Newsletter #147
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 27, 2017


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends
2. Business Management
3. Building Design & Trends
4. Codes Standards & Regulations
5. Building Science & Technologies
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

Standard Work Specifications for Insulation in Home Energy Upgrades
US Department of Energy online Standard Work Specifications for installing insulation in home energy upgrades cover attics, walls, floors, basements & crawlspaces, ducts, and more.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

2016 Zero Energy Buildings Inventory
Net-Zero Energy Coalition online 2016 Zero Energy Residential Buildings Report contains insights into the industry, what is propelling the 33% growth, and data indicators for what is on the horizon.

Canadian Households & Environmental Engagement
Statistics Canada describes how millions of households across Canada are volunteering to conserve and protect the environment.

Bryn Davidson: Green Buildings Are More Than Brick & Mortar
Bryn Davidson online TEDx video discusses how green buildings can make a difference, but only if we start asking the right questions. If we can start to see the whole story of how our buildings impact the climate then we can start to make strides toward real net-positive change.

Clean Tech Gamble Is Risky Business
Fraser Institute says a recent report on the state of Canada’s clean technology industry from a group named Analytica Advisors suggests that governments may be risking taxpayer dollars on misguided green dreams. Despite governmental promises, the green sector is bleeding out quite a lot of red.

The State of Our Union
Green Building Advisor says we are dense-packed, double-walled, foam-wrapped, solarized, subsidized, over-engineered, data-driven, and somewhat divided. While we each may focus on our individual specialties, we still have to check ourselves against a higher set of standards and make sure we are not doing more harm than good.

Architects Show Leadership in Addressing Climate Change
Green Building Advisor says this is the time and place for architects to lead on climate change.

No Shortage of Home Performance Jobs
Energy Vanguard says there will not be a shortage of home performance jobs because new homes are still being built and sold with plenty of home performance problems.

Is Suniva Bankruptcy a Canary in Coal Mine for Solar?
Renewable Energy World says Suniva, a US-based manufacturer of solar cells, declared bankruptcy. This bankruptcy is about the loss of jobs, incomes, hopes and dreams just as the bankruptcies of SunEdison, Suntech, SatCon, Sungevity and so many others were about the loss of livelihoods. Consolidation is an appropriate yet cold term for what is likely to happen in the global solar industry.

2. Business Management

Home Energy Information Guide for Realtors
US Council of Multiple Listing Services online Home Energy Information Guide assists real estate professionals in understanding how to provide home energy information and can facilitate multiple listing services delivering of verified data. (PDF)

10 Questions Clients Can Ask a Prospective Home Builder
Energy Vanguard says hiring a builder is arguably one of the most important decisions, so here are some questions a client can ask prospective builders to find out how likely they are to do things the right way.

Dawning of Age of Affordable Net Zero Homes
Green Energy Futures says Landmark Homes of Edmonton has announced one of the lowest-priced net-zero homes in Canada. The Pisa sells for $399,737 all in (incl. GST), a real breakthrough in the evolution of buildings that produce all their own energy on a net-annual basis.

Energy-Efficient Design Has Moves Beyond a Marketing Hook
Multi Housing News says whether you’re talking about materials, certification, or leasing potential, energy efficiency is just as much about smart building as it is about being green.

An Introduction to Remodeling for Healthy Homes
Remodeling magazine says the next big trend could be something homeowners can feel, but not see, healthy homes.

Does Multi-Gen Trend Have Legs?
Builder Magazine describes the learning and discovery that is part of the Meritage reNEWable Living Home development process.

Energy Auditing As Stand-Alone Business Model
Home Energy Pros forum discusses the viability of energy auditing as a stand-alone business model.

EPA Investigating Home Depot Over Compliance with Lead-Paint Rule
Remodeling magazine says past big-box cases regarding rules for lead paint have involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties.

3. Building Design & Trends

2017 FortisBC Efficiency in Action Award Winners
FortisBC presents their 2017 Efficiency in Action Award winners. They awarded 11 recipients who have shown innovation in using or building with natural gas to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and help meet climate action goals.

