Alert Notice #138
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
November 15, 2016


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends
2. Business Management
3. Building Design & Trends
4. Codes Standards & Regulations
5. Building Science & Technology
6. Building Performance Issues
7. Products & Suppliers
8. Installation & Procedures
9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation
10. Information Sources
11. Conferences & Shows
12. Education & Training
13. Costs & Savings
14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

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HPSC   BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council
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Here is another special BC Building Info issue on green building and energy efficiecny.

The regular BC Building Info newsletter covering all industry topics will come your way in a few weeks as usual. Hope you find at least a wee bit of value here somewhere.

Have a “Top Drawer” day.

Ken Farrish

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Ken's Top Pick

Local Authority Variations of BC Building Code
Province of BC Building Act comes into force in 2017. Section 5 articulates that if a matter is regulated in the BC Building Code, then any requirements for that matter established in local government bylaws will be of no legal force on December 15, 2017. The objective of section 5 is to bring greater consistency to the technical building requirements in force across British Columbia. Procedures for requesting a local authority variation are described here.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Canada Is Changing, So Is Our Housing
Alternatives Journal says in the coming decades, the Canadian housing market and the home-building industry are expected to face several constraints. Most notable is the need to respond to environmental challenges, changing demographics and new economic realities. If past events are any indication of future action, the industry, once again, will show resilience. The challenge, however, lies in predicting the degree of innovation that builders will be willing to embrace.

Green & Sustainable, Building for the Future
Construct Connect says over the past two decades, green and sustainable construction has evolved from a fringe movement to achieving mainstream status. In a recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton for the USGBC, they expect green construction spending to increase from $150.6 billion in 2015 to $224.4 billion in 2018.

Building Solutions to Climate Change
Canada Green Building Council report Building Solutions to Climate Change: How Green Buildings Can Help Meet Canada’s 2030 Emissions Targets outlines four key recommendations aimed at meeting Canada’s climate change targets while fueling the growth of Canada’s sustainable building industry.

Industry Sees Promise in Low-Impact Communities
Canadian Property Management says industry proponents of sustainability are looking beyond buildings and thinking more about community scale in order to help impact decarbonization goals.

Climate Capitalist Shares Thoughts for Canada's Future
Green Energy Futures interviews the operator of the ArcTern Venture Fund, who says we are now seeing more and more actors from non-cleantech places, traditional financial actors, oil and gas folks, beginning to get interested in cleantech.

Canadian Property Management Prowess in Energy Savings
Canadian Property Management says Canadian property management participants collectively surpassed both the North American and global average scores across seven differently weighted management and operational categories, as well as significant year-over-year reductions in electricity consumption and carbon emissions.

Scientists Accidentally Turn CO2 Into Ethanol
US Department of Energy says scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. Their finding, which involves nanofabrication and catalysis science, was serendipitous.

2. Business Management

Going Green the Smart Way
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association article by KuhnLLP says a significant source of liability that arises in relation to green-labelling programs is that the potential benefits of a home associated with that label can be overstated. The best way to minimize your liability when participating in a green-labelling program is to ensure that proper due diligence is undertaken before a label is chosen.

Dalai Lama on Responsibility of Business
Green Biz says the Dalai Lama suggests taking the holistic view, even in your specific field of business and the economy, is best. Economics means dealing with humanity, and the situation of humanity changes century by century, year by year. Once they understand that reality is constantly changing and that everything is interconnected, leaders begin to realize that they have to keep the consequences of all their actions always in mind.

25 Leadership Lessons from Millionaire Business Owners
Entrepreneur offers 25 leadership lessons from millionaire business owners so you don't have to make the same mistakes they did.

Integrate Sustainability into Your Company Strategies
Conference Board of Canada online video on Facebook provides valuable insights, tips and best practices on how to better integrate sustainability into your company strategies and culture.

4 Traps to Avoid in Selling Home Performance
Mike Rogers describes four traps to avoid in selling home performance.

10 Major Energy Retrofits During Renovation
Saturn Resource Management says the best time to make major energy retrofits is during a renovation. They describe 10 retrofit measures that could be part of every home renovation job.

Renewable Energy Outlook for HVAC Contractors
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency says when a homeowner requests an estimate for equipment replacement, Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar of California doesn’t dash off a proposal based on the home’s square footage. Instead, a salesperson spends nearly three hours assessing the entire home and doing computer modeling before providing three options: good, better, and best.

