CEO Letter – November

Passive House Canada CEO Chris Ballard

The National Model Codes: A Call for Action

Hello everyone,

We’re at a pivotal moment where the 2020 National Model Codes are up for review, tackling key issues like building retrofit enhancements, greenhouse gas reductions, and improvements in airtightness, along with better insulation practices. It’s a crucial time, and we at Passive House Canada are gearing up to submit our thoughts. I encourage you to join in and amplify the impact of our Passive House community across the nation. Your input is valuable, and together, we can shape the future of building standards. Add your voice to the review. We’ll post our submission as soon as we can.

Insights from the Building Performance Standards Symposium

Several officials from the City of Toronto were in attendance as Toronto in October 2023 amended and adopted its Updated Net Zero Buildings Strategy to include building performance standards for existing buildings. The council also directed staff to work with Toronto Hydro on its development, embed tenant protections against renovation-related rent hikes and evictions, and seek federal backing for local financing of building improvements.

This move underscores the city’s commitment to reducing emissions from existing structures, enhancing the health and comfort of its buildings, and setting a national example for climate action. The City is looking for commercial buildings over 600 square meters to report on emissions, energy, and water usage, with plans to expand the requirement to smaller buildings.

Vancouver Standards Start in 2024

Vancouver has also pioneered an approach that could serve as a model for others, with requirements for commercial buildings to report energy and carbon usage starting in 2024, expanding to include smaller buildings in the following year. By 2026, they will introduce limits on carbon emissions, aligning with an ambitious goal of zero emissions from commercial and multi-family buildings by 2040. Non-compliance will carry financial implications, prompting building owners to adopt more sustainable practices.

The Importance of Performance Standards in Our Journey

The role of performance standards in reducing emissions is clear, and it’s a strategy that can have far-reaching effects, including supporting Passive House standards. With the right incentives, we can encourage government and building owners to adopt these standards, leading to significant emissions reductions. Owners or representatives of buildings in Ontario that are 50,000 square feet or larger are already required to report their energy and water usage annually, making Ontario well positioned to adopt provincial standards when the political will is there. Performance standards are in line with the transition to a net-zero electricity grid, as outlined in Canada’s Clean Electricity Regulations, set to begin in 2035.

Moving Forward with Your Support

Your ongoing support is essential as we continue to advocate for the implementation of performance standards across Canadian jurisdictions. The road ahead is promising, and your involvement is key to our collective success. As we work towards integrating more passive housing into the fabric of our communities, we are not just building homes—we are building a sustainable future.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our cause.