Newsletter #168
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 29, 2019


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

Adios & Fare-Thee-Well to Mike Rogers
Energy Circle says the cause of better homes and better contracting businesses lost its biggest champion yesterday. Our colleague and friend Mike Rogers succumbed to a horrible and rare form of cancer that appeared suddenly and acted swiftly. There is a hole in the universe today larger than the Grand Canyon that he loved so much.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Views on Land Use, Sustainability, Rural Planning
Through a public opinion survey, the Real Estate Foundation of BC found that British Columbians value nature and the environment, desire a sustainable economic future, and support stiff penalties for people and organizations who pollute land and water.

Climate Change for Builders is Biggest Opportunity
Fine Homebuilding says faced with consequences equivalent to a giant asteroid set to hit the earth in 10 to 50 years, designers and builders owe it to the future to do their part, and need to start right now.

Results of 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator
Johnson Controls has released the results of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator survey. It analyzed how some 1,900 executives from 20 countries are planning to invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, building systems integration and smart cities over the next 12 months.

Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990 To 2015
Natural Resources Canada report Energy Efficiency Trends In Canada 1990 To 2015 tracks trends in energy efficiency and delivers on Canada's commitment to provide a comprehensive summary of secondary energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Climate Change First Responders Speak Out
REMI Network says engineers and physicians emphasize public health and safety concerns.

Buying into Climate Change
Green Building Advisor says rising insurance costs may convince Americans that the risks of climate change are real.

Real Estate Primed for Low-Carbon Vanguard
REMI Network says real estate and infrastructure top a list of five sectors that prominent Canadian analysts have tagged as the most obvious prospects to deliver returns on investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resilience to climatic extremes.

Carbon Capturing Picks Up Steam
Fraser Institute says Chevron and Occidental are investing in an air capture facility in BC.

2. Business Management

11 Digital Marketing Predictions for Building Professionals in 2019
Energy Circle says the digital marketing landscape is going to change drastically for Home Performance, HVAC, and Solar professionals in 2019.

Canada’s Top 10 Passive House Leaders
Canadian Design and Construction Report says these Canadian Passive House leaders are turning environmental sustainability concepts into efficient and comfortable buildings.

Procuring Passive House Projects
Sustainable Architecture & Building magazine says it takes an expert team and a rigorous methodology to properly procure Passive House projects.

New BC Electrical Installation Permit Fees for Renewable Energy Systems
Technical Safety BC says a new set of lowered fees for electricity production and storage systems, such as renewable energy systems and generators are coming on January 1, 2019.

Sustainable Spec Language You Should Be Using
Building Green says selecting the greenest products doesn’t do any good unless strong specifications support your choices. Here’s some language you can use.

Canada’s Climate Policy Mess is Hardly Cost-Effective
Fraser Institute says if the federal and provincial governments repealed all the other instruments and replaced them with a carbon tax, then it would be fair to call the result cost-effective. That, however, is not happening. Rather the federal government is adding even more regulations to the mix.

Builders Top Challenges in Meeting New Energy Codes
Home Innovation Research Labs presents results from their survey that asked US builders to identify their biggest challenge in constructing homes to meet the energy code.

Facebook as Audience Building Tool
Energy Circle says many HVAC, home performance or solar businesses take the wrong approach to Facebook marketing. Learn how to build custom audiences in Facebook and then use those audiences to build brand awareness and generate more qualified leads for your business.

3. Building Design & Trends

51 BC Developments Apply for Better Buildings Project
Vancouver Sun says fifty-one projects involving more than 170 design, development and construction organizations have made submissions to take part in the new Better Buildings BC Net-Zero Energy-Ready challenge.

Calgary Passive House Runs on Sunshine, Good to -30
Green Energy Futures describes the Symonds Passive House in Calgary. It is 90% more energy efficient, solar powered and built out of solid wood (cross-laminated timber) and one of the most beautiful super energy efficient homes they've seen.

Built Green Partnership Brings WERS to Canada
REMI says Built Green Canada has partnered with the Green Builder Coalition to bring performance-based water efficiency to Canada through its third-party certification program: Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS).

2018 Q3 Home Design Trends Survey on Neighbourhood & Community Design
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2018 describes emerging trends in neighbourhood and community design.

Achieving Passive House Performance on Building Enclosures
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Building Enclosure Design: Strategies for Achieving Passive House Performance, describes issues and considerations for bringing deep energy savings to multi-family buildings. (PDF)

Future-Proofing & Resilient Home Design
Ecohome describes some design ideas and home-durability measures to help families and homes withstand a changing climate.

How Many Solar Panels Are Needed for a Home?
EarthTechling shows how to estimate the number of solar panels needed for a home, and the many factors that affect the decision.