Ontario Cap & Trade Program
Central 1 bulletin Ontario Cap & Trade Program says carbon pricing via cap and trade takes effect in 2017, minimal provincial economic impact according to study, and post-exemption period for large emitters poses issues. (PDF)

3. Building Design & Trends

First Nations Passive House in BC
Ecohome describes a project in Bella Bella where modular passive house construction replaced hospital staff housing that burned down.

Five Ways to Judge Sustainable Housing
Be Free Homes describes several approaches to designing or specifying a sustainable house.

Net Zero Energy Homes for Everyone in Canada by 2030?
Canadian Contractor says if the Trudeau government has its way, all new homes must be Net Zero Energy in 15 years. Wow.

Canadian Zero Carbon Building Initiative
Canada Green Building Council has unveiled the first phase of its Zero Carbon Buildings Initiative, which will ultimately result in the launch of a Zero Carbon Building Standard in spring 2017. It champions the move to lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings.

4 Developments Leading Multifamily Green Building Efforts
EcoBuilding Pulse Magazine describes projects that show how developers are proving multifamily is the right home for sustainability and energy conservation.

2016 Winners of US Housing Innovation Awards
US Department of Energy’s 2016 Housing Innovation Awards winners are recognized as the best in innovation on the path to zero energy ready homes. Awards are given in the categories of Custom for Buyer, Custom Spec, Production, Multi-Family, and Affordable.

New Tool Answers How much A LEED Point Is Worth
Building Design Construction says new Autocase software analyzes the financial, social, and environmental benefits of LEED certification.

Tale of Two Straw Bale Homes
Green Energy Futures describes two Alberta homes that use straw bale construction, a technique hundreds of years old, to make modern homes.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Public Review of Codes Canada 2015
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes invites all interested parties to take part in its first public review of proposed changes to the 2015 editions of Codes Canada publications from October 11 to December 9, 2016. They focus primarily on proposed changes to the 2015 editions of the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) and the National Plumbing Code (NPC).

Energy Star Cooling & Ventilating Equipment
Natural Resources Canada provides information and resources on Energy Star standards for cooling and ventilation equipment.

Passive Houses & All-Renewable Energy Future
Green Building Advisor describes why the overhaul of the Passivhaus standard resulted in two new certification levels, Plus and Premium.

New Energy Star ESVI Program for HVAC Installation
Home Energy magazine says the new Energy Star ESVI program certifies installation of HVAC system. A contractor, working with a participating local utility company, ACCA or other EPA-recognized third-party verification organization, will install or upgrade the HVAC system using best installation practices as outlined by the ESVI program. When the job is completed, the contractor will submit its work for testing and verification. Once the quality of the work is confirmed, the homeowner will receive the ESVI Certificate for the new system.

Living Community Challenge Standard
International Living Future Institute standard Living Community Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas, or Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty and Spirit. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. (PDF)

Where Does LEED Stand as Focus Shifts from Design to Performance?
Multifamily Executive magazine says as green building certifications continue to proliferate, will LEED v4 offer more upshot to multifamily than its predecessors?

Impacts of Energy Codes Public Review Draft
US Department of Energy draft report Impacts of Model Building Energy Codes Public Review Draft shows that new codes cut carbon emissions and provide energy savings for consumers. (PDF)

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5. Building Science & Technology

7 Things I Learned at North American Passive House Conference
Energy Vanguard shares seven things he learned at the recent North American Passive House Conference.

Another Solar Thermal Myth Bites the Dust
Green Building Advisor describes how plastic tubing can be cost effectively used for solar collectors connected to a domestic hot water system.

Humidity Is Important in Indoor Environmental Engineering
Healthy Heating says people installing whole home A/C systems for thermal comfort in high performance homes with the assumption that effective dehumidification will occur, could be sadly disappointed as compressors cycle down or off due to the low and infrequent cooling comfort loads especially associated with shoulder seasons.

High Performance Housing Guide for Southern Manitoba
NRCan online High Performance Housing Guide for Southern Manitoba presents a summary of new energy efficient technologies trialed, and the lessons learned, by a group of leading Manitoba Builders who chose these technologies as a result of their evaluation throughout their Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships workshops. (PDF)

Technology Exists to Reduce Water Usage
HPAC magazine says today technology has truly given us the opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of water we use to live our daily lives and it really is in all of our interests to do so.

