Overview

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

Energy code guidance

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

Clarifications on specific situations

  • Developments

    Designing a house

    Go to Safety Codes Council for basic information on the permits and inspections process. Contact the local authority as they may provide you with some guidance. You may also contact a professional consultant or an energy advisor to assist you.

    Building additions

    If you are adding space to your existing building, you still need to comply with energy efficiency requirements even if your existing building was built before the requirements came into force.

    You may also use the trade-off path (a way of trading between different requirements in the code) to satisfy energy code requirements.

    Contact your local authority and provide specific details for the scope of work. Other sections of the building code or other safety codes may apply.

    Basement development

    Depending on the scope of the work, you may be required to comply with energy efficiency requirements. Contact your local authority and provide specific details for the scope of work. Other sections of the building code or other safety codes may apply.

  • Renovations

    Secondary suite compliance

    An interior renovation of an existing space to develop a secondary suite may have to comply with energy efficiency requirements. Local authorities may approve compliance based on existing conditions and practicality. Other sections of the building code or other safety codes may apply, contact your local authorities.

    Windows – existing and new

    If you are replacing existing windows, you do not have to meet current energy efficiency requirements. However, you are strongly encouraged to use replacement windows that meet the new standards.

    There are no limits in energy efficiency requirements which restrict the area where new windows are placed. However, if using the energy performance compliance path (as per approved modelling software), there are restrictions on where those windows would be placed. Other requirements in the building code may limit the area of windows.

  • Heating

    Gas fired, forced air furnace

    In new construction, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) should be more than or equal to 92%. For a furnace replacement in an existing house, refer to STANDATA 19-BCI-001 (Application of 9.36. energy efficiency requirements to existing buildings).

    Existing hot water heater

    (Service Water Heater) energy requirements

    For how replacement water heaters fit in with the new energy efficiency requirements, refer to STANDATA 19-BCI-001 (Application of 9.36. energy efficiency requirements to existing buildings).

  • Ventilation

    Designing the ventilation system

    CAN/CSA-F326-M “Residential Mechanical Ventilation Systems” can be used in lieu of the prescriptive requirements in the code.

    Insulation for in-floor heating in a residential basement

    For information on how in-floor heating contributes to energy efficiency, refer to STANDATA 19-BCV-005 (Insulation below a heated floor).

  • Garage insulation

    Attached garages are required to be insulated even if they are not heated.

    An unheated detached garage is not required to be insulated. However, if heated, a detached garage is required to be insulated.

  • Other resources

    Identifying a climate zone for a project

    The climate zones are determined according to heating degree-day (HDD) zones. Appendix C in the NBC (AE) contains climatic data including HDD for major centres throughout the province.

    You may also contact:

    Environment and Climate Change Canada – Government of Canada

    Phone: 416-739-4365

    Email: [email protected].

    Using HOT2000 software

    HOT2000 software suite is an energy simulation and design tool that is used for low-rise residential buildings. To download a free version contact Natural Resources Canada.

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.

  • Performance

    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, calculations usually verified by an approved software although not necessary.

  • 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).

  • Prescriptive

    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

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

NECB and NBC(AE) 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

Contact

Connect with us if you have questions about safety codes:

Safety codes – Contact options

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