Newsletter #150
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
September 6, 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

BC Ministry Mandate Letters with Climate & Energy Priorities
Community Energy Association summarizes key points in the new Ministry Mandate Letters to various Cabinet Ministers to guide their term in public office. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

2017 Building Science Summer Camp Wrap-up
Energy Vanguard provides a review of happenings at the recent 2017 Building Science Summer Camp.

Canadian Progress Report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Business Council of BC says the National Energy Board report comparative ranking clearly shows that those provinces with large increases in population and GDP were less successful in cutting GHG emissions. Of interest, emissions declined in BC, despite this province’s relatively high growth in population and modest GDP growth over the 2005-2015 period.

Wind Turbine Factory Closure Prompts Questions About Energy Planning
Climate Examiner says the social, economic and potential environmental fall-out from a wind turbine factory closure has Ontario engineers calling for more depoliticised clean energy system planning.

Infographic of Build Smart Canada’s Buildings Strategy
NRCan Infographic describes Build Smart Canada’s Buildings Strategy. (PDF)

Build Smart Canada’s Buildings Strategy 2017
NRCan online report Build Smart Canada’s Buildings Strategy describes the initiative that is a key driver of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. (PDF)

Increased Energy Efficiency Could Lower Energy Demand in Canada
If Canada were to pursue energy efficiency improvements more aggressively, it could reduce its energy consumption by up to 15 per cent by 2035, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.

10 Suggestions to Increase Energy Efficiency Investments
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy discusses approaches that could increase energy efficiency investments in the future.

The Truth About Al Gore's Carbon Footprint
Energy Vanguard article and discussion includes various opinions about the situation and issues around the carbon footprint of Al Gore, since his new climate change movie has come out.

2. Business Management

Green Homes in Austin Worth an Extra $25,000
Builder Magazine says a study finds that new homes built to a LEED standard command an 8% premium in resale value compared to conventional homes.

Green House Hunting
Advanced Energy says a green home is any home that meets or exceeds an Energy Star Rating of 5+, and has other features that increase the health, sustainability, comfort, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness that a home should attain.

Telling the Home Performance Story
IE3 says you need to tell the home performance story to sell the services to your customers. But to get the story right you need to listen to what your customers are telling you.

How to Know Home Performance Contracting
Building Performance Podcast features Hap Haven of US Green Home talking about where home performance contractors come from and where we're going (and how not to crash and burn on the way there).

Public Sector Needs to Refresh Brand to Attract Best Talent
Conference Board of Canada says public sector organizations need to rebrand and communicate the value of public sector careers to attract and retain the future workforce.

Customer Service, Or Dissatisfaction
Qualified Remodeler says a major mistake most companies commit is that they often treat customers and clients as if they're all the same. Only by honoring their individuality can you hope to build lasting rapport.

Words of Wisdom Can Guide the Way
PM Engineer article by industry veteran Dan Holohan provides some insights into improving your personal and business world.

Canadian Green Trade Opportunities
Conference Board of Canada expects that actively engaging in green trade would allow Canadian clean-tech firms to capture the benefits of both the green economy and of international trade and investment.

3. Building Design & Trends

Vancouver Heritage Foundation Survey on Energy Efficiency in Heritage Projects
Vancouver Heritage Foundation is conducting a survey regarding heritage and character residential projects in the City of Vancouver, including permits and processing, and energy efficiency requirements. They particularly want to reach professionals who work on residential projects involving older buildings.

Approaching Challenges of Sustainable Home Design
Builder Magazine says traditional practices will need to be disrupted to design for the future.

Nine Quick Ways to Find Out If You Understand Sustainable Design
Building Green asked architects how they evaluate someone’s sustainability literacy in a single question.

Tradeoffs of Building Green
Healthy Indoors online video walks through all the geeky decisions a homeowner made when building a green new house, looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think.

To Net Zero & Beyond
Green Building Advisor discusses where we are, really, with zero-energy homes in the US and Canada.

Builder Takes Straw Bale Construction to School
Passive Buildings Canada describes how an Ontario green builder supplied modular straw bale schoolhouses to the Pinoleville Pomo Nation in northern California.