Landfills Have a Huge Greenhouse Gas Problem
Green Building Advisor says in 2010, more than 10% of all methane generated by humans came from landfills.

6. Building Performance Issues

High Humidity In Open Cell Spray Foam Attic
Energy Vanguard says that we need to start thinking of open cell spray foam installations differently. The days are over when you can spray open cell foam in an attic, close it up, and walk away. We know now that this can cause problems.

Hazardous Materials in Buildings
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentations describes issues, considerations and procedures for hazardous materials in buildings. (PDF)

Controls Improve Performance of Combo Systems
US Department of Energy report Combined Space and Water Heating: Next Steps to Improved Performance shows improved controls have the potential to reduce complexity and improve upon the measured performance. (PDF)

Cost of Accessibility Features in Newly-Constructed Modest Houses
CMHC report Cost of Accessibility Features in Newly-Constructed Modest Houses shows additional costs of including up to 60 design features to make a newly constructed home accessible or adaptable in the future, although not insignificant, are nonetheless much lower than the cost of converting an existing dwelling in order to make it accessible. (PDF)

Online Thermal Comfort Compliance Tool
The new user manual for ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2013, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, includes a free online thermal comfort tool that can be used as the official tool for showing compliance with the standard.

Phase Out of Climate-Harming Refrigerants Offers
US Department of Energy says there is opportunity for innovation now that the global community will avoid rampant growth of HFC refrigerant emissions and phase out their usage over time, replacing them with climate-friendly, energy-efficient alternatives.

7. Products & Suppliers

Top 10 Green Building Products For 2017
Construction Dive describes the annual Building Green list of predictions for the green products likely to have the most significant impact on the market in the coming year.

High-Performance Products from Greenbuild KB Home ProjeKt
Builder Magazine describes a sampling of environmentally friendly building materials, surfaces, and appliances in the 2016 KB Home ProjeKt show home that gives a look into the future of home building.

Online Product Sustainability Information Tool
UL SPOT is a web-based product sustainability information tool that will facilitate the selection of credible green products and enable the design community to apply that information into the Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow. SPOT database allows architects, designers and specifiers to identify products by sustainable attributes, MasterFormat product codes and building rating system credits such as LEED v4 and the WELL Building Standard. It goes beyond traditional green certification data to include a comprehensive view of a product's attributes through expanded product listings.

Apple Taps Builders to Make Home Automation Mainstream
SlashGear says Apple is working with home builders like Brookfield Residents Properties to create showroom homes filled with Internet-of-Things gadgets, the end result being an automated home that shows potential homeowners the extent of what smart technology can do for them.

Tap Attachment Promises More Mist, Less Wasted Water
Remodeling magazine describes a new faucet attachment that promises to reduce the amount of water used for everyday tasks such as hand or dish washing.

Retrofit Integrated Space & Water Heating
US Department of Energy report Retrofit Integrated Space and Water Heating: Field Assessment summarizes monitoring of 20 homes to characterize how combi systems performed compared to existing systems. (PDF)

High-Performance Wood Structures Save Energy
WoodWorks online slide show presentation High-Performance Wood Structures: An Example of Increased Efficiency in MultiFamily Construction is a case study of a six-story, wood-frame over podium Passive House project that highlights design and construction principles that can reduce energy consumption. (PDF)

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8. Installation & Procedures

Project Sunroof Calculates Solar Potential
Google Project Sunroof allows people to quickly and easily get a pretty sophisticated understanding of their solar potential and whether it makes sense for them to go solar. Currently it is in Beta stage for some US areas only.

Roof Pitch & Orientation for PV
Fine Homebuilding describes a roof pitch design that strives for reasonably low energy use, offset by photovoltaic panels to reach annual net-zero-energy use.

How to Install A Green Roof On Private Home
Curbed walks through the process of designing and installing a lush living rooftop on a residence.

Planning for Passive Cooling
Healthy Heating describes passive cooling and solar control techniques for mitigating overheating risks during climate changes of consequence.

Do Quality Insulation Installations Cost More?
Insulation Institute discusses whether quality insulation installations should cost more.

Above & Beyond Typical Furnace Maintenance Call
HPAC magazine describes how a furnace tune-up is really a comprehensive maintenance job that it is essential to maintain a long-term relationship with every customer.

