Newsletter #141
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
February 1, 2017


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


Here is another special BC Building Info issue on green building and energy efficiency.

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


Ken's Top Pick

Guide To Energy Efficiency Regulations In Canada
Natural Resources Canada lists various details and procedures for energy efficiency regulations for various appliances and building products.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Exponential Growth In Net Zero Energy Buildings Predicted
Building Design & Construction says the global market for products and services related to achieving net zero energy in residential and commercial construction and renovation is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 44.5% between 2014 and 2035, and exceed $1.4 trillion in that last year.

Cost & Education Are Barriers to Net Zero Building
Navigant Research global report shows the technology to achieve net zero energy is available for most building types, but cost and education remain challenges.

Sustainability is Dead. Now What
EcoBuilding says while architects debate on a more meaningful way to carry out net-zero design, the US election suggests that half of the general populace is indifferent.

KB Builds 100,000th Energy Star Home
Builder Magazine says Los Angeles-based production builder KB Homes has hit a milestone in its green building initiatives.

Building for A Changing Climate
Ecohome says the effects of our changing climate aren't just coming anymore, they are here. How and where we build has to change as well.

Building Energy Retrofit Potential in BC
Pembina Institute report Building Energy Retrofit Potential in BC addresses deep energy and emissions reductions from existing building stock. It describes the current state of major building types in the province, and illustrates targets and actions that could help achieve a near-decarbonization of existing buildings by 2050. (PDF)

Green Business Execs Reveal Their Greatest Ambitions for 2017
GreenBiz asked members of their Executive Network what their biggest ambitions are for their company sustainability efforts in 2017.

Built Environment Items in Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change
Government of Canada says the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change approach to the built environment will include (1) making new buildings more energy efficient; (2) retrofitting existing buildings, as well as fuel switching; (3) improving energy efficiency for appliances and equipment; and (4) supporting building codes and energy efficient housing in Indigenous communities.

2. Business Management

2017 Digital Marketing Predictions
Energy Circle provides their top marketing predictions for the coming year, as the digital marketing landscape reshapes.

Tune Up Your Initial Client-Interview Process
Qualified Remodeler says experienced remodelers have developed sophisticated interview processes-systems that begin the moment a phone is answered and end with a decision to meet.

Five Home Performance Skills
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency explains the five skills you need and shouldn't skip to succeed in home performance.

Work on Your Home Performance Business, Not in It
Efficiency First California says if you're constantly putting out fires in your business, you need to find some ways to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Do Homebuyers Want Energy Upgrade Packages?
Insulation Institute says builders, ever eager to meet the desires of their buyers, typically offer a dizzying array of choices in products, finishes and designs to suit a wide variety of styles. Yet seemingly few builders offer consumers a choice in homes at varying energy efficiency targets.

Why Your Training Program Should Focus on Energy Efficiency
Qualified Remodeler says contractors often see positive results when they're able to educate clients as to the potential benefits of efficiency improvements and serve as a resource for homeowners.

Deep Energy Retrofit Guidance
US Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory online Deep Energy Retrofit Guidance document includes specific recommendations for each US climate zone, lessons learned, guidance for the overall retrofit process, controlling costs and increasing cost-effectiveness, fuel switching, occupant behavior, and phased approaches. (PDF)

Canada's Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy
Canadian Government report Canada's Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy outlines an emissions abatement pathway consistent with net emissions falling by 80 per cent in 2050 from 2005 levels. (PDF)

3. Building Design & Trends

Canadian Zero Carbon Pilot Program
Canada Green Building Council is looking for Canadian projects to participate in a two-year immersion program for developers and designers undertaking near-net zero developments in new or existing buildings across Canada.

Making the Case for Prefab Zero-Energy Homes
Green Building Advisor says factory-built homes can exceed the quality of site-built structures, at a lower cost and on a faster timetable.

10 Best Tiny Houses in 2016
CURBED describes 10 of the best tiny houses from 2016, used for everything from housing the homeless to short-term rentals and full-time residences.

End of Stick Construction As We’ve Known It?
Canadian Contractor says traditional home construction methods will be challenged as Canada moves towards lower carbon targets.

North Park Passive House 6-Unit Infill Project on Vancouver Island
Ecohome describes the North Park Passive House, a six-unit urban-infill condominium in Victoria.

10 Green Roof & Wall Trends from 2016
Proud Green Building describes ten of the top green roof trends that emerged over the last 12 months.

