Newsletter #156
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
February 28, 2018


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

How to Create a Comfortable, Healthy Home that Saves Energy
US Department of Energy online book No Regrets Remodeling: How to Create a Comfortable, Healthy Home that Saves Energy, provides building science information to help make good decisions when planning a home remodel or renovation. (large PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

2015 Paris Agreement & BC Considerations
Business Council of BC says going forward, and absent a hard look at how we account for GHGs, the Canadian and BC economies may shrink under the pressure of mounting climate change and energy regulation. The result would be increased imports of more GHG intensive products while Canada ends up ceding market share for our lower-carbon manufactured, energy and other natural resource goods.

In Praise of Invisible Sustainability in Saskatchewan
Tree Hugger says in 1977, a team of clever architects and engineers built Saskatchewan Conservation House which had a compact design, continuous super-insulation, high-efficiency mechanical ventilation and summer shading. They had been asked to design a solar-powered house but Harold Orr wrote that they "came to the conclusion that solar heating of a home in Saskatchewan was not appropriate" -- so instead, they came up with the simpler, passive approach.

Why I’m Negative on Net Positive
GreenBiz says positive is not the problem. It is the net that is raising the antennae of an increasing number of investors, academics and practitioners.

Canadian Public Perspectives on Climate Change
Ipsos report shows there are interesting differences between countries and within demographic groups in Canada as to the importance of climate change.

BC Has Climate Targets, But No Real Climate Plan
Climate Examiner says it is unlikely that BC will meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target and is off track to meet its 2050 target, according to the auditor general, who also highlighted BC is not prepared for climate risks such as rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of wildfires.

Climate Policy Options, Conversation with Mark Jaccard
Climate Examiner explores climate policy options with Mark Jaccard, who helped design BC’s carbon tax, and still supports it. But he questions just how politically viable a stringent tax—at the level needed to meet climate targets—can really be. So he also continues to explore how other policies that the public find more acceptable could work.

Mayors Tout Importance of Energy Efficiency in Meeting Climate Goals
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says at the North American Climate Summit city officials from several countries recognized energy efficiency as an important emissions reduction strategy. Many described how they are making it part of their climate action plans.

Germany Dumps 2020 Climate Target
Reuters says Germany has decided to discard its 2020 climate target, a plan that aimed to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent from 1990 levels. The decision comes on the heels of exploratory talks between Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and the Social Democrats, during which both sides agreed that Germany's 2020 climate target could not be achieved.

2. Business Management

Corporate Sustainability is New Normal
Business Council of BC says though not a new concept, sustainability has recently become a mainstay in corporate governance, and the question has shifted from whether to seek sustainability to how to achieve, implement, and harness its potential.

Summary of Canadian Federal Tax Initiative
Mechanical Contractors Association of British Columbia article by Ronald Coleman describes how tax reform focuses on three issues.

Adding Home Performance to Your Business Plan
IE3 says since the HVAC system is the heart of the home comfort system, comfort complaints get technicians through the door. Once in, that company is uniquely positioned to dominate in the home environmental and energy efficiency upgrade market.

Emotional Messaging in Marketing Ventilation
Energy Circle discusses which emotions are the most effective when marketing indoor air quality services such as ventilation and air filtration.

Cracking the Quality Code with Standards
OmStout Consulting says in order to ensure that work gets completed with the highest level of quality, written standards need to be applied to each task.

Why Aren’t HVAC Contractors Offering Air Sealing & Insulation?
IE3 says that air sealing and insulating, especially attic floors, duct systems in attics and rim joists are necessary home improvements HVAC contractors should offer to deliver a complete solution to comfort problems their customers are experiencing.

Business Organizations Ask BC Premier to Reconsider Pipeline Actions
An open letter was sent to Premier John Horgan by five key BC business organizations: ICBA, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Business Council of British Columbia, and BC Chamber of Commerce.

Measuring Sustainability of BC Communities
Real Estate Foundation of BC report In Search of the Good Life: Taking a Snapshot of Built Environment Sustainability in BC, examines the state of BC communities and introduces seven ambitious goals, 13 desired impacts, and 10 impact measures to assess the sustainability of built environments.

3. Building Design & Trends

Green Builders Can Use Big Data to Make Design Decisions
Building Design & Construction says more and more, green project teams are relying on publicly available external datasets to prioritize sustainable design decisions.

Mattamy Makes Smart Mandatory
Home Builder Canada says Mattamy Homes, Canada’s biggest homebuilder, is making smart homes mandatory in all of its new builds.

