Year-End Updates 2: Program News


a) New BUILT GREEN® Portal 


We’re well into development of the BUILT GREEN® Portal, which will see all projects being processed through this platform once it is launched. The new system is much less cumbersome and easier to navigate. Existing files and records will be transferred over prior to launch.


Please stay tuned as we move into final stages of development. At this time, we’re anticipating this will roll out early in the New Year. More to come soon.


b) High Density Enrolment “Maximum” Fees Increase—Per-Unit Costs Remain As Is


Built Green Canada launched its High Density program in June 2013. The program was a progression of the multi-storey and residential tower program, which was in existence for three years before it transitioned to a High Density pilot in 2011. The transition was based on builders’ input, emerging building practices, energy efficiency advancements, and market demand. Extensive work was undertaken by Built Green Canada’s Technical Standards Committee. At the time, the per-unit fee for a High Density project certification was $100 to a maximum of $10,000. To more accurately reflect this type of project, effective April 1, 2016, the per-unit fee of $100 will remain as is with the maximum increasing from $10,000 to $20,000. Therefore, only those projects that have surpassed 100 units will be impacted.


c) Renovation Program


After a one-plus year public consultation process, which began with industry input, followed by further technical consultation, and a final review with our Technical Standards Committee, the Renovation Program will launch its new program slated to roll out during the first quarter of 2016. Once the program has been rolled out, Built Green Canada will use the remainder of the year as a trial period and will encourage continued industry feedback. Many thanks to all those who engaged in this process to-date.


In the interim, the existing Renovation Program is available, and for those builders/renovators utilizing this program, a big kudos for renovating sustainably.


d) Reinstatement of EnerGuide Rating to BUILT GREEN® Certification Alongside New ERS V. 15.0— Coming Late 2016


Some years ago, Built Green Canada made the decision to segregate the EnerGuide (ERS) label and the BUILT GREEN® certification level. There was good reason for this: the original ERS system was unpredictable, given the way the rating was calculated without adequate consideration of site orientation and design. The builder could not guarantee an EnerGuide rating and therefore could not guarantee a BUILT GREEN® certification level.


As such, Built Green Canada made the move to separate the EnerGuide rating from the certification level (though the EnerGuide rating remained mandatory as part of our certification). The decision to segregate was driven by the demand to guarantee certification levels, as it was not possible with the ERS, given its unpredictability.


However, Natural Resources Canada has been working on updates to the EnerGuide rating system and will be rolling out the ERS Version 15.0, tentatively scheduled for the second quarter of 2016. This will be better aligned with National Building Code and beyond a new rating scale that will be consumption-based, the new ERS system will now compare a Natural Resources Canada reference house with the house being tested—and, it will be jurisdiction-specific, where applicable, meaning areas will have different ratings based on their local building codes.


Given these changes, the concerns that originally drove the segregation have largely been addressed, and the risk of not being able to guarantee an ERS rating will now be much lower. This will pave the way to reinstate the tie between the ERS rating and our certification level with considerably more confidence in a builder’s ability to guarantee a specific rating.


As the ERS Version 15.0 rolls out, here’s what this will look like for the BUILT GREEN® Single Family program, as the energy requirement of our certification:


  • Bronze certification will require an ERS to meet equivalent energy requirements as the reference-built house (typical house per NRCan). Given the program addresses far more than energy, setting energy requirements consistent with building code is achievable.
  • Silver certification will require the ERS to exceed equivalent energy requirements of reference-built house (typical house per NRCan) by 10 percent.
  • Gold certification will require the ERS to exceed equivalent energy requirements of reference-built house (typical house per NRCan) to 20 percent.
  • Platinum certification will require ERS to exceed equivalent energy requirements of reference-built house (typical house per NRCan) by 25 percent. 

** Again, what the equivalent ERS numbers are will be based on the region, and even within a given province they will vary.

This pending reinstatement will reinforce the credibility of the BUILT GREEN® program and participating builders as the industry faces building code changes as well as the new the ERS—it is imperative we remain relevant to changes within the industry to ensure our builders maintain their competitive advantage as consumer demand increases... 

Consumers are more knowledgeable when it comes to sustainability and expectations continue to grow. In fact, homebuyers increasingly want a sustainably built home. The 2015 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study, by Avid Ratings Canada, in partnership with CHBA National, revealed Canadian homebuyers rate three of their top 10 “must haves” as related to energy efficiency, 49% cite home certification as a must have, while water conservation also ranks high—45.2% rate low-flow toilets as a must-have feature. 

More information on this in the coming months. Should you have questions, please do let us know.