Research on Importance of Energy Efficiency in Buildings Sectors
Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency is undertaking Public Opinion Research to measure, the importance of energy efficiency in the industrial and buildings sectors (including public, commercial and institutional sub-sectors) and energy efficiency brand recognition.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Compliance Verification for BC Code Section 9.36
Building Officials Association of BC online Slide show presentation from their Section 9.36 Compliance Verification Workshop covers: Brief Overview of 9.36 Requirements; CNV Compliance Package; Intake check procedure; Prescriptive Path Compliance Verification; Performance Path Compliance Verification; Resources. (PDF)

Canadian Product Energy Efficiency Regulations Updates, 2016 Amendment 13
NRCan says Amendment 13 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations was published in the Canada Gazette, on December 28, 2016 and comes in to force six months after publication on June 28, 2017. These update existing energy efficiency standards for 20 product categories to align with requirements in force or soon to be in force in the US.

Alberta Carbon Levy to Go into Effect
Green Energy Futures says carbon pricing is one way of supporting energy transition without picking winners and losers. And reducing emissions and energy use will make our businesses more competitive in the long run.

Ontario Imposes Tougher Ventilation Requirements
Green Building Advisor says the air tightness and ventilation changes to the Ontario code should be welcomed, but homeowners and builders may not be ready to implement them.

Defining Net-Zero
RDH Building Science discusses how to define net-zero buildings.

Aspen Dumps Energy Rating Index
Energy Vanguard says the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code introduced another pathway for code compliance using what's called the Energy Rating Index. Aspen just adopted the 2015 IECC but they threw out the ERI compliance pathway. Here is the motivation for what they substituted in place of the ERI.

Building Button Standardizes Data for Energy Efficiency Projects
Investor Confidence Project has launched the Building Button, a new initiative that standardizes data from commercial and multifamily energy efficiency projects. The Building Button Specification enables market participants including investors, building owners, and developers to publish, share, amalgamate, and analyze project level data.

5. Building Science & Technology

Building Science of Walls
Online slide show presentation from Building Science describes building science behind the purposes, issues and considerations for exterior walls. (PDF)

Engineered Wood & Sustainable Buildings
Engineered Wood Association bulletin Sustainable Buildings, Sustainable Future describes the environmental benefits of engineered wood products, compares wood to other structural products, and explains scientific research that demonstrates wood's green building merits. Free site registration required.

A Little History of MAD AIR
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency describes how some discoveries and research work over the past four decades, such as Mechanical Air Distribution And Interacting Relationships, have led to our current understanding of air leakage in buildings.

Drainwater Heat Recovery
CMHC says drainwater heat recovery (also known as greywater heat recovery) can be configured in several ways but, in many cases, the hot drainwater passes through a heat exchanger that allows it to preheat the incoming domestic cold water. (PDF)

Phase Change Building Materials in Homes
Ecohome says when a substance melts or solidifies, it absorbs or releases energy. Materials that do that at room temperature can help regulate temperatures in homes.

Reconsidering Carbon Terminology
EcoBuilding Pulse magazine says William McDonough, the renowned architect behind the Cradle-to-Cradle design philosophy, offers new terminology for carbon, the much-maligned element.

6. Building Performance Issues

Okanagan Sustainable Homebuilding Project
Wilden Living Lab is a research and learning project that Wilden partners with UBC, Okanagan College, AuthenTech Homes and Fortis BC. Two homes are being built to different standards and with different components. After families have moved in, the energy efficiency of the various innovations will be monitored over three years.

Health Benefits of Home Performance Upgrades
US Department of Energy report Home Rx: The Health Benefits of Home Performance, shows that home performance upgrades can improve the quality of a home’s indoor environment by reducing the prevalence of harmful indoor air pollutants and contaminants. (PDF)

Return Air Duct Opening Causes Fatal CO Poisoning
BC Safety Authority says West Vancouver fire department responded to a 911 call and discovered four individuals with various degrees of carbon monoxide poisoning in a home. The fire department measured up to 900 parts per million of carbon monoxide in the home’s ambient air. There were no carbon monoxide detectors in the home to alert the residents of the presence of this odorless, colourless gas. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in one fatality.

Calculating Global Warming Impact of Insulation
Energy Vanguard says in general, all insulation types can help mitigate the effects of climate change. Types with the bad blowing agents, however, have limits to their effectiveness.