Green Building Design Experiences Shift in Thinking
RJC Engineers article says over the past year there has been growing recognition of the importance and urgency of reducing carbon emissions, and the role of the design community in preparing buildings to operate efficiently, using only low-carbon energy sources. (PDF)

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Communities Implementing BC Energy Step Code
BC government says communities can use a wide variety of policy tools to incentivize or require the BC Energy Step Code. They outline how some local governments and others are putting the standard to work.

Acceptable Alternative Solutions for Passive House Projects in Vancouver
This document advises Passive House designers and consultants of specific alternative acceptable solutions for Certified Passive House projects using Passive House design requirements as specified by the Passive House Institute. (PDF)

Canadian National Building Code to Include Climate Change Obligations
Construct Connect says building designers will be obligated to create durability plans for new structures once new climate change standards are incorporated into building codes across the nation, some time after 2020, a Toronto Buildings Show workshop was told recently.

Amending the Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations
This Canadian government amendment would introduce or update minimum energy performance standards, testing standards, and reporting requirements to improve the energy efficiency of nine residential and commercial product categories, two of which are not currently regulated federally. Specifically, the Amendment is designed to (a) introduce minimum energy performance standards, labelling and reporting requirements for two new product categories; (b) introduce more stringent minimum energy performance standards and/or update testing standards for six currently regulated product categories; and (c) introduce reporting requirements for one new product category.

ASHRAE Addresses Canada Committee on Energy Efficiency Codes
ASHRAE describes how its resources can help drive sound energy policy, and aid Canada in its development of a nationwide net-zero energy building code, which it aims to complete by 2030, with all provinces and territories adopting and implementing it by 2040.

PHPP Accepted by Canadian National Housing Co-Investment Fund
Passive Buildings Canada says the National Housing Co-Investment fund announced that the Passive House Planning Package is now accepted as a modelling software for Energy Efficiency requirements, to be prepared by a Passive House Institute certified individual.

Education & Training Key to Overcoming Builder Challenges with Energy Codes
Home Innovation Research Labs says training trades, consumers, manufacturers, code officials may help solve builder issues.

Updated Residential, Construction Standard 90.2
ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.2-2018 Energy-Efficient Design of Low Rise Residential Buildings. The standard establishes minimum whole-building energy performance requirements (design, construction, and verification) for energy-efficient residential buildings.

5. Building Science & Technology

FortisBC Partners to Fund Smart Energy Research Chair at UBC Okanagan
BC is poised to become more energy efficient and sustainable thanks to a new research collaboration announced today between FortisBC and UBC Okanagan. They’ve created a Smart Energy Research Chair position to help optimize energy use in BC and reduce the province’s greenhouse gas footprint.

Comparing High-Performance Wall Options
Green Building Advisor provides some options to an owner-builder who is aiming for R-50 exterior walls.

Defogging Your Car Windshield with Psychrometrics
Energy Vanguard describes how to defog a car windshield in wet, cool weather.

Thermal Expansion & Dissimilar Metals
HVAC School describes some thermal effects on structures of metals.

R-2000 Environmentally Friendly Homes
NRCan online information and video shows you what you’re getting when you buy an R-2000 home, and why buying one is a great idea.

Great Moments in Refrigeration History
Underwriters Laboratory online infographic takes you through refrigeration history.

Building Material Manufacturers are Transforming Green Industry
Trim Tab describes how it will take cross-industry collaboration to accelerate progress of the green building industry.

Multifamily Properties Evolving with Technology
National Real Estate Investor says technology companies are rolling out new products that carry a promise of making a real difference for multi-family residents.

6. Building Performance Issues

Science of Moisture Control
Canadian Contractor provides a summary of the three major mechanisms for moisture infiltration into a building, and what to do about them.

Air Filter Static Pressure Drop
HVAC School says when choosing a filter remember that airflow (Pressure Drop) is just as important to consider as filtration (MERV rating).

Do High-MERV Filters Always Reduce Air Flow?
Energy Vanguard looks at what research has been done on high-MERV filters and what can be done to overcome some unintended consequences.

Low Airflow, Beyond the Obvious
HVAC School says while there is validity to visual inspection and to airflow measurement there are some issues that can be tough to notice.

Residential HVAC Quality Installation and Quality Maintenance Toolkit
Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance toolkit highlights research and tools within the HVAC quality installation and quality maintenance space that can be used to integrate QI/QM practices into their existing efficiency program offerings.

Same MOLD Story
Healthy Indoors magazine asks if mold and other moisture-related indoor microbial activity pose serious occupant risk, or if it is just a fabricated ailment for a new snake oil sales industry. The truth likely resides somewhere in the middle of the din, with many gaps still lurking in the science.