1st Certified Passive House PLUS to Start in Vancouver
Wire Service says the City of Vancouver is getting its first Passive House PLUS project combining high energy efficiency and electric energy production in a single family residence.

Passive House from Idea to Reality
Journal of Commerce summarizes a presentation by CSV Architects on the Delivery of Passive House from Idea to Reality session at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's recent Festival of Architecture.

Owners Account of Building Passive House & LEED
Ecohome presents an owner/builders account of how they build a home targeting both Passive House and LEED.

Passive House is Reaching Beyond its Housing Roots
Construction Dive says at the 2017 New York Passive House Conference and Expo architects, engineers, policy experts, analysts and others discussed the future of the method in the US. That group is looking beyond single-family houses to how projects like schools, hospitals and high-rise towers can use Passive House.

Could Passivhaus High-Rise Become the Norm?
Building Green says a report indicates that designing tall urban residential buildings to the Passivhaus standard is achievable and worth the added cost.

Micro Apartments
CMHC describes micro apartments, an interesting option for those who are seeking to get a foot on the property ladder and would otherwise be unable to in locations where soaring prices have put homes out of their reach. (PDF)

5 Trends in Sustainable Water & Stormwater Management
Smart Prosperity Institute describes how five Canadian municipalities are exploring exciting new ways to provide water and stormwater services to their communities.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Energy Step Code Discussed at Renewable Cities Conference
CHBA Technical Research Committee Chair Bob Deeks of RDC Fine Homes talks about the Energy Step Code in this story from Whistler newspaper, The Pique.

BC Step Code & Unintended Consequences
Victoria Residential Builders Association says the BC Step Code undermines housing affordability and consumer protection by fast-tracking higher energy efficiency in new homes that are already energy efficient.

Applying for Permit for Solar Photovoltaic Panels in Vancouver
City of Vancouver describes how to apply for a permit for a residential solar photovoltaic panel system.

Canada Green Building Council & GBCI Announce Credentialing Partnership
Canada Green Building Council and GBCI have signed an agreement in principle to form a Canadian joint venture called Green Business Certification Inc. Canada. Beginning in early 2018, GBCI Canada will deliver certification and professional credentialing services for LEED v4, WELL, SITES, PEER, Parksmart, Zero Waste and GRESB.

Thermal Performance Requirements for Concrete Enclosure Walls
RDH online guide Meeting and Exceeding Building Code Thermal Performance Requirements provides a brief introduction to compliance options for modern building codes, and details calculation methods suitable for quickly estimating, at an early design stage, the thermal performance of concrete enclosure wall systems. (PDF)

UL & Intertek Partner with Homebuilders in Energy Rating Program
Energy Vanguard says Underwriters Laboratories and Intertek are working with the Florida Home Builders Association to certify home energy ratings, blower door tests, duct leakage tests, and other parts of the state energy code in Florida.

Poor Implementation Undermines Carbon Tax Efficiency in Canada
Fraser Institute study of Poor Implementation Undermines Carbon Tax Efficiency in Canada finds that the theoretical benefits of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems (that they can lower emissions and improve the economy at the same time) are negated by poor implementation such as layering these schemes on top of, instead of replacing existing regulations.

Climate Policies for Buildings
Taylor & Francis discusses whether or not there is sufficient policy literacy within the built environment community to convincingly engage with policy-makers and policy formulation to play an active role in generating, explaining and evaluating policy options.

5. Building Science & Technology

Recent Building Science Slide Show Presentations
Building Science has added new online slide show presentations from their recent Building Science Fundamentals course.

Another Down Year for Heating Degree Days
Energy Vanguard says it's been another down year for heating degree days, and points to a trend since 2010.

Geo Key to Delivering Renewable Energy
HPAC magazine describes features, benefits and considerations for geothermal heating systems.

Pathways to Net-Zero Buildings Retrofit
RDH Building Science online slide show presentations cover carbon neutral apartment retrofits and options for retrofit regulations at time of renovations.

