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CaGBC’s latest zero carbon design standard to be unveiled this month

Don Procter
CaGBC’s latest zero carbon design standard to be unveiled this month
DON PROCTER — Doug Webber, principal of Purpose Building and the chair of the Canada Green Building Council’s zero carbon steering committee, said the new Version 3 is in line with Canada’s drive to lead the world on the zero carbon front. Right, also presenting at the Canada Green Building Council’s Version 3 panel session was Mark Hutchinson who told the audience the new standard covers operational carbon from combustion.

The Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) latest zero carbon design standard for all buildings in Canada, which includes embodied carbon targets for the first time, will be released this month.

Announced recently at the CaGBC Building Lasting Change conference in Toronto, the third version of the standard aims to “keep up” to an industry advancing on the zero carbon front and takes advantage of “what worked and what didn’t” from Version 2, Doug Webber told the panel session at the conference.

“It is about setting a path for all buildings.”

Webber, principal of Purpose Building and the chair of the CaGBC’s zero carbon steering committee, said that Version 3 is in line with Canada’s drive to lead the world on the zero carbon front.

The council’s targets are zero carbon by 2030 and a 40 per cent reduction of embodied carbon (EC).

At the same time driving energy efficient designs must continue to be a priority, Webber told the audience.

A prerequisite under Version 3 is that owners show a 10 per cent reduction of EC compared to the baseline or meet a target of 500 kilograms of CO2 per metre squared, said Fin MacDonald, manager of the zero carbon building program of the CaGBC.

“We believe most buildings can hit this.”

The new design standard also offers incentives for building owners to go further with EC reductions through two “innovation and impact” categories where design teams can propose custom strategies to demonstrate novel ideas on how to meet the council’s thresholds.

While many projects have already started to propose innovation and impact strategies, the CaGBC has limited custom strategies to one per project because of the amount of work required by the council to evaluate each proposition.

MacDonald pointed out two projects that will meet the innovation and impact thresholds are The Stack, Vancouver’s tallest concrete office tower, and the current expansion of Centennial College in Toronto.

Also presenting at the panel session was the council’s Mark Hutchinson who told the audience that along with EC reductions, the new version covers operational carbon from combustion, which is a building’s direct emissions (natural gas consumption, for example) and indirect emissions such as electricity.

Biogas and biomass are recognized under some scenarios.

“We all know that onsite combustion of fossil fuels is creating the majority of our problems of climate impact from our buildings,” said Hutchinson, vice-president of green building programs and innovation with the CaGBC, adding it targets zero operational combustion by 2030.

Setting the correct data for “multiple targets” based on climate zone and building type across Canada has been a challenge for the council.

Through work with its energy, engineering and technical advisory group, the CaGBC decided in climate zones other than the West Coast, buildings must demonstrate they can be heated without onsite combustion (of any fuel type) to -10 C.

Green heat – anything generated through electrification or zero emissions bio-fuels – can meet Version 3, MacDonald added. District energy providers, however, will require third-party validation to meet the standard.

He said projects that provide electrification for a whole building’s heating, will not be held to a thermal energy demand intensity target as was the case in Version 2.

“We’re giving the design team control over thermal performance and they can optimize based on their heating and cooling demand and their mechanical systems.”

Registration for Version 3 begins June 20. Workbooks and supporting materials will be available at the CaGBC.

In September registration for Version 2 will close.

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