New App Helps Users with Energy Benchmarking
REMI Network says a free app for members of the design and construction community in Ontario called the Energy Compass Design Tool aims to streamline energy benchmarking and reporting during the design phase of building development projects.

Chicago Launches First Building Energy Rating System in US
Institute of Market Transformation describes Chicago’s new building energy rating system and how it aims to make building energy performance scores easier to understand and more visible to the public—helping renters and investors evaluate the energy efficiency of a building before making a decision.

7. Products & Suppliers

Sustainable Products from Greenbuild 2018
Custom Home magazine describes seven sustainable standouts from the recent international Greenbuild conference and expo.

Material Trends to Watch in 2019
Builder Magazine describes some innovative products and systems that aim to reduce our carbon footprint and are sure to make headlines this year.

Comparison of Environmental Impacts of Flooring Alternatives
Dovetail says the differences in environmental impacts between some flooring options are substantial. No flooring alternative outperforms all others in every impact category. (PDF)

Choosing Windows
Green Building Advisor describes how self-tinting glass solves a heat gain problem on the western side of the house.

Renewable Heating & Air to Water Heat Pumps
PM Engineer says given the accelerating transition in how energy is delivered, electrically-driven heat pumps are destined to carve out an increasing percentage of the future residential and light-commercial HVAC markets.

Revisiting Heat Pump Water Heaters
Green Building Advisor describes some brands of heat pump water heaters available to North American buyers.

Two Startups Seek to Grow Interest in Foam Glass Fill
Green Building Advisor says two companies in the Northeast US are seeking to expand the market for a lightweight, insulating fill made from recycled glass that can take the place of stone aggregate in several residential applications, including subslab fill.

New Tech to Reduce Oil Sands Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Natural Resources Canada says a team of their researchers is testing new technology that could have a big environmental impact in the Alberta oil sands, using direct contact steam generation.

8. Installation & Procedures

Super Stars of Energy Efficiency, Air Sealing & Insulation
Home Energy Pros online video shows why air sealing and insulation are the celebrities of the high-performance home world.

Sustainable Plumbing Rough-In Using PEX
Green Building Advisor installation example describes how PEX supply lines speed up installation and lower the risk of frost damage.

Installing Drains & Vents
Green Building Advisor article about a new sustainable home being built in Point Roberts, Washington describes how they planned their drain, waste and vent system.

5 Priority Air Sealing Locations for New Homes
Insulation Institute online video walks through a custom home under construction and shows how to properly address strategic areas to help reduce the air leakage rate.

How to Air-Seal Doors & Windows with Spray-Foam Gun
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how, with the right type of foam and a pro spray-foam gun, you can stop air from leaking around and under a door.

HVAC Design, Modification, Commissioning as Part of Home Performance
IE3 says by including HVAC design, air flow analysis, duct modification and system commissioning as part of your home performance process you are guaranteed to deliver on the promise of comfort and efficiency.

Condensate Switch Controversy
HVAC School says condensate overflow prevention devices or float switches as they are often called are such simple devices that you wouldn't think there would be much room for controversy. But there are few areas of the trade where technician and installer preferences and opinions vary greatly.

9 Upgrades to Windproof Your Roof
Fine Homebuilding provides these roof-installation details to keep asphalt shingles on and rain out of your house. (PDF)

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

January Increase in FortisBC Natural Gas Rates
FortisBC has received regulatory approval from the BC Utilities Commission on its interim rates for natural gas customers to take effect January 1, 2019. Customers will see an overall increase to their bills.

Enabling Policies for Vancouver’s 100% Renewable Energy Strategy
Renewable Cities report clarifies the roles of different levels of government in relation to the City of Vancouver’s implementation of the Renewable City Strategy.

Electricity Can Defuse LNG Carbon Bomb
Business in Vancouver says a liquefied natural gas industry can be developed without blowing B.C.’s carbon diet, but only if the industry is extensively electrified, according to a new Clean Energy BC white paper.

Are Electric Vehicles Really the Answer?
Business Council of BC says given the intrinsic and complicated role of the automobile in our lives, the challenges of transition are enormous.

Electric Cars May Not Be as Clean as They Seem
Fraser Institute says one of the major justifications for government subsidies is that electric vehicles will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, according to new research published by Bloomberg, emissions may actually increase depending on the source of energy used in battery manufacturing.

Greener Cars Ratings
Highly efficient powertrains and state-of-the-art technology provide plenty of options for buying a greener, more efficient vehicle, according to the 22nd GreenerCars ratings, released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Microgrid Emerges from Group Effort in Washington State
Microgrid Knowledge says a group effort by Puget Sound Energy, the city of Tenino, Wash., a nonprofit organization, and others has yielded plans for a utility-owned microgrid that can island and provide power to the Tenino School District.

