Built Green Launches Net Zero Energy+ Program for Single Family New Homes
Supplemented training available, through partnership with Blue House Energy
Kicking off the new year, Built Green Canada launches its Net Zero Energy+ program for single family new homes, a new level of achievement within the organization’s long-held, industry friendly green building program.
While builders continue to progress their industry with increasing sustainable building practices, consumers’ interest in greater energy performance within a healthier home environment gains traction; all the while, all orders of government have prioritized their climate mitigation files.
By 2030, the Government of Canada aim is that all provinces and territories adopt a net zero energy ready building code. For our context, “net zero” refers to a home producing as much energy as it uses in a year. Today, there are Canadian builders reaching this target, while many more have a ways to go. For builders and their trades to span that gap—while continuing to conduct business in their fast-paced industry—it means research and investing in new practices. Fortunately, there are programs created to foster this process, such as Built Green’s new program.
Built Green Canada remains committed to guiding incremental improvement through its four certification levels—each with increased energy performance requirements, alongside improvement outlined in other key areas of sustainable building. And, with the launch of Built Green’s Net Zero Energy+ program, there is the option for another level of achievement—which building code will require by 2030. While this course is focused on Net Zero achievement, it takes a holistic approach (as with all of Built Green’s programs) that goes beyond energy—represented in the program’s title, with the plus sign.
“This is about encouraging progress. All of our certification levels support incremental improvements, and we’re here to support—and learn from—industry,” says Chief Executive Officer Jenifer Christenson. “We recognize builders, consumers and government are at different stages of the sustainability trajectory, and all those making steps forward are to be applauded.”
Consistent with its other programs, BUILT GREEN® Net Zero Energy+ for Single Family New Homes maintains energy efficiency as its fundamental component, integrating the EnerGuide label through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). It then goes beyond energy efficiency, moving the industry toward a more holistic approach to sustainable building practices: including the preservation of natural resources, reduction of pollution, ventilation and air quality, and home durability. As such, builders and their customers get a two-in-one: the BUILT GREEN® label and the EnerGuide label, offering verification of the energy performance and the green features integrated into the home.
Built Green’s certification is on the build, and while its interest is also on the builder and those who have contributed [to the build], it does not certify the builder, nor the Energy Advisor, as the program is about each product: each home built. The third-party energy certification is through NRCan-licensed third-party Service Organizations.
Builders pursuing this certification are required to pass the training course, BUILT GREEN® Net Zero Energy for New Construction, and may work with any Energy Advisor licensed through NRCan who has also passed the training. One of the organization’s mandates is around offering industry options, instead of a prescriptive approach, and this extends to process, as well as the programs themselves.
BUILT GREEN® Net Zero Energy for New Construction introduces concepts and techniques for developing high performance and net zero new construction projects. In addition to advanced envelope and mechanical system content, the course includes discussion on how occupant behaviour impacts the overall energy use in a house and affects the sizing of renewable energy systems. The training has seven modules, takes an estimated 20 hours to complete and is a partnership between Built Green Canada and Blue House Energy.
Working in partnership with Built Green Canada, Blue House Energy took content they’d developed for training Energy Advisors, and—with input from leading industry experts—tailored and expanded it for builders.
“This course was created in anticipation of what builders will need to know and do, before Net Zero building code changes come into effect,” says Shawna Henderson, CEO of Blue House Energy. “Our self-directed (on-demand), interactive training model has proven to be a great fit for busy industry pros, so we’re excited to offer this course on another critical topic.”
Thank you to those that contributed to the development of the training program, including: Andy Cockburn, NAIMA; Andy Oding, Building Knowledge Canada; Bob Deeks, RDC Fine Homes; Dara Bowser, Bowser Technical; Dave Krasman, Jayman BUILT; Dave Turnbull, Enerspec Consulting; Haito Yu, Landmark Group; Jeffrey Robinson, EnerTech Solutions Ltd; Matt Grace, Integral Group; Built Green’s Technical Standards Committee; and its Board of Directors.