Residential builders seek affordable, time-saving solutions
All Weather Windows’ attic hatch in line to meet home efficiency demands
As building code, consumer demand, and in many cases builder leadership, propel the residential building industry towards producing more efficient homes in a constricted market, affordable, sustainable building solutions are highly sought after.
Canada’s largest privately owned window and door manufacturer, All Weather Windows, has spent 40 years in the industry, striving to offer innovative solutions to issues contractors, builders, and homeowners face. With their new attic hatch, they offer a product that increases the efficiency of both the build process and the home itself.
One of All Weather Windows’ homebuilder clients came to them looking to get around an obstacle in their path to achieving net zero—meaning the amount of energy the home uses is equal to the amount of renewable energy it produces. The homebuilder’s framers had been building their own hatches, leading to longer turnaround times and higher costs. Also, the hatch wasn’t airtight, allowing heat to escape, effectively reducing the home’s energy efficiency, and moreover, the aluminum-framed hatches enabled heat transfer, reducing efficiency further.
The All Weather Windows’ research and development teams worked to provide a solution, and then took it a step further by including recycled materials: the fiberglass door cut-outs that had previously been destined for the landfill provided All Weather Windows with an economical solution, which allowed them to reduce their environmental footprint.
To meet air tightness requirements, the hatch includes weather stripping, and the one-piece design provides both improved aesthetics and greater ease of installation, while it provides R40 to R60 insulation value. The result is a pre-finished energy efficient product that saves builders time and money.
Building code has been ushering in more air-tight homes for some time, and with 9.36 of the building code that mandates a minimum energy efficiency standard for all new homes, everyone has to look at more air-tight, efficient designs.
All Weather Windows’ Product Manager, Matt Taylor, expands on this: “Building code has resulted in homes that are extremely air tight. This means that there is an opportunity for cold dry air inside attic spaces to meet the warm, humidified air of main living spaces. If this happens, it creates condensation, which can damage ceilings and walls. For this reason, it is very important for contractors to be using a high quality, properly engineered attic hatch.”
With increased air tightness there must also be proper ventilation—a holistic approach to sustainable building enables builders to produce a more efficient home that’s also more healthy and comfortable to live in. All Weather Windows’ work aligns with that of organizations like Built Green Canada, which offers third-party home certification programs that guide builders towards a number of sustainable options—like those All Weather Windows provides—through seven key areas of sustainable building.
A focus that incorporates energy efficiency, Built Green then goes beyond energy to address factors like air quality, ventilation, and water conservation: with a view that the home works as a system, or a sum of its parts, Built Green’s programs help builders navigate advanced building technologies and avoid the downfalls that can come with progressing one piece of the home without the next—as in the case Matt Taylor points out, air tightness to progress energy efficiency without ventilation to promote air quality and moisture control.
Built Green’s programs encourage builders to look at materials and methods, including weather-stripped and insulated attic hatches—such as All Weather Windows’ pre-fabricated model.