Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - November

Volume 3, Issue 11

Update on the National High-Performance Building Challenge

In August, NRCan announced its intention to launch a National High-Performance Building Challenge to encourage progress in Canada’s building sector toward the goal of net-zero energy consumption. This goal is currently out of reach for most of the sector, with only a small number of highly efficient buildings able to achieve it. However, we would like to recognize the efforts of builders and designers who demonstrate significant progress toward this goal, in the hopes that others will follow suit, thus driving innovation and making net-zero energy performance more accessible to the sector overall.

Consultation on high-performance building metrics

Effective comparative performance metrics are a key element of any recognition program. In the spring of 2016, we held a consultation process with industry experts to assess existing high-performance metrics as well as concepts for new metrics we developed for this purpose. Through this process, we hope to develop a standard, recognized and accepted comparative measure of ultra-high energy performance, which could be used by the industry to promote leadership in energy-conscious design.

The final consultation report is available on our FTP (file transfer protocol) site. Contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca for the FTP link and login credentials.

Call for Proposals

We are currently accepting proposals from leading building industry associations and organizations interested in collaborating with us to develop and administer the National High-Performance Building Challenge. Contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca for more information.

British Columbia Institute of Technology’s new High-Performance Building Lab offers students and industry hands-on opportunities

“Our new High-Performance Building lab is a hub for formal and informal hands-on learning and training for students, industry and others interested in efficient building envelopes,” says Andrea Linsky, Program Head in the Centre for Energy Systems Applications at British Columbia Institute of Technology’s (BCIT) School of Construction and the Environment (SoCE).

The High-Performance Building Lab (HPBL) also responds to new requirements for energy-efficient housing and recent changes to the design of small building construction and envelopes. Construction technologists, designers and builders will benefit from the training opportunities to become familiar with emerging building envelope technologies.

The HPBL adds to BCIT SoCE’s existing role in advancing the sustainability of British Columbia’s built environment. Linsky notes that the HPBL is one of three such training grounds in the world. “The lab offers a rare opportunity to be trained in the construction of energy-efficient new and existing buildings.”

The facility, finished in late summer 2016, was funded by in part BC Housing. The HPBL had its origins in discussions between BCIT and industry as well as other stakeholders, which highlighted the need for a hands-on training facility in sustainable construction.

The lab is being used for several educational programs, including the Architectural and Building Technology Diploma, the Bachelor of Architectural Science and the Passive House Tradesperson Training course, and is also open to industry and other stakeholders for rental and custom course development.

Linsky says that the City of Vancouver, for example, has recently provided training for their home inspectors, who will take part in the programs for high-performance building envelopes and associated heating and ventilation systems. Some of the City’s inspectors have already taken part in Passive House training at the HPBL.

Courses in high-performance wood frame building envelopes for designers, technologists, and skilled tradespeople will also be offered. Linsky also foresees programs dedicated to heat recovery ventilation systems associated with high-performance envelopes, including balancing.

The HPBL features a stand-alone, airtight testing hut used for blower door tests, the detection and repair of air leaks, the balancing of residential heat recovery ventilation systems, and other teaching applications. There are also wall practice panels that allow students to practice working with different framing, insulating, taping, and window/door interfaces. In addition, cut-away building envelope models are displayed, and educational signage is present throughout the lab. The lab has integrated presentation and hands-on work space, which helps to facilitate engagement.

Linsky describes the current lab as Phase I of what she sees as an evolving facility in response to building industry needs. “We are happy to talk to anyone interested in high-performance buildings because we want to change future construction to achieve ultra-high energy efficiency.” The lab may also integrate a research component in the future where researchers can explore wall and window assembly solutions for high-performance buildings.  BCIT is happy to welcome industry suggestions for future involvement in the lab.

For the full articles on the HPBL, visit:
High Performance Building Lab
BCIT unveils new lab to train green builders of the future.

Deloitte Tower prepares for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification

Image of Deloitte Tower

The new Deloitte Tower in Montreal’s up-and-coming Quad Windsor neighbourhood is at the vanguard of green design and construction. Building owner Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited also hopes that the tower’s many innovative features will earn it Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Core and Shell certification.