Technology a Key Driver to Future Zero Emission Targets in Vancouver
Journal of Commence says Vancouver is aiming for zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from new buildings using high-tech solutions like Building Information Modeling and the simplicity of Passive House design.

How Homes Support Healthy Lifestyles
Builder Magazine says popular aspects of the healthy living trend include abundant outdoor spaces and trails, proximity to nature within the home, and a healthy air and water supply.

Towards Passive House, Part 3
Canadian Contractor features Part 3 of their series on how the Passive House arrived in Canada.

Quebec LEED Farmhouse Heating Bill $60
Home Builder Canada says heating a renovated 2,530-square-foot farmhouse in a frigid Quebec winter for $60 a month may seem a miracle, but it is made possible with advanced green engineering.

Design Confronts Climate Change
Builder Magazine online video features a design panel exploring of climate change. They point out that the tools to change exist and are accessible, so it’s time to act.

10 She Sheds That Put Man Caves to Shame
Dwell says part inspiration, part instruction, a new book on she sheds illustrates how the common shed can be transformed into a sanctuary of peace and personal style.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Codes Updated Letters of Assurance, January 31 2018
BC Government has approved changes to the BC Building Code effective January 31, 2018. The changes concern Letters of Assurance and a number of other Code revisions.

Energy Codes in Lower Mainland Municipalities
Urban Development Institute online newsletter provides updates on energy codes and green building initiatives being considered in various Lower Mainland municipalities. (PDF)

Actions & Policies to Reduce Urban GHG Emissions in BC
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions report Evaluation of Actions and Policies to Reduce Urban GHG Emissions Using Multiple Criteria describes options for contributions towards energy efficiency in BC Built Environment. (PDF)

New Mandatory Builder Licensing Requirements in Alberta
BILD Alberta says starting December 1, 2017, all residential home builders are required to have a provisional license in order to obtain permits to construct new homes. Builders are required to have a full license by May 1, 2018. Builders can apply for either a General Contractor or a Developer License depending on the types of homes being built.

Built Green Program Updates, 2018 Single Family Checklist
Built Green Canada says there are no significant updates to the 2018 checklists, however they list both new checklist items as well as those checklist items that have been modified.

Ontario Mandatory Home Energy Audits: Boon or Boondoggle?
Canadian Contractor says there is a dramatic split in opinion between leading industry organizations regarding the cost/benefits of impending mandatory home EnerGuide audits in Ontario. The Ontario Home Builders Association and Ontario Real Estate Board seem to be going head-to-head, each with the interests of their respective members foremost in mind.

Cities Ramming Through Flawed Climate Change Policies
Financial Post says climate change has so far been the domain of higher levels of government, but cities are becoming increasingly active on the file by implementing their own bylaws, setting their own targets and joining global initiative [without thinking about the cost impact on residents].

Coming to NYC, Building Energy Grades
Urban Green Council says large New York City buildings will soon be sporting a conspicuous A to F letter grade at their public entrances. Modeled after the NYC’s restaurant grades and similar building rating programs in Europe, a new city law mandates building energy efficiency grades, starting in 2020.

5. Building Science & Technology

Six Steps to Success with Heat-Recovery Ventilation
Green Building Advisor describes how to ensure HRV whole-house ventilation works as a cornerstone of a high-performance house.

Testing Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control
US Department of Energy report Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control, explores how smart ventilation controls balance energy consumption, comfort, and indoor air quality by optimizing mechanical ventilation operation to reduce the heating and/or cooling loads, improve management of indoor moisture, and maintain IAQ equivalence. (PDF)

Quantitative Look at Solar Heat Gain
Green Building Advisor explores the viability of passive solar and solar-tempered space heating in northern US regions and metro areas.

Invisible Problem with Duct Insulation
Energy Vanguard discusses a problem that seems to be invisible: the inadequacy of duct insulation even when the design and installation are perfect.

Choosing a New HVAC System for Existing Home
Green Building Advisor discusses options for a homeowner looking for suggestions in updating old heating and cooling equipment.

Learning About Conduction
Plumbing & Mechanical magazine describes how industry veteran Dan Holohan learned about conduction.

Can Mirrors Boost Solar Panel Output?
Green Building Advisor says with panel costs headed higher because of a US new tariff, reflectors might make a comeback.

6. Building Performance Issues

How to Keep Attic Vent from Freezing In Winter
Cold Climate Housing Research Centre says having the stack vent freeze up is a common problem in northern climates in the winter time. This happens when warm, moist air from your toilet and sink drains freezes before it is able to exhaust through the roof vent. This online video describes what is causing the issue and simple, do-it-yourself solutions to keep your stack vent clear.

