Across Canada we see evidence of Spring. And as we look forward to the promise of spring, I can’t help but think of the people of Ukraine for whom the promise of spring is unmitigated suffering under the weight of the Russian invasion. Canadian business has been asked to help Ukrainian refugees coming to our country. We’ve told the federal government we can train refugees interested in passive house so that they might find employment here and be better prepared to repair their shattered towns and cities when they return home. I encourage you to support Ukrainians fleeing their country for the safety of Canada.
National and Ontario Building Codes
One of the most anticipated events of early 2022 is the release of the 2020 National Building Code (NBC). The code is expected to be released by the end of March, but we’ve had a sneak preview thanks to the Government of Ontario.
In a rushed consultation, the province released its proposed provincial building code based on the as-yet unreleased national code. We found it strange that a provincial code would be released for comment before the national code it’s based on is released, but it gave us a peak at the tiered model NBC.
Unfortunately, despite numerous examples of buildings being built to 90 per cent efficiency compared to baseline code with minimal cost increases, the proposed top tier of the NBC only yields a 60 per cent efficiency compared to the baseline. Meanwhile, Ontario, in a deeply troubling move, has stated it will only adopt the lower tiers in the NBC and exclude the other tiers. We believe in doing so Ontario will undermine both the value and intent of the 2020 model codes.
For smaller buildings, Ontario will make no improvements in energy efficiency and for larger buildings, Ontario will put in place a standard that is less efficient than what is in place today. With everything we know about the climate crisis and building-based solutions, it is not only a wasted opportunity that will end up costing Ontario more in the long run, but it will also hurt the province’s long-term competitiveness to attract jobs in the low-carbon economy.
In our submission to the Ontario government, Passive House Canada recommended adopting a more stringent tiered code, a performance-based rather than a reference building approach, mandatory airtightness testing, PHPP modeling tool, and more. Please read our submission for full details.
Spring is in the Air
With spring approaching, the Passive House Canada (PHC) team is preparing for our upcoming Annual Conference In the Face of Climate Change, a virtual and in-person event, to be held in beautiful Victoria B.C. May 25th-27th 2022. Our call for speakers elicited a record number of requests to present. The conference will spark lively discussion as passionate passive house aficionados gather to discuss the role of passive buildings in mitigating and adapting to climate change. We hope to see you all there to learn, to celebrate Passive House and to tour Victoria by bicycle (this is, after all, bike-friendly Victoria!).
2022 Federal Budget Submission
Earlier this month PHC made a formal submission on recommendations for the 2022 federal budget with a focus targeting deep energy and resiliency tower retrofits. In large Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver, buildings account for more than 50 per cent of GHG emissions. A high percentage of this stock will remain operational beyond 2030. While there is a focus on improving standards for new builds, we cannot divert our attention from our existing building stock, especially residential towers. Deep energy and resiliency retrofits, especially for residential towers, are one of the most economical means to improve Canada’s carbon footprint and resiliency. You can read our submission here.
On behalf of our members and everyone promoting building better in Canada, Passive House Canada is committed to pursuing a net-zero building code rooted in Passive House Canada’s proven methodology.
Additional Submission Documents to the Ontario Government:
Passive House Canada Letter for Cooling Load Limits
Steven Winter Associates Thermal Bridging Guide