Integrated Energy Modeling Through Dynamic Visualization
CMHC factsheet Integrated Energy Modeling Through Dynamic Visualization describes benefits that Dynamic Visualization brings to the Integrated Design Process, allowing parametric energy modeling simulations of various design criteria and considerations to be mapped and evaluated against project goals and objectives. (PDF)

PHPP & WUFI Modeling Tools
Passive Buildings Canada online video discusses the two primary Passivhaus modeling tools, PHPP & WUFI.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Energy Step Code Best Practices Guide for Local Governments
BC Energy Step Code, Best Practices Guide for Local Governments describes how they can follow new energy code practices and processes for the benefit of all. (PDF)

Online Video Showing Benefits of Energy Step Code
Energy Save New West online video describes benefits of the new BC Energy Step Code.

Is BC Energy Step Code Too Much, Too Fast?
Canadian Contractor says the CEO of the Victoria Residential Builders Association has been particularly outspoken and direct in expressing his views regarding the Step Code’s shortcomings. He explains his position and proposes a more sensible path towards the province’s Net Zero Energy objective.

Online Tool to Design MURBs To BC Energy Step Code
Building PathFinder online tool allows you to visually explore a range of design options to assess their impacts on building performance, within the context of the BC Step Code. Right now it only includes Vancouver climate and MURBs, but others climates will be added shortly.

Air Tightness in City of Vancouver
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation describes air tightness requirements in the City of Vancouver. (PDF)

Proposed Canadian Energy Standards for Windows, Heating, DHW
NRCan report Market Transformation Strategies for Energy-Using Equipment in Building Sector outlines goals over the short, medium and long term for energy performance levels for residential windows, space heating and water heating equipment. (PDF)

Canadian Windows Market Transformation Strategy Underway
Natural Resources Canada is currently working on a long-term strategy to increase the energy performance of residential windows by accelerating the development of new technologies and the adoption of existing ones.

Federal-Provincial Collaboration on Energy Efficiency Standards
NRCan report Encouraging Market Transformation Through Collaboration on Energy Efficiency Standards, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Action Plans describes plans for collaboration on energy efficiency standards, including joint priorities for new and updated standards, and areas to improve regulatory development, implementation and transparency. (PDF)

5. Building Science & Technology

Glossary of Zero Energy Terms for Real Estate Professionals
Zero Energy Project provides an online glossary of zero energy terms for real estate professionals.

Raised-Heel Trusses
Energy Vanguard describes design and installation considerations for raised-heel trusses.

Insulating a New House
Green Building Advisor discusses the best way to insulate exterior walls in a new build in Ontario.

Super-Insulated Housing in Yukon
CMHC report Documentation of Super-Insulated Housing in Yukon evaluated performance and return on investment of 10 homes, and recorded lessons learned by their builders.

Canadian History of Airtightness in Buildings
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation describes a history of airtightness in Canadian buildings. (PDF)

Building & Testing Airtight Buildings
BC Building Envelope Council online seminar slide show presentation describes impacts and lessons learned from building and testing airtight buildings. (PDF)

Integrated Air & Water Barrier Systems
WoodWorks online course presentation Integrated Air & Water Barrier Systems provides guidance for architects, specifiers, waterproofing contractors, and other professionals considering use and advantages in the selection or specification of air and water barriers for the design and installation of integrated structural panel and air and water barrier systems. (PDF)

Surface Temperature & Potential for Condensation & Mold
Passive Buildings Canada online video describes the concept of internal surface temperature and it's potential for condensation & mold

6. Building Performance Issues

Fusing Green & Universal Design
Green Building Advisor says green and universal are two design approaches that are totally compatible.

Online Guide for Improving Water Efficiency at Home
American Society of Landscape Architects online resource guide on improving water efficiency through sustainable residential landscape architecture contains research, projects, and resources on how to better manage water at home.

Choosing Between Wood, Concrete, Steel Structures
Ecohome provides a life cycle analysis of the three major materials used as structural support for buildings.

Fire Resistance of Exterior Cladding Materials
RCI says virtually any exterior wall system that is constructed with combustible materials today is subject to ignition under the right circumstances. However, the increased use of foam plastic for insulation and other types of construction has increased the amount of combustible materials that are in these wall systems.

Air Pollution Casts Shadow Over Solar Energy Production
Duke Pratt School of Engineering says a study shows airborne particles and their accumulation on solar cells is cutting energy output by more than 25 percent in certain parts of the world.