Static & Dynamic Modeling Tools
Passive Buildings Canada online video begins to explain the two types of energy modeling, static and dynamic.

Reconciling Design Energy Models with Real World Results
Building Design & Construction explores the benefits and challenges of energy modeling and how design firms can implement standards for the highest possible accuracy.

Bathtub Refinisher Deaths Renew Debate
Healthy Indoors says US federal and state agencies have attributed the deaths of at least 17 bathtub refinishers since 2000 to the workers’ exposure to the paint stripper methylene chloride, prompting government actions.

Organics Recycling
Dovetail report Organics Recycling describes issues and considerations for addressing food waste and improving sustainability. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Pre-Retrofit Assessment of Combustion Appliances
US Department of Energy describes how to determine venting and combustion air sources for older model fuel-fired combustion appliances that use air within the home for combustion.

Gaps in Energy Consumption for Household Groups & Building Characteristics
Taylor & Francis reports that the use of combinations of occupant characteristics instead of individual occupant characteristics provides new insights into the influence of the occupant on energy demand.

Why Green Buildings Don’t Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency
Yale Environment 360 says there is a problem with inept green building modeling systems that fail to capture how buildings really work.

Potential Toxins in Common Products
Green Building Advisor says regulations can’t keep up with the barrage of potentially dangerous contaminants entering the market.

Health Impacts of Ambient Fragrances in Homes
Ecohome says not to try to mask the smell of airborne contaminants with more airborne contaminants.

Tuning Up DHW Systems in High-Rise Residential Buildings
CMHC online guide Tuning Up DHW Systems in High-Rise Residential Buildings describes how to tune up gas, electric and oil fired DHW tanks and DHW circulation pumps & motors, and how to adjust DHW temperature and pressure. (PDF)

Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings
Fire Protection Research Foundation report Fire Safety Challenges of Green Buildings provides information on the intersection of green building design and fire safety and to identify gaps and specific research needs associated with understanding and addressing fire risk and hazards with green building design. (PDF)

Green-Energy Cladding Tied to London Tower Inferno Is Wrong
Tree Hugger says it is so unfortunate that it takes such a horrible tragedy to make architects and builders and code writers and building authorities get off their collective asses and do something, but this disaster is going to cause massive change and disruption in the industry worldwide.

7. Products & Suppliers

2017 Energy Star Canada Awards Winners
Natural Resources Canada lists the 14 organizations that won the 2017 Energy Star Canada Awards for advancing energy efficiency.

Choosing High-Efficiency LED Lighting
Green Building Advisor says sorting through the specs for commercially available LEDs takes some patience.

Carbon Fact Sheet on Wood
Canadian Wood Council says a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks while producing timber, fibre, or energy, generates the largest sustained benefit to mitigate climate change. (PDF)

Google Plan to Make Our Buildings Less Poisonous
Fast Company says the Google-designed Portico platform features a product database organized by manufacturer, product category, and whether the product meets LEED and Living Building Challenge standards. Google also devised a numerical scoring metric according to how well the manufacturer discloses ingredients.

Paving the Way for Efficient Light Bulb in Every Socket
Green Building Advisor describes how a 13-year transition to more efficient bulbs will save US consumers more than $10 billion a year.

Design Products for Circular Economy
GreenBiz says the quickest and most effective route to a circular economy can be found in a blend of longer-lasting products combined with innovative, closed-loop product resource ecosystems. This would give businesses the flexibility they need to incorporate the methods that best work for their operations, while bringing them closer to a zero-waste goal.

Energy Efficiency a Major Australian Smart Home Market Driver
Energy Matters says the global smart home market was valued at around $24.10 billion last year and is expected to reach approximately $53.45 billion in 2022, achieving a compound annual growth rate of slightly above 14.5 per cent between 2017 and 2022. They say a major growth driver for the smart home market is growing awareness among consumers about electricity consumption and energy efficiency.

