The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) unveiled the first phase of its Zero Carbon Buildings Initiative, which will ultimately result in the launch of a Zero Carbon Building Standard in spring 2017.
New framework to assess highly energy efficient buildings that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the first stage in the move to advance lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings that support Canada’s efforts to reduce GHGs by 30 per cent by 2030.
The Zero Carbon Buildings Framework provides a clear definition for zero carbon buildings and establishes five key components for the evaluation of building carbon footprints:
- A greenhouse gas intensity metric for assessing a building’s emissions, calculated using regional emissions factors.
- Energy intensity metrics to incentivize the design of highly efficient, reliable and resilient buildings.
- A peak energy demand metric to encourage the use of “peak shaving” measures.
- An embodied carbon metric to recognize the importance of building material lifecycle impacts.
- A requirement that renewable energy be generated on-site or procured directly in order to ensure the addition of clean power generation.
“Our focus on carbon emissions as opposed to energy in this framework flows from the increasing urgency to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings,” said CaGBC President Thomas Mueller. “By embarking on this important initiative, the CaGBC is providing the market with a state-of -the-art guideline and, soon, the third-party verification and support required to make net zero carbon buildings a reality in the near future.”
The next phases of the Zero Carbon Initiative include the identification of specific pathways to zero carbon, a zero carbon building pilot program and then the development of a verification program.
The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College is Canada’s first pilot project. This collaboration will provide insight from the application of the framework and help determine requirements for the verification of performance.
An executive summary of the framework is now available to the public. Interested parties who would like to offer feedback can contact Mark Hutchinson, vice-president of the Green Building Programs for CaGBC.