Measuring Passive House Energy Performance
Green Building Advisor says monitoring data from two Passive House projects shows the gap between predicted results and actual energy use.

Construction Waste Management
Whole Building Design Guide describes some of the many opportunities that exist for the beneficial reduction and recovery of construction materials that would otherwise be destined for disposal as waste.

Solving Ozone Problem Remains Elusive
Yale E360 says despite a ban on chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons, the ozone hole over Antarctica remains nearly as large as it did when the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987. Scientists now warn of new threats to the ozone layer, including widespread use of ozone-eating chemicals not covered by the treaty.

7. Products & Suppliers

Evaluating & Selecting Green Products
Whole Building Design Guide describes some green product resources and tools that exist to assist project teams in making appropriate, informed evaluations and selections.

Using Sound to Measure Airtightness
Green Building Advisor describes how SonicLQ speaker projects low-frequency sound from the interior to the exterior enclosure. The sound makes its way through leakage sites to be both quantified and located by the microphone array. The array sends received acoustic data wirelessly to the tablet for processing and expression of results.

Multifamily Pros Choose Next-Gen Products for Greater Efficiency
Multifamily Executive Magazine says energy efficiency and improved performance are just two of the drivers moving the needle toward next-generation products for multifamily construction.

Optimization of Space Heating Control in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
CMHC study Interval Data Optimization of Space Heating Control in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings examined a new approach that uses the feedback from interval data to optimize building heating system performance of seven multi-unit residential buildings with central, natural gas-fired, space heating boiler systems. An average 33% reduction in space heating was achieved. (PDF)

Researcher Sees Future for Flax & Hemp as Particleboard Alternative
University of BC wood scientist Solace Sam-Brew envisions a future where Canadian homes are furnished with products made from flax and hemp.

Sheep Wool Insulation Seen as Sustainable Option
REMI says wool insulation, made from the remnants of sheering sheep, is increasingly finding its way into commercial and residential buildings across the world, in countries like New Zealand, Scandinavia and even Canada.

World’s First Solar Roadway Opens
Curbed says Wattway is hoped to be able to generate enough energy to power all of the street lights in the town of 3,400 residents.

8. Installation & Procedures

Extra-Deep Roof Framing
Fine Homebuilding describes how the ProHOME includes a clever approach to creating 20-inch-deep rafter bays for extra dense-pack cellulose insulation.

Planning Rainwater Harvesting
Plumbing Heating Cooling & Piping says the devil is in the details when planning rainwater harvesting.

Sealed & Insulated Flex Ducts
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing sealed and insulated flex ducts.

The Joy of Flex
Energy Vanguard describes key factors in the design and installation of flex ducts.

Sealed & Insulated Metal Ducts
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing sealed and insulated metal ducts.

Handy Hose for Air Sealing with Spray Foam
Fine Homebuilding online video describes a simple, handy hose for air sealing with spray foam.

Optimizing Home Insulation System During Remodel
Remodeling magazine describes how to assess the existing insulation and determine if updating it would improve the energy efficiency of a home.

Bathroom & Kitchen Faucets
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing bathroom and kitchen faucets.

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Solar Power & Heating for Your Home
BC Hydro describes some important considerations around the use of both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems in BC.

Submission on Canadian Environmental & Regulatory Reviews
Business Council of BC submitted these comments on the Government of Canada Environmental and Regulatory Reviews Discussion Paper which outlined potential reforms being considered to modernize Canada’s environmental and regulatory processes. (PDF)

Phase Change Materials as Energy Storage Medium in Building Envelopes
Building Research Information Knowledgebase report Low-Cost Bio-Based Phase Change Materials (PCM) as an Energy Storage Medium in Building Envelopes says PCM behavior is influenced by the weather and interior conditions, PCM phase change temperature and PCM distribution within the wall cavity, among other factors. Under optimal conditions, the field data showed up to 20% reduction in weekly heat transfer through an external wall due to the PCM compared to cellulose-only insulation.

Energy Evolution & LNG
Business Council of British Columbia says all evolution happens in stages. This is also true for energy use. There has never been an energy revolution — a sudden, complete, and fundamental switch from one thing to another — just gradual change as humans incrementally transition to higher-density energy forms.