Planned Research into Connected Home IoT Energy Roadmap
Continental Automated Buildings Association has announced a landmark research project to create a Connected Home IoT Energy Roadmap. The roadmap will provide a comprehensive examination of all the major aspects of energy in the smart home, including: state of the market, key industry players, business opportunities, technical barriers and opportunities, future market direction, issues, case studies and industry recommendations.

8. Installation & Procedures

Insulating Skylight Shaft Walls
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing insulation and an air barrier around skylight shafts.

Defeating Thermal Bridging
Canadian Contractor says high R-value gains in walls are wasted when thermal bridges are overlooked.

Insulating Walls with Dense Packed Cellulose
Dr Energy Saver online video shows how to insulate walls with dense packed cellulose.

Plan & Prep Your Building Air Leakage Test
Morrison Hershfield describes the importance of thinking through the air leakage testing process early in project design.

Energy Audits Carried Out by Sensor Suitcase
Journal of Commerce says owners of small commercial buildings often don't have the resources to hire an energy-efficiency professional to do an energy audit. But now that can be done using a high-tech suitcase.

Carpenter Guide to HRVs In Alaska
Cold Climate Housing Research Center online Heat Recovery Ventilator Guide for Carpenters describes design and installation considerations for HRVs in Alaska. (PDF)

Heat Recovery & Energy Recovery Ventilators Guide for Property Managers
CMHC online guide Heat Recovery & Energy Recovery Ventilators Guide for Property Managers covers basic understanding of HRV and ERV, how to make it run efficiently, and how to keep it in good condition. (PDF)

FCM Offers Municipality Access to Regional Climate Advisors
Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities have announced a new initiative connecting municipalities with local environmental experts. The Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program regional climate advisors offer a range of services and direct, on the ground support tailored specifically to the needs of municipalities locally.

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Scientists Map Full Scale of BC Wave Energy Potential
Climate Examiner says BC now has sufficient detailed information about the height, frequency and direction of its coastal waves to start developing and testing its own wave energy converters in the ocean.

Tesla Solar Roof Is Finally Available to Buy
Renewable Energy World says Tesla is opening up its online store for its solar roof tiles.

RMI Scales Community Solar Across US
GreenBiz says community-scale solar can be a particularly good fit for electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, organizations that may not have the energy demand for large, utility-scale systems. Such small utilities often operate electric grids in rural areas where community-scale solar can add particular value: reduce costs of energy; provide a hedge against rising fuel prices; defer grid investments; and meet member demand for renewables.

24-7 Renewable Energy Is Easier Said Than Done
Smart Electric Power Alliance says to truly achieve 100 percent renewables at all times, corporations and cities now announcing these types of goals will have to couple their solar and wind purchases with adequate amounts of storage and other distributed energy resources to keep the electrons flowing even when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing.

Reality of Canada’s Renewable Revolution
Fraser Institute says non-hydro renewables start from a very low baseline of both capacity and generation, and that new capacity promised in climate action plans across Canada may or may not turn into generation of actual power.

Why We Still Need to Discuss Grid Defection
Green Building Advisor says that because grid defection is a relatively new topic for the industry, we must proceed with humility and openness to contrasting views. However it’s important to clarify misconceptions regarding the research conducted to date on this topic and its consequences for the electricity ecosystem.

Retail Leader Buckles Down on EV Range Anxiety
Canadian Property Management says Cadillac Fairview is ramping up a low carbon initiative. Their national electric vehicle charging program will add 45 networked chargers at 15 shopping centres across Canada.

Fuel Cell Microgrids Are on the Rise
Microgrid Knowledge says fuel cell microgrids are on the rise, the result of a natural pairing of two technologies, fuel cells and microgrids, that serve a mutual mission. Together, they meet today’s demand for energy that is cost-competitive, highly reliable, clean, quiet, contained, modular, scalable and community-friendly.

10. Information Sources

Canadian Consumer Site for Net Zero Homes
Canadian Home Builders Association has launched a new consumer website that describes features and benefits of net zero homes.

