Can 245 changes help Canadians build greener?

Some 245 technical changes have been made to the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings to accommodate new technologies and construction practices that have emerged in Canada over the past 15 years.

“We are working with the provinces and territories to support the adoption of the 2011 Code to reduce energy consumption in buildings and make Canada a global leader in energy-efficient building construction,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “Energy-efficient construction is one of the fastest, greenest and most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases, save money and increase energy security.”

A key characteristic of the Code is its overall performance improvement compared with the 1997 Model National Energy Code for Buildings. The goal was to improve the energy efficiency of the Code’s technical requirements by 25 per cent from the previous version published in 1997.

“In September, our government announced a $78 million investment over the next two years to create jobs in the energy sector and improve energy efficiency through ecoENERGY Efficiency initiatives,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “The Code reflects the changing needs of Canadians and will deliver long-term benefits for both our economy and environment.”

The Energy Code sets the minimum requirements for the design and construction of energy-efficient buildings and covers the building envelope, systems and equipment for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, service water heating, lighting, and the provision of electrical power systems and motors. For example, as lighting in unoccupied interiors is an unnecessary use of energy, the new code requires the installation of automatic lighting controls for many applications. It also requires the installation of heat recovery equipment for most occupancy types (self-contained residential units in some climate zones are exempted) since this produces significant energy savings and minimizes wasted heat.

An important characteristic of the 2011 Code is its flexibility. As with all other national model codes, provinces and territories will be able to adopt the Code as is or make adjustments to suit their particular jurisdictional needs. The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes will offer detailed guidance to those jurisdictions who, for policy reasons, may want to amend the Code.

The 2011 National Energy Code replaces its previous version published in 1997 and was prepared by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) in partnership with the provinces and territories. The update provides model energy efficiency requirements for almost all types of buildings, except smaller buildings and residential housing. Both the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) provided technical support and NRCan supplied funding as part of their commitment to improving the energy efficiency of Canadian buildings through the ecoENERGY initiative.

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