Successful Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Fraser Basin Council online report Showcasing Successful Green Stormwater Infrastructure, Lessons from Implementation showcases examples of green stormwater infrastructure in urban streetscapes, residential communities and institutional sites in Metro Vancouver and Victoria. It describes how features such as bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, pervious paving and infiltration trenches on urban sites offer multiple benefits. (PDF)

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Nova Scotia Creates First Energy Efficiency Utility in Canada
Green Energy Futures says Nova Scotia has created Efficiency Nova Scotia as the first energy efficiency utility in Canada. Just like utilities that produce electricity, they make an application to their regulator for how many gigawatt hours of electricity they can deliver at what cost.

Cost of Solar Energy Keeps Dropping, But...
Energy Vanguard says the battle between solar and efficiency isn't a battle at all. They need to be working together. Yes, we need solar energy. But we can't forget about energy efficiency just because the installed cost of solar has fallen so much. They need to work together.

Get Ready for Rooftop Solar Stall in 2017
Renewable Energy World says instead of energizing the industry, the solar tax credit extension has hurt growth, as solar companies no longer rush to meet a deadline.

A Trip Down the Soft Energy Path
Green Biz says Amory Lovins 1976 Foreign Affairs article Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken, reframed the energy problem and added an alternative vision of US energy strategy. The hard path was more of the same; the soft path combined energy efficiency with a shift to renewable supply. Forty years later, a review of its initial reception and continued influence shows what lessons have and haven’t been learned.

Despite Climate Risks, Utilities Bet Big on Natural Gas
Utility Dive says scientists say the US can't build much more fossil fuel infrastructure if it wants to meet the Paris climate goals. So why are utilities going all-in on gas?

Is Range Anxiety Really Justified?
Green Building Advisor says a new study finds that today's electric cars can cover the vast majority of daily U.S. driving needs.

10. Information Sources

Zero Energy Residential Case Studies
Net Zero Energy Coalition online database is a centralized source of zero energy residential projects for the US and Canada.

Insulation R-Value & Canadian Climate Zones
NAIMA Canada explains nominal and effective R-Values, and describes Canadian climate zones and heating degree days.

Under-Insulated Houses in Existing Canadian Housing Stock
NAIMA Canada report reveals that by simply retrofitting homes with better insulation, Canadians could save hundreds per year on electricity bills and play a big role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rate Our Home Program Displays Vancouver Home Ratings
Metro Vancouver new program Rate Our Home is designed to make spotting an energy efficient home easier by creating awareness and demand for EnerGuide home energy labels.

Presentations From 2016 Radon Conference
American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists online slide show presentations from their 2016 conference cover a wide range of topics on radon.

Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990 To 2013
Natural Resources Canada report Energy Efficiency Trends In Canada 1990 To 2013 tracks trends in energy efficiency and delivers on Canada's commitment to provide a comprehensive summary of secondary energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. (PDF)

Climate Action Resource Site for Local Governments
BC Climate Action Toolkit is a tool for knowledge sharing and collaboration. It provides the latest news, best practices, practical advice, information, and strategic guidance to help BC local governments successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, strengthen their communities.

Transformative Climate Change Planning For Canada
Adaption to Climate Change report Low Carbon Resilience: Transformative Climate Change Planning for Canada describes low carbon resilience as climate change strategies that integrate and achieve co-benefits between greenhouse gas emissions reduction (mitigation) and planning designed to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts (adaptation). This paper demonstrates the potential value of their integration, explores examples of low carbon resilience strategies, and considers options for their implementation in Canada. (PDF)

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Forum On Pathways to Net-Zero Buildings
Pembina Institute will host the Pathways to Net-Zero Buildings thought leader forum on November 28 and 29 in Vancouver. It is an opportunity for a conversation about what works and what does not in public policy with respect to preparing our buildings for a low carbon economy.

Northern BC Housing Conference
Community Development Institute at University of Northern British Columbia is hosting the Northern BC Housing Conference: Housing Solutions for Changing Communities at UNBC on November 18, 2016. It will focus on identifying housing opportunities in the region and create a space for new ideas to take shape. The conference will be of interest to builders, developers, planners, government, economic development organizations, realtors, lenders, and non-profit organizations.

Wood Design Luncheon Conferences in Kelowna & Victoria
WoodWorks annual Wood Design Luncheon Conferences will be held in Kelowna on November 23rd, and Victoria on November 25th. They feature presentations on current topics in architecture, engineering, design and construction with wood by experts in wood design and building while suppliers are on hand with their exhibits to answer questions about wood products and systems.