Principles of Emergent Leadership for Green Building Community
GreenBiz provides excerpts from the book Principles of Emergent Leadership for Green Building Community. It says to achieve a full-throated adoption of green building concepts, the incremental progress we have made, though laudable, needs to be accelerated. And to do that, we need to offer a different kind of leadership.

Purchasable Musings of an Energy Nerd
Martin Holladay’s new book, Musings of an Energy Nerd, is filled with the in-depth information that builders, designers, and homeowners need to make homes more energy-efficient. $25 USD

Legends of Home Performance Industry
Home Energy online videos feature interviews with some of the legends of the home performance industry.

Passivhaus Background Part 2
Passive Buildings Canada online video provides Part 2 of a short history of Passivhaus.

Energy & Environmental Information Hub
BOMA BC online Energy & Environmental Information Hub is a place where you can find real world examples of sustainability initiatives and get insight into how these projects were implemented, things to be cautious of, and key elements to ensure your project is successful.

Environment & Climate Change Canada Library Services
Environment and Climate Change Canada Library Services provides related information resources and services to Canadians.

Toward Canada’s Climate Goals
Smart Prosperity Institute paper Toward Canada’s Climate Goals: The Policy Research Agenda for Getting to 2030 and Beyond sees a need for more analysis to underpin the development of policies that support emissions reduction and clean economic growth, with the wellbeing of Canadians at heart. (PDF)

11. Conferences & Shows

Highlights from International Passive House Conference 2017
RDH Passive House Team members attended the 2017 International Passive House Conference and offer their top three highlights and lessons.

North American Passive House Conference 2017
The 2017 North American Passive House Conference will be held in Seattle, September 27th to October 1st. It is the leading passive building conference for climate-specific zero energy design, construction, and building science expertise.

Net Positive Symposium 2017 In Vancouver
International Living Future Institute and Passive House Canada will host a one-day Net Positive Symposium focused on the connections between net zero energy and passive house ideas, techniques and technologies. It will be held in Vancouver on October 30th.

Green Building Virtual Expo: Online Product Trade Show
Green Building Expo is an online show that will be held in cyberspace on November 1st, 2017 and continuing for 6 months. It is budget-friendly for participating exhibitors and free for attendees.

12. Education & Training

New Westminster Builder Training Subsidy For High Performance Home Course
Energy Save New West is pleased to announce a limited number of subsidies for local New Westminster builders and tradespersons to attend BCIT’s CESA 1500 – High Performance Building Course. This five-day course provides the knowledge and practical hands-on skills that home builders, trades, and designers need to build to the Passive House standard; an internationally recognized ultra-low energy standard.

Vancouver Airtightness Training
Small Planet Supply is holding their next Vancouver Airtightness Training workshop on July 8th. This all-day workshop is designed to help builders meet the Vancouver airtightness requirement of 3.5 ACH50 for Part 9 (SFR) buildings.

Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings
Passive House Canada presents Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings course in Vancouver on July 8th. This full-day seminar will provide an overview of high-performance building enclosures that are being designed and constructed for buildings across North America, ranging from single-family homes to large commercial buildings. This course delivers value for both Passive House professionals and those wishing to learn about high performance buildings.

Foundations of Effective Selling
Building Performance Institute webinar Moments of Truth and Foundations of Effective Selling will be presented on July 12th. It will explore some simple things your competitors get wrong that you can get right to generate more leads, more sales, happier customers, and higher profits.

Construction 101
VRCA course Construction 101 will be presented in Vancouver, July 5-6. It is intended for both new and experienced members of the construction industry. Participants will receive an introduction to the industry and learn about roles, responsibilities, construction documents, risk management, legal matters, project management, tendering, bidding and contracts.

Solar Energy from Fundamentals to Practice
APEGBC course Solar Energy: From Fundamentals to Practice will be presented in Kelowna on September 18th. It covers the fundamentals of PV solar with the objective to understand how to implement a successful solar project in BC.

Online Course on Duct Diagnostics & Repair
Air Conditioning Contractors of America online certificate course Duct Diagnostics and Repair is a 3.5-hour online video series that provides guidance that is intended to provide a working knowledge of heating and cooling duct systems, an understanding of the major issues concerning efficiency, comfort, health, safety, and practical tips on diagnostics, installation and repair of duct systems.