Solar Panels Can Thrive in Winter Weather
US Department of Energy says while snow accumulation does block some light from reaching the solar circuit, light is still able to move through the snow and forward scattering brings more light to the solar cells than one might expect. So even when panels are completely covered, they can still generate electricity.

Sustainable School Demolished Just Six Years After It Opened
Plymouth Herald says one of Britain's first zero carbon schools built at a cost of £7m has been demolished just six years after it opened, because its sustainable roof constantly leaked.

2016, The Year in Healthy Homes
Tree Hugger says heath and wellness has again become a big deal among architects, who realize that sustainability is about a lot more than just saving energy.

7. Products & Suppliers

BC Restriction on Security Brand Gas & Propane Fireplaces
BC Safety Authority bulletin says the following gas fireplaces manufactured by Security Fireplaces shall not be sold, leased, rented, installed or used in the province of BC: Natural gas and propane models SRGH36, SBGH36 Natural gas and propane models DV73 and DV71 Series marketed under the trade name Oliver Macleod.

Green Building Materials Market Worth Will Reach USD 255 Billion in 2020
Zion Research report Green Building Materials Market for Framing, Insulation, Roofing, Exterior Siding, Interior Finishing and Other Applications says the green building materials market was valued at around USD 127.5 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach USD 255 billion in 2020.

Ten Predictions for Rooftop Solar In 2017
Renewable Energy World makes ten educated guesses about the rooftop solar industry in 2017

GoPro Tour of a Wind Turbine
US Department of Energy online video gives an entertaining look inside a wind turbine. Simon and Andy strap GoPro's to their heads and guide you as they travel 270 feet up to the top of a turbine at the National Wind Technology Center in Golden, CO.

New Light Can Last For 22 Years
Building Design & Construction says a new light from Dyson can last 22 years and uses just 90w of electricity.

Existing & Future Residential Use Cases for Connected Thermostats
US Department of Energy report Existing and Future Residential Use Cases for Connected Thermostats considers how connected thermostats might be used to advance residential energy efficiency efforts. (PDF)

Better Leak Seeking with Fluorescents
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a nontoxic fluorescent air leak detection system that can find cracks in walls and roofs in existing and new buildings. They use a humidifier to release a water-based solution of commercially available riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, supplement against a plywood wall with cracks. When the room was pressurized, tiny vitamin droplets were pulled to the leak points where they accumulated. The vitamins remained invisible unless revealed under ultraviolet light when they fluoresced.

8. Installation & Procedures

Top Trouble Spots for Airtight New Homes
Journal of Light Construction describes how to identify and fix air leaks in new construction.

What’s Wrong with Our New Furnace?
Green Building Advisor discusses why a new furnace, which was sized by a heating contractor, isn't keeping anyone comfortable.

Maintaining a Tankless Water Heater
Journal of Light Construction online video describes a straight-forward procedure to clean a tankless water heater and remove scale, and it works regardless of the unit manufacturer.

How to Drill Level Holes in a Fence Post
Fine Homebuilding online video shows that if you’re having trouble drilling a horizontal hole with an electric drill, try hanging a plumb line from the bit’s shank as you bore the hole.

Questions to Ask A Solar Panel Contractor
Ecohome describes ten things to know that will help you get the best value out of a photovoltaic solar panel system.

Solar Collector Overheat Prevention
PHC News describes the top four fail-proof strategies to maintain solar heating systems and prevent overheating.

Phased Guidance for Deep Energy Retrofits Over Time
US Department of Energy describes how over-time home energy upgrades can occur either with careful planning from the outset, or in a piece-meal fashion as time progresses. They provide guidance to capture the benefits (and limit the risks) of both approaches. (PDF)

New Solutions for Sustainable Stormwater Management in Canada
Smart Prosperity Institute report New Solutions for Sustainable Stormwater Management in Canada provides Canadian local governments with an introduction to stormwater user fees and to the various other tools that they can implement to take an integrated approach to better urban stormwater management through the use of green infrastructure.

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Changes to FortisBC Natural Gas & Propane Rates
FortisBC has received approval from the BC Utilities Commission to change the delivery rate and storage and transport rate that gas customers pay, effective January 1.