Ice Dam Membrane at Eaves
Journal of Light Construction describes considerations for the height of ice dam membrane at eaves.

LED's Interfering with Garage Door Openers
Home Energy forum discusses whether anyone has heard of LED's emitting a frequency band that interferes with the radio controls of garage door openers.

Why Is Wood Burning Counted as Green Energy?
Green Building Advisor says a loophole in carbon-accounting rules is spurring a boom in burning wood pellets in European power plants.

HVAC System Adjustment & Verified Efficiency Program
US Department of Energy case study describes how the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance partnered with gas and electric utilities in Iowa to establish the Iowa residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning System Adjustment and Verified Efficiency program, taking it to scale improving the performance and energy efficiency of HVAC systems, growing businesses, and gaining consumer trust. (PDF)

Success with Quality Management System
OmStout Consulting says the first and most fundamental step of a Quality Management System design is establishing guiding principles.

Is Health the Future of Home Performance?
Home Energy Pros Forum says health improvements have a place in the home performance business, as long as contractors are cautious about what they’re promising.

Multifamily Developers Look to Health & Wellness for an Edge
Building Design & Construction says as the competition for renters and buyers heats up, multifamily developers look to health and wellness for an edge.

7. Products & Suppliers

Best Building Performance Products From 2018 IBS Show
Builder magazine describes products from the recent International Builders Show that could help you build a tighter and more durable house.

CES 2018 Smart Home Tech Trends
Curbed describes some smart home tech trends from CES 2018, from app-monitored home deliveries to all things sleep tech.

Searching for Most Innovative Green Building Product of Year
Canada Green Building Council has announced that the 2018 CaGBC Green Building Product of the Year Award competition is now open. The award encourages Canadian companies to develop sustainable building products and materials.

Green Construction Through Wood Program
NRCan mass timber program called Green Construction Through Wood is aimed at encouraging the long-term use of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as tall buildings.

Home-Energy Tracking in Palm of Your Hand
Fine Homebuilding says this smart energy monitor uses machine learning to identify and measure how much electricity each device in your home consumes.

BC Passive House Certified Fiberglass Window & Door Products
Cascadia Windows & Doors, a BC manufacturer and distributor of fiberglass windows, doors and building products, has introduced the Universal Series. These are the first commercial grade, all-fiberglass Passive House Certified window and door systems.

New Technology Solutions in HVAC
US Department of Energy provides information and resources to help you explore advanced HVAC solutions and learn about the latest research and innovations to support high performing equipment and installation practices.

BC Company in Local Energy Efficiency Partnership for HVAC
Ecolighten has been featured in BC’s Local Energy Efficiency Partnership program. The LEEP program is designed to reduce builder time and risk in finding and trying innovations for building higher performance homes better, faster and more affordably. Ecolighten supported RDC Fine Homes with their field trial home in Squamish, where they did load calculations and mechanical HVAC consulting to ensure right-sized mechanical systems were selected for the project.

8. Installation & Procedures

Advanced Framing Boosts Energy Performance
Engineered Wood Association case study Advanced Framing Boosts Energy Performance, says Pennsylvania builders looking to stand out in a tough market gained a competitive advantage by adopting advanced framing techniques that deliver lasting energy savings to customers. Free site registration required.

Air Seal Top Plates
US Department of Energy describes how to correctly air seal a wall with missing top plates or open wall cavities.

Integrating HRVs With Air Handlers
Green Building Advisor says in homes with forced air heating, the heating ducts can also be used for heat-recovery ventilation.

Online Videos on Passive House Standards
Passive Buildings Canada has a number of new online videos describing Passive House standards.

Online Video on Affordable Net-Zero
Renewable online video on Affordable Net-Zero features Edmonton builder Reza Nasseri, who has a vision of a future in which our most sustainable housing is also our most affordable.

Installing a Solar Electric System
Green Building Advisor says with the addition of a photovoltaic system, this house has a shot at net-zero energy performance.

Achieving High Performance Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
CMHC online series of infographics in Achieving High Performance Multi-Unit Residential Buildings highlights opportunities in key performance categories. (PDF)

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

FortisBC Application for Return to Single Residential Gas Rate
FortisBC has submitted its Rate Design Application to the BC Utilities Commission, recommending a return to a single, flat residential rate and re-establishing a time-of-use rate as an option for residential customers.

Planning for Backup Power in All-Electric House
Green Building Advisor discusses a homeowner question about using a solar array to keep his house running in the event of a power outage.