13. Costs & Savings

Free Energy Benchmarking Tools
FortisBC helps you access free energy benchmarking tools to help you identify energy efficiency improvements and reduce costs.

Savings Using Low-Solar & High-Solar Gain Glazings
Natural Resources Canada lessons from the field include the observation that energy efficiency benefits are dependent on the mode of operation, orientation and climate, and that combinations of glazing (e.g., LSG on the north, HSG on the south) can generate the best results.

What’s Driving Cost of Residential Solar-Plus-Storage
Green Building Advisor says costs for PV systems that include battery storage are still high, but the residential market is expected to grow at an increasing rate.

Solar PV Life Cycle Dilemma
Renewable Energy World says in essence, electric utilities simply do not buy 20- to 25-year energy generation technologies. It is simply not practical or profitable to build a 25-year coal, nuclear, oil, gas or hydro project. There could be a message in this for the solar PV industry, where the present 20- to 25-year model is an anomaly that is slowing progress for the industry on our road to maturity. While price pressure has driven the industry thus far, is it possible that a number of important issues have been ignored?

Simple Retrofit High-Efficiency Natural Gas Water Heater Field Test
US Department of Energy report Simple Retrofit High-Efficiency Natural Gas Water Heater Field Test summarizes research of four high efficiency natural gas water heaters. They were designed specifically for retrofit applications and were installed in single-family homes along with detailed monitoring systems to characterize their savings potential, their installed efficiencies, and their ability to meet household demands. (PDF)

US Bipartisan House Bill Promotes Cost-Effective Energy Savings
US National Association of Home Builders says bipartisan legislation was introduced to encourage energy efficiency in buildings while ensuring that home builders and home owners are not burdened by unreasonable regulations.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

Built Green New Home Projects Qualify for Fortis BC Rebates
Built Green projects will be eligible for incentives provided by Fortis BC if their project meets the Energy Star for New Homes Standard and is a natural gas or electrically heated home in the FortisBC electric service territory.

Potential Results of Vancouver Residential Thermal Imaging Program
Green Building Advisor discusses the potential value of the City of Vancouver program that helps homeowners find sources of wasted energy, using thermal imaging to show heat loss in roughly 15,000 homes in five neighborhoods.

Directory of Energy Efficiency & Alternative Energy Programs in Canada
NRCan offers an on-line search of programs to promote the efficient use or conservation of energy at the end-use level and/or the use of alternative energy in Canada. It covers programs offered by the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, major Canadian municipalities and major electric and gas utilities and companies.

Earnest Energy Efficiency Programs Will Not Engage Millennials
Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance report Engaging Millennials says millennials have expectations that an energy efficiency program has clarity, that it makes a difference and be grounded in verifiable fact. When you tell them something they will check to see if it’s true. Millennials are motivated by a desire for financial independence first, and then by environmental concerns. So, energy efficiency is not rejected, it’s just not a top priority.

Key Ingredients for Whole-House Residential Retrofit Programs
Advanced Energy says programs containing these four key attributes – low complexity/high energy-use homes, streamlined home energy assessments, high-quality installations and on-bill financing – have resulted in high energy savings, high customer satisfaction, high participation and low default rates.

Solar Leasing Continues to Lose Share to Loans
Renewable Energy World says recently released data demonstrates the increasing trend of consumers electing to purchase solar vs. lease.

Green Bonds, Why You Should Care About the Massive Uptick
Energy Collective says green bonds are good for business, good for taxpayers, and good for the environment.

What Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About PACE
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says the Wall Street Journal recently published an article calling PACE the fastest growing loan category. But in the same article, it ominously compared PACE to the subprime mortgage crisis. If true, this would certainly merit even more attention, this time from regulators and possibly even law enforcement. Fortunately, it's not.


Dittie For Today: On Work

Don't just let your work make something for you; let it make something of you. - Jim Rohn


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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