Microgrids-As-A-Service for Sustainable Energy
Microgrid Knowledge says microgrid-as-a-Service is a new, industry-leading financing mechanism that enables organizations to deploy microgrids without any upfront investment. This financing model allows municipal, district, institutional, commercial campuses and large buildings to stabilize long-term energy costs and upgrade critical energy infrastructure without capital outlay.

Evaluating Electricity Price Growth in Ontario
Fraser Institute study Evaluating Electricity Price Growth in Ontario finds that hydro prices in Ontario increased twice as fast as the national average over the past decade, and the average Toronto resident now pays $60 more per month than the average Canadian for electricity.

10. Information Sources

BC Resource Site for Energy Efficiency Improvements
BC Home Energy Coach Hotline and Information Centre provides building-science based information about options and opportunities to improve energy efficiency of a home. They are available to answer questions at all stages of a home energy improvement project, and provide an incentives database and resources to learn about energy efficiency upgrades and services.

Canadian Energy Minister Conference Papers
Canadian Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference is an annual gathering of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for energy and mining portfolios. At these meetings, ministers discuss shared priorities for collaborative action to advance energy and mining development across the country. This page presents the energy and mining items endorsed by ministers at the most recent meetings.

Gordon Howell Is Canadian Solar Pioneer
Green Energy Futures interviews Gordon Howell, a solar pioneer. He installed the first grid-connected solar system in Western Canada on his home in Edmonton, Alberta in 1995.

Industry launches Building Energy Innovators Council
REMI says the new Building Energy Innovators Council is an industry-driven initiative to accelerate the collaboration, innovation, and adoption of clean building technologies across Canada. It will provide input to federal and provincial governments related to the types of incentive programs and policies required to increase adoption of new energy efficient building technologies and renewable energy solutions.

New Edition of The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise
Dovetail announces the release of the second edition of The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise, which examines global environmental impacts of high consumption, raw material procurement, and environmental policies.

Balance Point and What It Means
Passive Buildings Canada online video explains the concept of a building's balance point and how it is affected by Passivhaus.

Affordable Housing Framework
International Living Future Institute online Living Building Challenge Framework for Affordable Housing outlines building strategies for multi-family affordable housing projects. (PDF)

Toolkit for Building Sociability in Multifamily
Happy City online visual toolkit helps you identify principles, strategies and actions to boost social wellbeing in multi-family housing.

11. Conferences & Shows

Livable Cities Forum
Livable Cities Forum will be held in Victoria, September 18-20. It will explore how to work together to build more sustainable, low carbon, livable communities. Delegates consist of local government, public sector, provincial and federal staff, planners, engineers, and sustainability professionals.

2017 Green Energy Doors Open Around BC
BC Sustainable Energy Association presents the 2017 Green Energy Doors Open project from September 22-24. It will showcase sustainable energy and green building projects around BC.

North American Passive House Conference
North American Passive House Network 2017 conference will be held in Oakland, October 4-8. It brings together a global community of architects, designers, builders, suppliers, government officials and policy analysts to experience a world-class program of Passive House presentations and workshops, plus networking opportunities.

High Performance Home Summit
Energy and Environmental Building Association 2017 High Performance Home Summit will be held in Atlanta, October 10-12. It features 3 days of learning, networking and collaboration with high performance building professionals from across the United States and Canada, with presentations from leading builders, building science experts, architects, raters and designers that represent the cutting edge of residential construction.

Zero Waste Conference
Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Conference, held in Vancouver on November 1st, will focus on accelerating waste prevention and circularity in Canada.

International Green Building Conference & Expo
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo will be held in Boston, November 8-10. It welcomes a community of professionals, advocates and practitioners, students and teachers, designers and builders, and everything in between to show and discuss new technology, new ideas and new ways forward.

BC Conference on Building Sustainable Communities
Fresh Outlook Foundation is hosting the 2017 Building Sustainable Communities conference November 21-24 in Kelowna. It features a variety of plenaries, breakouts, panels, workshops, debates, and interactive sessions to provide opportunities for enhanced communication and collaboration.

Solar Canada 2017 Conference & Exposition
Solar Canada 2017 conference and trade show will be held in Toronto, December 4-5. The program covers industry trends, policies, opportunities, and other developments that will affect the energy market.

12. Education & Training

Webinar on Best Practices for Air Sealing & Insulation in Homes
Fraser Basin Council is presenting a free webinar on Best Practices for Air Sealing and Insulation in Homes. It will be presented on September 20th, by RDH Building Science.

