Canada’s National Building Code Unpacked

Making the World a Better Place with Energy-Efficient Buildings

We live in a rapidly changing world in terms of many things, including climate. We all have to do our bit – however we understand that – to make our world a better place. Canada’s National Building Code seeks to influence how we construct our buildings, so they are kinder to our environment.

Canada’s National Building Code in a Nut Shell

We have to take this seriously, because there are penalties if we ignore the rules. We explain the fundamentals of more environmentally-responsible buildings. Canada’s National Building Code sets standards for us to follow.

The overarching goal is to incrementally reduce new building energy consumption by 60%, over the original baseline through progressive improvement. Although individual provinces and territories are responsible for setting their local standards.

Constructing New Buildings to Save on Energy

The building codes in individual provinces and territories set goals for new buildings in order to:

  • Save on utility energy bills, and reduce peak energy demand.
  • Improve the quality and comfort of a building’s indoor environment.

The most cost-effective way to achieve this, is to incorporate energy efficient measures into a building during the design and construction phase. That’s because it would be far more expensive to retrofit the improvements later, especially if they involve the building envelope itself.

Five Key Building Elements in the National Building Code

Canada’s National Building Code places emphasis on the following aspects during building design:

  • Building envelope, including walls, windows, doors, roofing, air infiltration rates, and thermal transmission.
  • Lighting, including reducing lighting power densities, using lighting controls, and making effective use of available daylight.
  • HVAC, including heat recovery, ventilation, pipe and duct insulation, and building automation and control systems.
  • Water heating, including limiting flow rates, maximizing waste-water heat recovery, and minimum performance standards.
  • Electrical systems, including monitoring use, setting limits on conductor voltages, and establishing standards for equipment acquisition.

Obtaining Municipal Permits and Compliance Certificates

It’s important to consider all these aspects during the planning and design stages, because the time will come when a municipal code official arrives on site. You may be able to obtain concessions through prescriptive, trade-off and performance pathways, perhaps.

Meeting the above standards brings a variety of benefits. These include reducing energy consumption, saving on energy bills, reducing peak energy demand, and improving the quality and comfort of building indoor environment. And of course, also doing our bit to alleviate global warming, which is becoming so important.

More Information

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