WERS - An A Rated Success

This year is an important year for the glazing industry. Part L 2010 of the Building Regulations comes into force on 1st October and the impact these changes will have on the industry is greater than ever before.

For homeowners when they are replacing their windows, they will be looking to window companies and installers to guide them through these changes as well as recommend which offer the most energy efficient option. Launched by the British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC) in 2004, Window Energy Ratings (WERs) is the UK’s national system for rating the energy efficiency of windows, and makes the process of identifying the most energy efficient window simple. The scheme is recognised within the Building Regulations as a method to show compliance for replacement window installation. The number of windows rated A to E on the BFRC scheme is doubling each year and will further increase as we move through 2010 and beyond. Therefore, with the new Part L regulations and the increased awareness from homeowners  about the importance of energy efficiency in helping save money off fuel bills, registering windows under the WERs scheme is an important differentiator.

The Pilkington energiKare™ range is a range of energy efficient glazing that meets the new Part L 2010 regulations with a WER rating of A, B or C in many frame types. Fabricators and installers who partner with Pilkington to supply the Pilkington energiKare™ range not only benefit from WER rated products but also from an integrated marketing campaign, which includes print and online advertising as well as dedicated websites for both trade customers and consumers.

With demand for energy efficient glazing increasing, the BFRC has expanded its criteria, to make it easier to achieve a WER, to include two routes - one for window fabricators and one for frame manufacturers.

Window fabricators (Licence Holders)

Step 1) Companies should request a BFRC WER approved simulation for each certified window. Details will be required for each design including the certification of the components and the variations allowed.

Step 2) Approach a BFRC approved Independent Agency (IA), such as Build Check Ltd – details available on the BFRC website (www.bfrc.org) to verify the window meets energy efficient standards. A Quality Management System (QMS) Factory Production Control System (FPC) will be taken to show that your product has been made consistently to the required standard and specification and therefore is of good quality.

Step 3) Once the IA confirms the BFRC WER test report matches the factory window it will be recommended for registration. The fabricator will hold accredited test evidence for air leakage and EN1279 part 2 and/or part 3 to cover all designs. The IA will be notified of full details of the range of products and if the evidence belongs to another party, a letter of permission will be arranged stating this evidence may be used in conjunction with the BFRC.

Step 4) The BFRC will then register your window and post the rating on its website. Here your company will be easily found by consumers visiting the site looking for energy efficient rated windows near them.

Step 5) Every year the IA will audit the window to ensure its energy efficiency – therefore verifying the quality of the product and ensuring peace of mind for customers and homeowners that their window will continue to be energy efficient.

Retailers/installers – the Authorised Retailer scheme

This new scheme is perfect for companies who do not want to become Licence Holders but would still like the benefits from selling energy rated windows and the association with the BFRC and its WERs scheme. Any customer of a BFRC ‘Licence Holder’ retailing BFRC rated products to consumers can become an Authorised Retailer by either; purchasing the completed product or purchasing frames from the licence holder and sourcing the appropriate IGU independently.

Those sourcing the appropriate IGU independently will follow the following simple steps:

Step 1) Obtain permission from a Licence Holder to sell a specific unit and become an Authorised Retailer.

Step 2) Obtain written permission from the Licence Holder of the specification of the sealed unit to be fitted into the supplied frame.

Step 3) The Authorised Retailer manufactures the unit to the same specifications set out in the licence which must conform to EN1279.

Step 4) The Authorised Retailer will carry the full responsibility for ensuring the final product is as specified under the original licence and will be audited by the appropriate BFRC auditor.

Step 5) The frame will be given BFRC approval and marked with a WER label – making the unit instantly recognisable to consumers and customers looking for energy efficient windows

There are a number of benefits for the Authorised Retailer under the scheme. Firstly they will have the full use of the BFRC logo and WER logo under a licence agreement. The WER label will contain details of both the Licence Holder and the Authorised Retailer and the BFRC will issue the retailer with an Authorised Retailer Logo. The retailer will be registered on the BFRC website as a supplier of energy rated products and will have the ability under the FENSA scheme to register the product as a FENSA Registered Installer and Authorised Retailer. Nearly 30 per cent of UK homeowners have employed a registered FENSA installer – a scheme demanded by homeowners and local authorities to give them peace of mind when replacing their windows.

In challenging market conditions it is essential to differentiate from the competitors. Increasing the value of your offering to customers and offering energy rated products that adhere to the changes in Part L 2010 is one way to do this. Now is the time to follow the simple steps to rate your windows. With increasing demand thanks to the implementation of Part L 2010, WER products they help save homeowners energy, but more importantly for homeowners it helps save money on their fuel bills too.