Useful standards for testing the physical performance of windows have been developed over many years, culminating in the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). This standard was first published in 2005, with new editions available in 2008 and 2011.
Accessibility and barrier-free design notwithstanding, the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), referenced in the 2010 National Building Code of Canada (NBC), sets different operating force limits for standard CW and AW Performance Class windows. There are inherent differences between window types.
Accessibility to fresh air and a connection to the outdoors for those with physical disabilities are especially important in skilled nursing and personal care facilities, multi-family dwellings, and hotels, along with classrooms and dormitories. To help ensure this access, windows capable of meeting operating force and motion requirements of International Code Council/American National Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI) A117.1, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, are being more commonly specified in the United States. This trend can be expected to expand into Canada.
The trend to maximize the harnessing of natural daylight combined with environmentally responsible artificial lighting is increasing use of glass within interior spaces since it allows light to spread throughout the building. Glass also has the added benefit of providing clear vision between spaces, creating a sense of openness, connectivity, and security. However, what about separations or partitions that must meet fire-rated requirements?
Ask most facility managers about birds and they probably think about pigeons nesting on air-conditioning units or Canada geese fouling walkways. However, most species also contribute to insect control, habitat-regenerating seed dispersal, as well as spring song and bright colours.
Canada’s climate is one of the more diverse on the planet. It varies based on geography, ranging from long, cold winters and sunless days in the Far North to four distinct seasons along the U.S. border, and typically mild winters in the B.C. Lower Mainland. Temperatures can climb to more than 40 C (104 F) in the summer and drop below –50 C (–58 F) in the winter.
Of all the components of a building enclosure, windows can have the greatest impact on energy consumption. This can be disproportionate to the area of the enclosure the windows cover. Therefore, it is important architects and specifiers are aware of the significant impact of windows on the overall building enclosure’s thermal performance when designing, evaluating, and selecting enclosure assemblies for new buildings and retrofit projects.
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