Province hammers out energy efficiencies in new buildings
Starting next month, new buildings in Alberta will be more energy efficient and they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cost less to run.
The Government of Alberta has updated or adopted seven new codes, including building, energy, electrical, elevating devices, gas, pressure vessels and private sewage. All of these codes include energy-efficiency improvements to help the province reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions.
“A more energy efficient home is a comfortable home, one that keeps the heat in, the cold out and money in your pocket. These new requirements will ensure that Alberta continues to be a leader in the fight against climate change and a competitor in the carbon-constrained economy.”
Emissions from Alberta houses and buildings were responsible for 19 megatonnes, or about seven per cent, of Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. These code changes support the province’s Climate Leadership Plan by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating more modern and efficient homes and businesses.
“These changes to the building code ensure that the amount of energy used by homeowners and businesses will be permanently reduced and the savings will continue into the future. This is good for the environment and good for anyone who pays for electricity.”
The updated codes include energy efficiency requirements for windows, lighting, building envelope, insulation, heating, service-water heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.
Depending on the house design, the National Research Council of Canada estimates that switching to energy-efficient windows can save homeowners up to 18 per cent on heating costs. This is because energy-efficient windows are better insulated and reduce or eliminate condensation on the interior surface of a window.
“CHBA members are leaders in innovation, with many already meeting and exceeding these new standards. With industry staying at the forefront of new technology, Albertans can be assured the new home they purchase will be increasingly energy efficient. We look forward to continued innovation, while ensuring homes remain affordable.”
The codes also apply to all other new buildings, including commercial, industrial and high-rise buildings. They allow for the safe use of new technologies that reduce energy waste and combat climate change. For example, elevator devices codes now allow for variable speed escalators and moving walks. When the demand or traffic is not present, the device senses this and will slow down to a neutral speed with minimum energy use.
“It’s great to see building code finally stepping up to address energy efficiency. When you build smart everyone wins. Building responsibly and sustainably isn’t a trend — it’s the future. We all have to work together and do our part to make a difference on climate change and make it right.”
Starting Nov. 1, all new homes and buildings in Alberta must be built to meet or exceed the updated codes. Alberta’s Safety Codes Council has been providing training to inspectors across the province to help them transition to the new codes.
“The new energy codes are an important step forward for Albertans, and the Safety Codes Council is proud to support them. The Council’s training on the energy codes will help safety codes officers inspect new homes and businesses to these new standards.”
These codes align Alberta with energy-efficiency standards across the country and position Alberta to be at the forefront of energy efficiency in Canada.