Improving energy efficiency standards for building construction codes supports greenhouse gas emissions reduction and reduces the demand on Alberta's energy resources.

Guidance for energy codes

Municipal Affairs has developed a user guide for section 9.36. of the Alberta Building Code (ABC) 2014 in consultation with municipalities, industry and safety codes officers. This information is designed to assist code users for compliance with both prescriptive and performance paths under section 9.36.

It provides code users with key considerations for submitting permit applications to the authority having jurisdiction, samples of a project summary and trade off calculations, clarification of code requirements for airtightness and checklists for energy code compliance under section 9.36. of the ABC.

The following information is related to the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB).

Detailed information on energy codes:

Building components

The energy codes will deal with the following building components:

  • building envelope – the separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building, comprising of its exterior walls, roof, foundation and slab-on-ground
  • lighting – includes interior and exterior lighting components and systems connected to the buildings electrical service
  • HVAC – heating, ventilating and air conditioning covers items such as ducting and piping, controls, ventilation and related equipment
  • service water heating – systems used for the supply of water for purposes other than space heating

Build approaches

Whether considering a large commercial complex or a single-family house, you will have several approaches to select from to suit the needs of the budget, location and the owner.


The expected energy performance characteristics for the building are met using a design prepared by a qualified professional. This approach offers the greatest possible design flexibility while still meeting energy efficiency goals.

Performance using simple trade-off

The expected energy performance characteristics for the various building elements are met. However, within each building element (for example, exterior fenestration), it is possible to 'trade-off' increased performance in one element for reduced performance in another (for example, increase wall insulation to allow more less efficient windows). The builder can do this without needing to engage a professional designer.


The expected energy performance characteristics for the various building elements are met by following the prescribed approach set out in the code. For example, following the prescribed level of thermal insulation and amount of windows for the region where the building is to be constructed.


Examples of increased energy efficiency requirements in Alberta's safety codes.

NECB and ABC for houses and small buildings

Energy efficiency requirements for:

  • lighting
  • building envelope
  • insulation
  • windows
  • heating
  • ventilation and air conditioning
  • service water heating in buildings and housing

Gas code

Regulations for conversion of vehicles have been expanded to include such alternative fuels as compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas. This will help reduce carbon footprint and improve emissions for vehicles.

There is improved enforcement for certification of existing and new equipment and appliances in the oil and gas sectors, resulting in improved efficiency and carbon footprint reduction.

Elevating devices code

Improved energy efficiency of elevating systems puts previously unused power back into the system for other functions that results in 70% or greater energy efficiency savings.

Electrical codes

Updated electrical codes for renewable energy systems, including:

  • fuel cell systems – fuel cells create electrical electricity from a chemical reaction
  • wind systems – energy harvested by wind turbines and converted to electrical energy
  • hydrokinetic systems – energy gathered from the flow of water (hydro dams, tidal)

Boilers and pressure vessels codes

Boilers and pressure vessels codes, used for containers designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially different from the outside temperature, are undergoing innovative changes in design for energy efficiency.

Oil refineries, mining operations, petrochemical plants, refrigeration units, power generation, storage of liquefied gases and many other applications are using clean-burning fuel, extraction processes, waste heat recovery or recycling. Alberta is one of the world's largest manufacturers of pressure vessels for use in Alberta and world export.


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