Proving code compliance

If your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) has adopted an energy code or a standard such as the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011, it will want confirmation that your building design complies prior to issuing a building permit. There are three compliance paths available when using the new code: prescriptive, trade-off and performance.

Prescriptive path

This path involves following the prescriptive requirements of each section of the code. Your local building permit office can provide the prescriptive path checklists required for your jurisdiction, which must be submitted with the construction drawings and mechanical specifications as part of your building permit application.

To get an idea of what kind of requirements to expect from a prescriptive path, you can review the general compliance checklists at the end of each section in the User Guide to the National Energy Code for Buildings 2011, which will be available for purchase in December 2013 from the National Research Council Canada's website.

Trade-off path

If you need some flexibility in your design, a trade-off path allows you to trade elements within the same "part" of the energy code. For example, if your design calls for more window area than prescribed by the code, you may be able to compensate by improving the insulation in the building envelope. Natural Resources Canada offers downloadable, bilingual trade-off path calculation tools to assist you with this compliance path.

Performance path

You can also choose to use a performance path. This approach offers the most design flexibility. For the NECB 2011 you must simply demonstrate that the proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to the prescriptive requirements of the NECB 2011. This compliance path requires an hourly building energy simulation tool, such as CAN-QUEST, a specialized software that will be available free in the fall of 2013 from Natural Resources Canada.

Performance path modelling using CAN-QUEST

CAN-QUEST, Natural Resources Canada's newest building energy simulation software, can be used to demonstrate performance path compliance with the NECB 2011. Using measurements from design drawings and specifications, this software will generate a multi-page report that presents all key data and calculated values used to model the building, and includes summary output tables reflecting energy use for lighting, hot water, heating and cooling systems, and ventilation. The software allows you to compare your proposed design to an equivalent (reference) building that is based on the prescriptive requirements of the NECB 2011.

A beta version of CAN-QUEST v1.0 (which includes the NECB 2011 rule set) is planned for the fall of 2013 and will be available as a free download. Contact to obtain a copy.

The software issues a Compliance Report that must be certified by the modeller and project leader, and which can then be used as proof of compliance with the NECB 2011. The CAN-QUEST report will be available in a future release of the software in 2014.

For more information on energy modelling, visit our Building design and modelling page.