Promising times are ahead for our province. Never before in Alberta’s history have we written building codes including energy efficiency requirements. November of last year, Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code and the National Energy Code of Canada, took effect. Our laws are going green.
This is a great first piece of the puzzle. Hopefully, energy efficiency standards will grow in popularity until they are universally implemented. No matter the location, you should be guaranteed some degree of energy efficiency. It’s a small change, but that’s not what concerns us. We will come back from the brink of death by a thousand cuts by mending them, one wound, one stitch at a time. The more green buildings we make, the better our environment will be.
These codes will be raising the bar all around. This means contractors already building green won’t feel the impact as much as the contractors who cut corners using lower quality methods. In other words, if you are already producing energy-efficient buildings, things are about to get much more expensive for your competition. This will also, in time, remove the ability to undercut you by selling cheaper, inefficient structures. Your green buildings are about to become much more marketable.
The new codes deal with many factors in construction, including mechanical systems, electrical systems and building envelope. As a general rule the NECB is concerned with buildings over three stories tall, and Section 9.36 deals with smaller buildings and houses.
Single family homes will have new standards related to the thermal performance for walls, roofs and windows, along with minimum efficiency for furnaces. Basically, it will keep the power bills lower.
All of that is covered by the NECB, along with lighting, other heating and air conditioning, power distribution components and motors, and combined hot water systems.
The requirements provide architects, engineers and designers guidance while also offering them options. There three compliance paths are trade-off, performance modeling, and prescriptive, each with different edges to maintain efficiency.