CaGBC to launch a Zero Carbon Building Standard next Spring
November 18, 2016
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) released a Zero Carbon Buildings Framework on November 2, 2016 for the assessment of highly energy efficient buildings that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. The Framework is the first stage of a broader CaGBC Zero Carbon Buildings Initiative to champion the move to lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings in support of Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
“Our focus on carbon emissions as opposed to energy in this framework flows from the increasing urgency to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings,” says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the CaGBC. “By embarking on this important initiative, the CaGBC is providing the market with a state-of -the-art guideline and, soon, the third-party verification and support required to make net zero carbon buildings a reality in the near future.”
Working with Integral Group in Vancouver, CaGBC consulted with approximately 50 individuals representing 40 organizations in the building sector and undertook a review of nine international net zero building approaches. The resulting Framework facilitates participation across a range of building types and sizes, provides a clear definition for zero carbon buildings, and establishes five key components for the evaluation of building carbon footprints that are detailed below.
- A greenhouse gas intensity metric for assessing a building’s emissions, calculated using regional emissions factors.
- Energy intensity metrics to incentivize the design of highly efficient, reliable and resilient buildings.
- A peak energy demand metric to encourage the use of “peak shaving” measures.
- An embodied carbon metric to recognize the importance of building material lifecycle impacts.
- A requirement that renewable energy be generated on-site or procured directly in order to ensure the addition of clean power generation.
The next phases of the Zero Carbon Initiative include the identification of specific pathways to zero carbon, a zero carbon building pilot program, and the development of a verification program to be completed and launched by CaGBC by the end of the second quarter of 2017.
The first pilot project in the Initiative is the recently announced Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College, which aims to be a carbon-free building. This collaboration will provide insight from the application of the framework and help determine requirements for the verification of performance. More specifics about this project will be released in the near future.