Built Green Canada and the new building code changes 

Published in Profile, the CHBA - Calgary Region's magazine


As the industry faces incoming building code changes, for the first time energy has been directly addressed—and that means escalating costs to build a home. At the same time, builders will move to a more even playing field with the increased regulations, including green building requirements. 


That gives builders engaged in an energy-efficient program a leading edge: a competitive advantage. The BUILT GREEN® program, for example, goes far beyond energy efficiency. 


BUILT GREEN® programs complement the new energy requirement; specifically, the new section of the code (9.36), which deals with energy efficiency. Homebuilders will now have a choice as to how they achieve the requirement—either with a prescriptive path or a performance standard, utilizing the federal EnerGuide program. 


Founded in 2003, and brought to Canada in Calgary as a hybrid of several other energy-efficient programs, the organization is now headquartered in Edmonton, but has expanded to B.C., Ontario, and recently, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The national, industry-driven organization is committed to working with builders interested in responsible sustainability practices in the residential building sector. 


The organization offers programs for single family and high density projects, with a renovations program in pilot and a communities program under development. 


Builders have enrolled and completed over 20,500 BUILT GREEN® homes. If multi-family units are included, the total is over 23,500. Together, the organization and its members are leading the way in sustainability performance for residential home construction. 


For builders participating in the BUILT GREEN® program, using the performance path, they know how to take those same dollars that would be used on the prescriptive path and get a better result for the home buyer. The energy efficiency in the BUILT GREEN® program is what requires some investment; many of the rest of the program’s measures are cost neutral or even save money. As a result, a builder can spend the same money, be code compliant, and participate in the program. 


BUILT GREEN® programs offer builders the means to transition into, and implement green technology with ease. Checklists include pre-approved samples, and supporting guides make navigating the program straight forward. The pay-off of gaining a competitive edge, staying ahead of government-imposed regulation, and demonstrating leadership benefits individuals and highlights the industry’s vision through this progressive builder-led initiative. 


For the consumer, purchasing a BUILT GREEN® home offers a healthier, more durable home with a lower environmental impact, lower costs, and the ability to choose which green features they want. 

  • Homeowners enjoy costs savings in monthly operating costs with water, electricity, and gas bills. A home built in the BUILT GREEN® program should save a minimum of approximately 10 per cent in annual utility bills compared to a code-built home. Cumulatively, the savings can be substantial. Better efficiency means long-term savings. 
  • Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Genworth Financial mortgage insurance rebates are available for BUILT GREEN® homes. 
  • BUILT GREEN®-certified homes offer the benefit of longer-term durability through the efficient use of building materials and processes. 
  • Consumers who purchase a BUILT GREEN®-certified home should benefit from an increase in market and resale value.