Canada’s Mid-Century Strategy Requires Increase in Hydro, Nuclear
Climate Examiner says Canada's plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 envisage a complete clean-up of electricity and an electrification of most processes that require fossil fuel combustion. To do this, a mammoth increase in non-emitting electricity generation, primarily from hydro, will be required.

How to Make Hydropower More Environmentally Friendly
Green Building Advisor says hydropower provides 85 percent of the world’s renewable electricity, but comes with a hefty environmental price tag.

100% Renewable Energy Sources Require Overcapacity
Springer says a report shows that to switch electricity supply from nuclear to wind and solar power is not so simple.

Accounting for Renewable Electricity Savings
Green Building Advisor discusses whether saving energy generated by renewable sources is as important as saving energy generated by fossil fuels.

Is Renewable Energy News at Risk of Becoming Clickbait?
GreenBiz says making wind and solar seem like they’re doing better than they really are could come back to bite them, and the climate.

Natural Gas Is Becoming Less Attractive
Home Energy Magazine says US & Canada have been fortunate to have access to natural gas for space heating, water heating, and other applications. Over the decades, gas supplies have been both reliable and affordable. We also believed that natural gas was clean and environmentally friendly, and was therefore reasonable as the fuel of choice. Sadly, this situation is changing; natural gas is becoming less attractive.

To Improve Wind & Solar Power, Bring Them Together
Green Building Advisor says by combining intermittent renewable energy sources through hybrid projects, developers are taking advantage of the strengths of each.

10. Information Sources

Links to Information On Passive Homes
BC Building Info now has a section for links to information and resources on passive homes.

Canadian Passive House Newsletter
Passive Buildings Canada newsletter provides information and resources on passive buildings standards, technology, industry, and projects.

The Six Best Sustainability Books of 2016
GreenBiz describes six of the best 2016 books to read on climate, cities and more.

Where to Recycle Old Appliances & Electronics
BC Hydro says it's never been easier to sell or trade your older household electronics and appliances to someone who might get some use out of it.

Resource Site on Electric Vehicles
NRCan site has information and resources on electric vehicles.

eeCompass Resource for Evaluating Energy Efficient Appliances
US Department of Energy site eeCompass allows you to evaluate modern consumer appliances and their adherence to energy efficiency requirements.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities offers online resources, including their research and policy database, design standards, and more.

Global Energy Profile in 2040
Business Council of BC says the 2016 IEA World Energy Outlook shows continued growth in global energy demand, although slowing over time largely because of improved energy efficiency and energy intensity in many countries.

11. Conferences & Shows

2017 Wood Solutions Fair in Vancouver
WoodWorks is presenting the 2017 Wood Solutions Fair in Vancouver, February 28 & March 1. This two-day educational event will showcase wood uses in commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-unit residential construction through specifically designed seminar streams, new and current topics and an interactive trade show.

2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference
US Residential Energy Services Network 2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference is a national forum on home energy ratings, existing home retrofits, building codes and energy policy. It will take place in Scottsdale, February 27 - March 1.

Better Buildings: Better Business Conference
The annual Better Buildings: Better Business Conference, held March 1-3 in Wisconsin, presents latest developments in high performance residential buildings.

Nation 2 Nation Forum
Business Council of British Columbia presents the N2N Forum in Vancouver on March 30th. It is open to Business, SME’s, Industry, Government, Contractors and First Nations leaders who are seeking to identify frameworks to help address priorities while working in partnership on resource development in First Nations territories.

Conference on Financing the 12st Century
Globe Capital 2017 is a new summit for leaders to discuss how to mobilize and accelerate the capital necessary to transform our economy. It will be held in Toronto, April 4-5.

12. Education & Training

Additional BC Builder Workshops on Energy Star for New Homes
Community Energy Association is planning some additional workshops in BC to support homebuilders with becoming certified to build ENERGY STAR New Homes. In the winter and spring of 2017 they will be facilitating 4-5 more of these workshops at various locations.

Vancouver Airtightness & Blower Door Training
Small Planet Supply holds their Vancouver Airtightness Training workshops regularly, in Vancouver. This workshop was developed for the City Of Vancouver by the air-tightness experts at RDH Building Sciences, Red Door Energy and Small Planet Supply. Attendees will work with a wide range of air-sealing materials and get a deep understanding of available materials, and how they perform.

Future Residential Energy Systems
UDI breakfast seminar Future Residential Energy Systems will be presented in Vancouver on February 8th. From policy to development, new technologies and finance models, you will discover the opportunities to apply innovative approaches that can change the way we design and build homes to meet the new building regulations for today and tomorrow.