Introduction to Community Energy & Emissions Planning
BCIT five-week, online, cross-Canada introductory community energy and emissions planning course is scheduled to run this fall.

Managing Financial Risk for Manufacturers & Suppliers
Vancouver Regional Construction Association seminar Managing Financial Risk for Manufacturers and Suppliers will be presented on September 20th. Designed specifically for manufacturers and suppliers in the construction industry, this course will teach you how to manage risks when dealing with developers, general contractors and sub-contractors.

Luncheon Seminar on BC Energy Step Code
BC Building Envelope Council luncheon seminar on the BC Energy Step Code will be held in Vancouver on September 25th. It will provide an update on how local governments will be using the Energy Step Code in bylaws and policies, and supports available for trades and professionals. It will also provide a summary of research into the costs and technical impacts of the Energy Step Code.

Deepening Climate Leadership
BC Climate Leadership Institute offers leadership training in three core areas to help you lead the charge in your community. The event takes place in Richmond, November 1-3.

13. Costs & Savings

Solar Panel Installer Says it's Time to Cut the Red Tape
CBC News says a frustrated solar panel installer says it's time to cut the red tape, and a single set of regulations for solar panels in BC would save homeowners time and money.

Solar vs Solar on US Tariffs
Utility Dive says solar stakeholders squared off for 10 hours over the merits of a petition to impose a tariff and floor price for imported solar panels.

Ottawa Community Housing Saved Energy
CMHC describes how Ottawa Community Housing had an opportunity to save energy, improve the building stock and enhance tenant comfort in its townhouse communities by retrofitting uninsulated and poorly sealed basement walls.

Resale Homes Should Carry Energy Use Label by 2019
National Newswatch says listing your home for sale in Canada could soon mean you not only have to tell people how much it costs to buy it, but also how much it costs to run it.

California 2020 Target for Net Zero Will Impact All
Canadian Contractor says the US West Coast gives us a peak at Net Zero Energy building codes to come.

California Paying States to Take Its Solar Power
Los Angeles Times says California invested heavily in solar power. Now there’s so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it.

Regulatory Co-operation & Standards Harmonization
Government of Canada is harmonizing energy efficiency standards within the country and with international partners, such as the United States.

Living Community Challenge Standard v1.2
International Living Future Institute has launched the Living Community Challenge version 1.2 Standard. Primary updates include incorporation of the Zero Energy Community Certification re-brand and a decrease in the number of required Living Building Challenge projects in an LCC Community.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

BC Furnace & Boiler Replacement Rebate Program
FortisBC says replace your old furnace or boiler with an eligible Energy Star or equivalent model that is 95 per cent efficient or higher (94 per cent efficient or higher for boilers) and you could receive a $500 rebate.

Incentives for Gas Heating & DHW Systems
FortisBC is offering rebates for new customers who connect to natural gas and install an eligible Energy Star natural gas heating or DHW system.

What is Wrong with Energy Efficiency?
Taylor & Francis paper argues that far from being an effective response to climate change, the headlong pursuit of energy efficiency is positively counter-productive.

Give Buyers Choice of Houses & Still Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Ryerson University says a carbon tax would give homebuyers the choice of buying new single detached houses and still reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Innovative Community & Household Energy Feedback Approaches
Taylor & Francis paper Exploring Innovative Community and Household Energy Feedback Approaches describes the application and evaluation of more visual energy feedback techniques (carbon mapping, thermal imaging) at different scales, alongside traditional methods (web-based energy and environmental visualization platform, home energy reports) delivered through community workshops, home visits and the internet, across six low-carbon communities in the UK.

Canadian Buildings Policy Changing in Favour of Passive House
Passive House Canada says the Canadian buildings policy environment is changing in favour of Passive House.

Difference Between PHI & PHIUS Passive House Standards
Passive House says you can have a Passive House certified either by the Passive House Institute or PHIUS, the US specific system.

Zero Energy Ready Home Implementation Process
US Department of Energy report Zero Energy Ready Home Implementation documents the process and outcomes involved in achieving their Zero Energy Ready Home program certification standards while helping homebuilders in Climate Zones 5 and 6 in the Upper Midwest achieve ZERH certification. (PDF)


Dittie For Today: On Nature:

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. - E.B. White


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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