy Code will effect new constuction and remodels of commercial and residential structures of all types. Replacing any old or broken windows or doors will require you to replace them with products that meet the new required U-values.
What is U-Value?
U-values measure how effective a material is as an insulator. The lower the U-value is, the better the material is as a heat insulator. A window or door that has a lower u-value will help separate temperatures differences from the interior and exterior with a lower amount of heat transfer. That’s a great way to help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The use of insulated glass filled with argon gas will lower those U-values nicely. Argon is a colorless and odorless gas that is more dense than air and will further reduce heat transfer over standard air. However there is another angle that aids in heat transfer from outside to inside, Solar Heat Gain, especially here in Florida.
What is Solar Heat Gain?
Solar Heat Gain is the increase in temperature in a space, object or structure that results from solar radiation. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC is expressed in numerical value between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the more more Solar Heat it can block. Blocking the Solar Heat is an important part of Energy Conservation here in Florida, and a Low-E coating will be your best weapon. Low-e is a microscopic coating of silver or tin oxide that has been developed to minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is let in.
What are the new requirements?
Florida has been split up into two zones. Zone 1 is the Southern part of Florida, and zone 2 is the northern part of Florida. The below graphic shows the old map and the new map side by side with the two different zones marked out.
In Zone 1, the requirements for SHGC are .25 and lower. The U-Value has two different options. If the glass is also Hurricane Protection or Laminated Glass, the U-Value has to be .75 or lower. If the glass is standard non impact, the U-Value will need to be .65 or lower.
In Zone 2, the requirements for SHGC is also .25 and lower. The U-Value still has two different options. If the glass is also Hurricane Protection or Laminated Glass, the U-Value has to be .65 or lower. If the glass is standard non impact, the U-Value will need to be .50 or lower.
Two different ways to calculate values in remodel VS. new construction
When your replacing older inefficient windows and doors, the Prescriptive method must be used. This is as simple as choosing a product that meets or exceeds the minimum values for your zone and glass type as listed above. If your building a new structure, there is a little more wiggle room in the way the values are calculated. The Performance method is having an energy expert calculate the entire structure and it’s systems to come up with an average for the entire structure and meet or exceed the values set by the New Energy Code.
How do I know if my current windows meet the New Code?
Manufactures provide a label indicating Energy Performance to review. Some manufactures also will etch these figures in the corner of the glass somewhere. If you don’t have the label and there is no etching, most likely your windows are out of date and will need replacing.
We hope this helps explain the New Florida Energy Code and feel free to call us at 239-325-3400 for more information or questions. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help educate you.