Webinar on Tools to Help Design Building Envelopes for Net Zero Homes
Canadian Home Builders Association webinar Tools to Help Design Building Envelopes for Net Zero Homes will be presented on February 16th. You can learn about some of the tools that energy advisors and builders are using, as each presenter will provide an introduction to their tool, highlighting the key functionality and outputs. You will learn where to access the tools and who to contact for more information. After the presentations, you will have the opportunity to ask questions to the panel.

Panel Discussion on Climate Change and Sustainability
APEGBC presents a panel discussion Climate Change and Sustainability: It's Relevance to Society, in Victoria on February 21st. Each panelist will present a brief 15-20 min presentation followed by an extended question period that is open to all audience members.

Construction Industry Ethics
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association course Construction Industry Ethics will be held in Vancouver on March 1st. It will help you learn how to navigate the ethical grey areas you face every day.

Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Exam Preparation Course
Passive Building Canada is presenting a Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Exam Preparation Course in Victoria on March 11th.

13. Costs & Savings

Operational Gaps Slash Vancouver Green Building Gains
Sustainable Biz Canada says failure to teach green building landlords and tenants how to properly use their systems and technology is undermining government-led sustainability initiatives in commercial real estate.

Running Numbers for Cost of Tesla Solar Roof
Greentech Media digs into the economics of Tesla’s newest solar roof technology, and despite the lack of information it's pretty optimistic about its prospects.

Occupant Health Benefits of Residential Energy Efficiency
E4The Future paper Occupant Health Benefits of Residential Energy Efficiency summarizes reviews of existing research on residential EE measures and associated health impacts, discusses ways that programs monetize occupant health co-benefits, highlights innovative programs that combine EE and health-focused home repairs, and identifies research gaps and strategies to help advance and leverage funding across such integrated efforts. (PDF)

On-Site Storage Is Great Equalizer
Green Building Advisor says energy storage is a new technology that addresses a variety of issues raised by decentralized electricity production.

Tool to Measure Performance Against Other Projects
Arc is a digital platform that allows any project, whether a single building, a community or an entire city, to measure improvements and benchmark against itself and projects around it.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

BC Home Renovation Rebate Program: Limited-Time Top-Up Offer of Up To $250
Electrically heated homes can get up to $250 in rebate top-ups from the BC Home Renovation Rebate Program between February 1 – March 31, 2017. New program participants are eligible for an additional $100 rebate, and previous participants are eligible for an additional rebate of $250.

Expanded Vancouver Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant
Vancouver Heritage Foundation upgraded Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant is designed to assist with energy retrofits and water efficiency measures that will improve comfort and reduce energy consumption, water use, and running costs in ways compatible with the conservation of heritage fabric and character elements.

Pilot Thermal Imaging Program 2016
Vancouver is launching a Thermal Imaging Pilot Project to assist homeowners to understand heat loss in single family homes.

Setting the PACE for Consumer Protection
Home Energy Magazine says residential PACE (property assessed clean energy), an innovative solution for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, is being led by a set of industry mavens seeking to realize the promise of this public–private partnership. Specifically, industry stakeholders have come together to create a set of consumer protection standards that ensure homeowners reap the full benefits of PACE while safeguarding against predatory behavior in this nascent market.

PACE Creates Jobs & Energizes Local Economies
Renewable Energy World describes how one business owner offering PACE to his customers has led to a much happier kitchen-table conversation, alleviating customer concerns about re-roofing costs and ultimately increasing his business by 20 percent.

Current Practices in US Efficiency Financing
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab report Current Practices in Efficiency Financing, is a guide to all customer-facing financing products, products offered by a lender directly to a borrower, used to pay for energy efficiency. (PDF)

Incorporating Existing Homes into Carbon Reduction Strategies
US Home Performance Coalition report A Policymaker’s Guide to Incorporating Existing Homes into Carbon Reduction Strategies and Clean Power Plan outlines ways existing homes are a key aspect to carbon reductions strategies, with details on how they complement the Clean Power Plan. (PDF)

Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership
Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership is a US industry-led project to help America's building owners and tenants implement effective energy-saving strategies in their leased building space and unlock billions of dollars in savings.


Dittie For Today: On Nature

Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain. - Frank Lincoln [Lloyd] Wright


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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