At the end of last week I wrote about a potentially massive story that would affect every single sysco, fabricator and installer in our industry. This was the news that the European Commission are thinking about scrapping our Window Energy Ratings system in return for a pan-European system. It’s a change guaranteed to bring around massive upheaval for our industry. But exactly could they replace it with?

Universal U-Values?

If they were to ask us what we would be happy using going forward from a WER-less industry, I think most would be happy to use U-Values.

For many years prior to WERs they have been the tried and tested method of measuring energy efficiency. The science and maths behind the method was generally accepted and trusted, and the industry believed, and continues to believe, in it. However what we think and what we’re allowed are two completely different things. And the EC have already made it clear that they like the structure of our current WERs system, and may look to use it as a template for a Europe-wide scheme. So sorry guys, U-Values will remain on the side lines.

WERs v2.0?

If they like our system so much, it’s quite feasible that they could base the new one around the basic parameters of the old one. However according to Phil Brown, author of the article on this issue found on page 96 of the most recent Glass Times magazine, it’s likely that when the current ratings are re-calculated, our windows will be rated down. I’m sure that should this change come about, there will be quite a few out there who will want to have a look at exactly how these calculations work.

But given the EU’s fascination for labels and fancy colours, they could again give energy efficient windows a lettered ratings accompanied by a colour. Long term though I can’t see how that would work. We already know that the only way forward currently is to keep adding +’s to the A rating every time window technology steps up a gear. We’d be left with half a dozen +’s by the time we got to A+60 rated windows!

Brand new scheme?

There is also the possibility that the EC could dream up their own shiny new scheme to slap on every single window in Europe. How that would look is anyone’s guess. A mix of letters and numbers? A percentage? A modified U-Value? The more you look into this, the more effort it looks than appears it to be worth. And what would they gain from it?

A way to slab a label on every single window in the EU? A vanity project to continue to quietly say that this is all worth it? Meddling for the sake of meddling? I’m not sure. The only thing I am sure of myself is that the EU seems intent on enforcing directive after directive on the UK, when we already have regulations and systems in place that work. Yes they may not be perfect, but at least let us have a go at sorting them out.

What the EC seems to be suggesting would be a step back, not a solution. Look at CE marking. A total red-tape farce that has served absolutely not benefit to our industry at all. I’ve not had a single homeowner ask me if our products are CE marked or anything similar. Every time they meddle, it costs us money. Every time they meddle, it creates more work for us. Every time they meddle, they give me one more reason to believe that the EU is a complete waste of time. I have felt no benefit from it, and those who say we’d lose out by not being in the EU are scaremongering.

Anyway, rant over. If anyone else has info on this subject to contribute it would be more than welcome in the comments section below.

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