Affordable Tech Marvels Dominate Greenest Vehicles List
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy says for those who like clean vehicles with state-of-the-art technology or simply want to reduce their environmental footprint, today’s market has good news.

Electric Vehicles In BC
BC Hydro provides information and resources on electric vehicles purchase and use in BC.

Power Struggle Pitting Electric Car Owners Against Condo Boards
CBC says condo residents are locked in power struggles with their management boards over charging rights for electric vehicles, even though incoming regulations are supposed to simplify the process.

Steep Utility Fees Killing Electric Car Charging Stations
GreenBiz says high utility fees are a major hurdle to electric vehicles and the commercial charging stations that serve them. It’s extremely difficult for public charging stations to turn a profit because of volatile fees, called demand charges, that many electric utilities charge their commercial customers.

Solar Power Alone Won’t Solve Energy or Climate Needs
Green Building Advisor says for the same installed capacity, nuclear facilities produce eight to nine times as much electricity as solar facilities.

Distributed Energy Resources Can Transform Economy
Microgrid Knowledge features five predictions for 2018 that underscore why a forecast increase in distributed energy resources over centralized generation will transform the global economy in sometimes surprising ways.

10. Information Sources

Energy Efficiency Events in BC
BC Advanced Conservation & Efficiency Association lists some upcoming energy efficiency events in BC.

Q4 2017 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q4 2017 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings.

Winter 2018 Newsletter on Energy Star
Natural Resources Canada online Winter 2018 newsletter provides updates on Energy Star offerings, resources and activities.

Passive House Resources for Building Professionals
Passive House Canada provides free access to information and resources on passive house design and construction.

Building High Performance Homes through Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships
BC Housing online videos showcase how the Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships (LEEP) initiative is helping to drive innovation in the industry and accelerate the construction of affordable energy-efficient homes.

Free Photos Help Tell Energy Efficiency Story
Better Buildings Residential Network has compiled a list of online image libraries of high-resolution photos that depict energy efficiency in action. Some of the libraries provide free source images that require minimum or no attribution.

Canadian Clean Growth Hub
Government of Canada online Clean Growth Hub is a whole-of-government focal point for clean technology focused on supporting companies and projects, coordinating programs and tracking results.

11. Conferences & Shows

Rain City Strategy: Small-Scale Residential Development Roundtable
City of Vancouver is inviting development and construction industry members to participate in a planning process on March 6th to create a Rain City Strategy, which will guide how we manage and use rainwater in Vancouver.

21st Century Construction, IPD, Prefabrication, Net Zero
WoodWorks dinner reception and presentation 21st Century Construction, Integrated Project Delivery, Prefabrication and Net Zero will be held in Vancouver on March 8.

Energy Transitions Forum in Vancouver
Business Council of BC presents Energy Transitions in Vancouver on March 9th. It features the Chairman of Abacus Data who will share his latest public opinion findings regarding Canada's opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the low carbon economy, carbon pricing and clean energy solutions.

2018 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
The 2018 Home Performance Coalition Conference will be held in Philadelphia, April 23-26. Specifically for the home performance industry, it covers a wide range of building science topics, mostly relating to energy efficiency of existing houses and buildings.

2018 BC Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference
BC Environmental Industries Association annual Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference will be held May 9-11, in Whistler. It includes programming with technical sessions and panel discussions.

12. Education & Training

BC Energy Advisor Training in 2018
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is bringing its energy advisor training to three new cities in 2018.

Carbon & Life Cycle Analysis in Victoria & Vancouver
Wood-Works workshop Carbon & Life Cycle Analysis will be presented in Victoria on March 5th, and & Vancouver on March 6th. It is designed to provide architects, engineers, contractors, sustainable design consultants as well as building, planning and regulatory officials with the basic knowledge and tools to understand life cycle analysis and embodied carbon impacts.

BC Energy Step Code Lower Steps, Climate Zone 6, Prince George
BC Housing seminar Building Smart with the BC Energy Step Code Lower Steps, Climate Zone 6+ Prince George will be presented on March 6th. It is designed to support builders, designers, building officials and others to meet BC Energy Step Code requirements.

Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings in Nelson
Passive House Canada seminar Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings will be presented in Nelson on March 23rd. It provides an overview of the core principles of Passive House design and building energy efficiency regulations in Canada. It also covers the history of energy efficient buildings, energy consumption data and environmental impact, case studies and the economics of creating high performance buildings.

Window & Door Installation Endorsement Construction
Building It Right 3-day course on Window and Door Installation Endorsement for New Construction is being presented in Port Coquitlam, on several dates this spring.