Cadillac Fairview is aiming for a 35 to 40 percent reduction in building energy costs and a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions. The company plans to achieve this goal through its own continuous improvement programs and by requiring tenants, including Deloitte, to pursue LEED Commercial Interiors at the gold or platinum level.

The 52,100-square metre, 28-storey building features a carefully selected curtain wall design and associated glazing. The curtain wall design uses lightly-tinted grey vision glass, which allows maximum daylight to enter the perimeter walls of all office floors and is aesthetically appealing. Architects chose a structural silicone glazed wall curtain system that provides a seamless exterior look and has superior energy performance.

The glazing consists of dual pane insulating glazing units with low-emissivity, grey-coloured coating on the inside surfaces. This type of glazing can efficiently keep heat gain and loss under control.

Attention was also paid to the choice of glass spacers, which had to meet both energy efficiency and aesthetic requirements. Architects found Technoform Glass Insulation (TGI) spacers to be most suitable as they offer minimal heat transfer and maximum protection against inert gas leakage and moisture penetration.

Cadillac Fairview is no stranger to incorporating sustainability into its developments. Its existing nationwide program – Green at Work – ensures the tracking of energy consumption, water usage, and waste diversion at all the company’s properties, and enables the company to achieve continual improvement.

Energy benchmarking would be instrumental in monitoring and tracking the efficiency of the high-performance design features in the Deloitte Tower. In particular, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a valuable tool in energy benchmarking and tracking energy efficiency for new buildings such as the Deloitte Tower.

To read the full article, visit:
Deloitte Tower Uses Energy Efficient Glazing in Quest for LEED Platinum Certification

Canada Green Building Council energy benchmarking training to prepare building owners/managers for regulations

In light of the upcoming regulations in Ontario that will require large building owners/managers to implement energy benchmarking, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) will be offering training in benchmarking strategies. The courses are designed to prepare private and public sector stakeholders for the Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarki ng (EWRB) regulation, which aims to reduce energy consumption by identifying opportunities that can be explored as a result of energy benchmarking. Other jurisdictions, across Canada are also exploring similar initiatives as Ontario’s such as Vancouver and Manitoba, may soon follow suit with their own regulations.

The CaGBC’s Energy Benchmarking and Understanding Ontario’s Mandatory Energy Benchmarking for Large Buildings courses are intended to provide an overview of the general processes for accurate data collection. Participants will also learn how to create a building profile and successfully use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Courses will also include discussion of Ontario’s upcoming EWRB regulation.

Energy benchmarking is a key step in minimizing energy consumption in buildings. By using energy benchmarking tools like ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, building owners and managers can use building energy data to determine and compare building energy performance across their portfolios. This information, in turn, informs strategic investments in operational improvements, technology upgrades and retrofits. Ultimately, benchmarking can lead to energy conservation, emission reductions and financial savings, according to CaGBC President and CEO Thomas Mueller.

NRCan’s resource Why ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager? provides first-time users with details on the use of this free, online software tool. Building owners and managers can also refer to Natural Resources Canada's national building energy benchmarking initiative for tips on energy benchmarking and can peruse the Energy efficiency for existing buildings website for energy efficiency tips.

The CaGBC courses are modelled on similar training courses that were successfully delivered in Chicago. Those energy benchmarking courses were launched to support the city’s Energy Benchmarking Ordinance. CaGBC is promoting a national strategy for energy benchmarking that facilitates the implementation of benchmarking and reporting requirements in Canadian cities and provinces.

Registration is now open for these unique energy benchmarking courses offered by CaGBC. Courses can be taken separately or together, with both webinar and classroom options available. For more information on these courses and to register, visit www.cagbc.org/ebcourses.

For the full articles, visit
CaGBC elevates energy benchmarking training (September 9, 2016)
Canada Green Building Council® supports industry with launch of Energy Benchmarking training. (August 31, 2016)

For details on the proposed regulation, visit: Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking.

To access NRCan’s capacity building resources for benchmarking, please visit our webpage:
Building energy benchmarking resources.

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Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency is published by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and distributed monthly to 16,000 subscribers. Our goal is to deliver meaningful news and information about programs, services and events related to energy efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings and, as well, to share the success stories of organizations that have benefited from positive change. Help us spread the word by sending this link to your colleagues. We encourage you to subscribe to our sister publication that focuses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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