Solar Canada 2016 Conference & Exposition
Solar Canada 2016 conference and trade show will be held in Toronto, December 5-6. The program covers industry trends, policies, opportunities, and other developments that will affect the energy market.

12. Education & Training

BuildIN Fraser Valley Education & Training Event
CHBA Fraser Valley annual BuildIN education and training event will be held in Abbotsford on November 22nd. It provides information on the latest technologies and innovative business practices in residential construction. You can receive builder training education credits (8 CPD), valuable B2B networking and access to qualified prospects in a business-casual setting.

Solar Heat Pumps, The Key to Zero Energy Homes
BC Sustainable Energy Association webinar Solar Heat Pumps, The Key to Zero Energy Homes will be presented on November 22nd.

Online BCIT Courses in Community Energy Management
British Columbia Institute of Technology and Community Energy Association are offering six online courses in community energy management. Get the knowledge you need to conserve energy, decrease emissions, and reduce energy costs in your community. Registration is presently open for: Introduction to Community Energy & Emissions Planning; Community-Based Renewable Energy; Green Energy & Local Economic Development; Financing & Governance for Green Energy Systems; Reducing Energy Use in New & Existing Buildings; Low Carbon Transportation.

Online Course in Construction Industry Ethics
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association online course on Construction Industry Ethics has been designed to help you understand ethics as it relates to the construction industry through practical examples of ethical decision making. It contains interactive elements, case studies, practical examples, videos, and a course glossary.

Online Training for Solar Energy Installation
Ecotech online solar installation training covers system sizing, overcurrent protection, grounding systems, utility interconnections, and more.

Building Science Education Solution Center
Building Science Education Solution Center (currently in beta stage of development) provides professors, trainers and students with accurate, easy-to-access building science training materials for a full range of building-related professions.

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13. Costs & Savings

Banish Payback
Green Building Advisor says we should call the money you spend an investment rather than costs that must be recovered.

What's the ROI Of Attic Insulation?
Insulation Institute says adding attic insulation certainly doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal of some other home improvement projects, but given that it is an easy project to do and provides such a big return on your investment, of both time and money, it is still worth considering.

How Much Can You Save with Energy Efficient Improvements?
US Department of Energy lists specific actions you can take to save energy and water in your home, along with the potential annual savings for all of them.

Do Green Buildings Really Save Energy?
GreenBiz says there isn't enough data available to indicate that, on average, green buildings save more energy than conventional buildings.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

BC High-Efficiency Appliance Rebates
Until the end of November, BC Hydro and various municipalities are offering rebates up to $100 each on select ENERGY STAR washing machines that use about 25 per cent less electricity than standard models.

BC Condo & Apartment Rebates
FortisBC offers rebates for space and water heating systems for three-story walkups or highrise condo developments.

Free BC Non-Profit & Aboriginal Housing Upgrades
BC Hydro describes how non-profit housing providers and aboriginal communities can get free help upgrading their housing units with energy efficient products to help tenants and members save on their electricity costs and improve their overall comfort.

Help BC Hydro Test New Energy Management Technologies
BC Hydro is recruiting customers for a variety of in-home trials, including smart home devices and ways to reduce power use when demand on electricity system is highest.

Peer Diffusion, Unlocking Investments in Home Energy Upgrades
Rocky Mountain Institute and Building Performance Institute report, Peer Diffusion: Unlocking Investments in Home Energy Upgrades, describes how service providers and program administrators can deploy these specific tactics online and in-person to motivate homeowners to invest in whole-home energy upgrades that provide multiple benefits, including increased property value and improved comfort, health, safety, and peace of mind. (PDF)

Community Energy Implementation Framework
QUEST, Community Energy Association and Sustainable Prosperity tool, the Community Energy Implementation Framework, helps communities move community energy plans from vision to implementation.

Can You Really Offset Carbon Dioxide You Put in The Atmosphere?
Michigan Radio says the carbon-offsetting market isn't working, with many offsetting projects providing little real impact in environmental terms. Even some offsetting project operators say the practice is, at best, a stop-gap measure and that over time offsetting will need to be made obsolete.

Dittie For Today: On Responsibility

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. - George Bernard Shaw

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© Copyright 2016              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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