Insulation Installers Online Training Course
Green Building Skills online Insulation Installers Course provides you with the background knowledge and skills required to install common residential insulation products in a safe and effective manner based on the most up to date building science principles behind the Ontario Building Code.

Online Passive House Course
Peel School of Passive House online course shows participants how to use the Passive House Planning Package for residential building design and certification.

Building Science Fundamentals Seminars Throughout US
Building Science presents the Building Science Fundamentals seminar in five different US cities. This two-day seminar teaches the basic knowledge needed to design and build durable, energy efficient, affordable and healthy buildings.

13. Costs & Savings

Energy Consumption of Major Household Appliances In Canada
Natural Resources Canada report provides data and analysis on trends for energy consumption of major household appliances shipped in Canada, for 1990-2015.

Is Sun Rising or Setting on Small Scale Residential Solar?
Canadian Contractor says in order to favor a PV array on a home, many things would have to happen: installation grants must be at least 30 per cent, special financing would have to be available, grid electricity prices would have to increase steadily, and the cost of solar arrays and storage battery systems must come down.

Full Costs of Carbon Pricing to Households
C.D. Howe Institute says there are steps that governments can take to reduce the net cost to households while still preserving emission-reduction incentives.

Occupant Participation in Energy Conservation
University of Hawaii paper Occupant Participation in Energy Conservation reviews existing energy use patterns and adoption/utilization of energy conservation practices in residential and workplace settings. It reports on an initial phase of a project exploring how the use of embedded energy feedback technology is used to inform and support occupant energy conscious behavior. (PDF)

Does Net Zero Energy Go Far Enough?
Canadian Contractor says while Canada hurtles towards a Net Zero Energy future for residential construction over the next dozen years, another concept is starting to gain traction with designers, architects and environmentalists: Net Zero Carbon, or Carbon Neutrality.

Roadmap for Large Building Retrofits in Canada
Canadian Green Building Council report Roadmap to Retrofits in Canada analyzes how the type, size, age, energy source and regional electrical grid of large buildings in Canada can affect efficiency performance and carbon emissions.

Cities Can Save Billions with Sustainable Surfaces
Builder Magazine says a new report, Delivering Urban Resilience, quantifies the range of costs and benefits for the adoption of citywide smart surface technologies in several US cities.

Is Cap & Trade the Climate Solution?
Utility Dive says with the Trump Administration rolling back Obama era climate regulations, action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US is falling increasingly to the states. But how successful are different approaches for achieving such reductions? Both New England and California have cut greenhouse gas emissions since launching market-based cap and trade programs. But analysts say the programs are not the primary drivers of emissions reductions. If that is true, does cap and trade work?

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

BC Energy Star Appliance Rebate
FortisBC is offering up to a $250 rebate on the purchase of a qualifying Energy Star fridge, clothes washer or dryer.

Employment Funding Available for Green Projects
Passive House Canada says the Mitacs Career Connect program is currently offering opportunities for projects that aim to protect the environment, create positive environmental outcomes, or address an environmental or climate change-related challenge. The program provides a 50 per cent employment subsidy to eligible organizations for a six-month green project that offers STEM-career experience for a young graduate.

Funding Opportunities for Local Government Climate Action
Community Energy Association online video summarizes their previous webinar Show me the Money: Funding Opportunities for Local Government Climate Action.

Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs
ACEEE report Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs, examines energy utilities' efforts to capture and value the water savings achieved through their energy efficiency programs. Free registration required. (PDF)

Good Time to Learn About PACE
Pembina Institute says Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a program that allows investment companies to fund individual building owners to make renewable energy or efficiency upgrades to their property, thus providing the required upfront capital, while generating secure returns for investors. It has been well tested in the US and addresses two barriers to change lack of upfront capital and lack of transferability of the investment.

US Federal Housing Administration Problem with PACE
Green Building Advisor says the US Federal Housing Administration says it will stop issuing new mortgages with property assessed clean energy loans.

Pioneering Banks Prepare Energy Efficiency Mortgages Across Europe
World Green Building Council says ground-breaking new proposals for a European energy efficiency mortgage scheme, the EeMAP initiative.

Transforming Chambers of Commerce into Energy Efficiency Champions
Institute for Market Transformation says significant opportunity exists for chambers of commerce and small business associations to bridge the information gap and become the de facto connectors to today’s best-practice efficiency solutions.


Dittie For Today: On Caring for The Environment

Thank goodness men cannot as yet fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth! - Henry David Thoreau


Quick Links


Subscription Info



© Copyright 2018     Ken Farrish     All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional     Valid CSS!