Window costs likely to spike after June
The Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code is a title not known by many, but it is something which will affect anyone with a house or business come June 30.
It’s the new energy cost savings for Florida, which resulted after the state updated its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law, and it’s significant.
“We are pulling permits now for our jobs in September and October,” said Kevin Munden, owner of the Sanibel Glass and Mirror Inc. “There is zero information out there about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code and if we don’t have our permits secured by July 1, the price of glass is going up.”
So how much will windows be going up after June 30?
Try a 56-percent increase, due to the addition of insulated windows, which will be triple silver glazed, along with the already required high-impact glass.
“All this goes back eight years, when they passed a law which was going to reduce the consumption of energy in Florida,” said Dennis Chappell, who is Munden’s window contractor with Chappell Sales, L.L.C. “All homes need to get to a certain number in a rating system, which involved air conditioning, insulation, etc. Each one is assigned a number. It is driven by the federal government to help reduce carbon emissions.
“The ultimate goal is getting down to zero energy used in the home.”
The new insulated glass which will be required after June 30, is the highest-priced which can go into windows. The new windows will have a mirror-like look to it, which results from the triple silver glazed glass.
That will be placed on the outside to reflect the sun and heat from entering the house, and goes along with the single high impact glass, which is already required of homes and commercial businesses.
It’s been a code which has been in the making since 2010, but there have been postponements over the years delaying its enactment.
After June 30, all new construction will need to implement the high energy efficient windows, which will force a rise in costs. But new construction is not where the problems will start popping up with the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code.
Even if a window needs to be replaced in a current home or business, it needs to go through the proper permitting process. That means, after June 30, to obtain a permit, the new energy efficient insulated windows will have to be used.
“It makes 100-percent perfect sense for new construction,” Munden said. “But the code also pertains to retro-fitting, meaning changing windows already installed in the house or business. It’s not going to be a cheap thing to change and could mean up to a 25-percent increase in a project.”
For example, if a homeowner is deciding to replace their dozen windows in their home, they will need to replace them with the much more expensive energy efficient insulated ones.
Which leads to another potential lurking problem – illegal installation.
“What this is going to create are illegal installations,” Munden said. “Unlicensed installers don’t have the proper testing, the proper installation and they don’t pull permits.”
If a home or business owner cuts the corner and doesn’t properly obtain the permits to install windows, they will not be covered by insurance companies, which require the documentation before a claim can be settled.
“Now, if we get a hurricane, and those windows are not properly permitted, they will be denied their claim,” Munden added. “Claims will be denied without proper permits.”
The only way to gain the proper permits, again, is to install the new insulated windows required by the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code.
“We are having to give double proposals now, the first being the current price before June 30, and the other estimate post-June 30,” Munden said. “As along as you get your permit before June 30, you are fine.”
There are some leeways the state is giving and that is the code is subject to authority having jurisdiction by the local building department.
Sanibel Building Department’s Harold Law, couldn’t comment about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code, because officials are still learning about it, but he did say June 30 is the current deadline for the enactment of it.
Which, of course with government, that isn’t a certain even.
“The Legislature of Florida went home already and the Builder’s Association submitted a bill to postpone implementation of the code for a year,” said Chappell, who has attended every association meeting about the new code this past year. “It wasn’t voted on and it looked dead. But now, the Governor has called a special session, and there is a possibility this bill could pass. It’s not likely, but a possibility.
“They could extend it one year, if that bill passes. The reality is, though, until the session is over with, we don’t know when the code will be enacted.”
Another big problem which could occur if the code is enacted June 30, deals with condominiums. With condo associations almost always requiring a uniform exterior, when the different windows start being put in, that will upset those rules.
“Sanibel has a couple thousand units and they are stringent on outside appearance of building,” Munden said. “Ninety-percent of them have tinted glass, which is gray in appearance.
“With the new windows, the glass will look entirely different. The state is telling them they can use only one kind of glass. Now, you’ll see all these windows which are going to be gray, and this new glass will be mirrored. It’s going to create a lot of problems with associations, because the glass won’t be matching now.”
With Chappell being Sanibel Glass and Mirror’s window salesman and informing his clients of the change, Munden said he has been preparing for it, when it comes. The permits he has been pulling now for his September and October jobs, can be extended for another six months, so his company should be prepared.
“I just want people to be aware of this,” Munden said. “There isn’t a lot of information out there about it.”
For more about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code, visit www.energycodes.gov/adoption/states/florida.