10. Information Sources

Upcoming Renewable Energy & Climate Action Events
BC Sustainable Energy Association lists upcoming renewable energy and climate action events.

Q3 2018 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q3 2018 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

Canadian Newsletter on Climate Friendly Energy
Stewarding Energy is a free Canadian newsletter that provides links to information and resources on climate-friendly energy.

Online Videos on Passive Buildings
Passive Buildings Canada online videos on You Tube cover a wide range of topics on passive buildings.

Publications on Low-Carbon Growth Economy
Conference Board of Canada provides access to their past reports on various topics relating to the low-carbon growth economy.

Canadian Roadmap for Action on Integrated Community Energy Solutions
NRCan online Integrated Community Energy Solutions Roadmap for Action presents the role Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments can play in working with communities and stakeholders to advance Integrated Community Energy Solutions.

Top Energy Efficiency E-Learning Resources of 2018
Institute for Market Transformation provides access to their top 2018 e-courses, webinar presentations, and online discussions that provide a window into best efficiency practices, case studies, technology, and financing.

11. Conferences & Shows

2019 BC Home Performance Contractors Forum
BC Home Performance Stakeholder Council is presenting their 2019 HPSC Contractors Forum in New Westminster on February 19th. Join contractors from HVAC, Fenestration, Insulation, Renovation, Energy Advisors, and Utility and Government sectors. They will cover Connecting with Customers, Quality Installation, and Programs Partnering with Industry. (PDF)

Better Business Conference
The annual Better Buildings: Better Business Conference, held February 13-15 in Wisconsin, presents latest developments in high performance residential buildings.

2019 RESNET Building Performance Conference
US Residential Energy Services Network 2019 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 New Orleans, February 25-27.

Alberta Energy Efficiency Summit
The Alberta Energy Efficiency Summit, held in Edmonton on February 26-27, will offer delegates a forum to learn about the latest trends in energy efficiency.

12. Education & Training

Webinar on Evolution of Air Sealing
A free Retrotec webinar on Evolution of Air Sealing will be presented on February 5th. It will cover the most effective methods using the latest products and technology for designing and installing a high-quality air barrier.

Planning & Building for Regional Flood Resilience
UDI breakfast seminar on February 12th, Planning and Building for Regional Flood Resilience, features panelists sharing diverse perspectives on the topic of flood risk, risk reduction, and planning & development for flood resilience.

Leading & Managing Organizational Change
ICBA seminar Leading and Managing Organizational Change will be presented in Burnaby on February 12th. It is focused on preparing you to manage organizational change and to lead and mentor others through change.

Designing Safer Glass Railings with Laminated Glass
Construction Specifications Canada luncheon seminar Designing Safer Glass Railings with Laminated Glass will be presented in Vancouver on February 14th. This presentation will examine the safety concerns around glass in railing systems and the new building code requirements that address the use of these systems. The results of impact testing will be presented. In addition, the need to verify the compatibility of sealants and grouts will be discussed. (PDF)

Model Thermal Bridges for High Performance Buildings
CertPHIers presents their Model Thermal Bridges for High Performance Buildings course in Vancouver, February 25-26. Participants will model thermal bridges using Flixo - the fast and easier 2D thermal bridge modeling software that the Passive House Institute uses.

Building Smart with BC Energy Step Code in Penticton
BC Housing seminar Building Smart with the BC Energy Step Code will be presented in Penticton on March 2nd.

Some Things You Need to Know if You Are Finishing Trade School
HVAC School describes some choices you will make and things you need to know to end up where you want to go after trade school.

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 1990-2016.

Fine Print on Appliance Energy Efficiency
Green Building Advisor says more efficient appliances cut energy consumption, but behavioral differences among consumers are the key to savings.

Solar Panel Cost in US
EarthTechling shows the average solar panel installation cost and what affects that cost in the US. They also look at a few simple ways to lower those costs and the best way to get a truly accurate estimate.

Explaining the Plummeting Cost of Solar Power
MIT describes the factors that have caused photovoltaic module costs to drop by 99 percent.

Utility Customers Overestimate Cost Savings with Conservation Plans
Ohio State University says when deciding whether to participate in programs designed to conserve energy during peak hours, consumers appear to rely more on their intuition about how much money they’re saving rather than on proof their bills are smaller, a new study has found.

Germany Can’t Control Runaway Cost of Green Energy Transition
Stop These Things says Germany has rocketing power prices and a grid on the brink of collapse. Electricity system management costs are spiraling, in large part due to the sharply increasing costs of compensating renewable generators when their output is curtailed in order to preserve system stability.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

Summary of CleanBC Program for Local Governments
Community Energy Association provides CleanBC climate plan highlights and recommended municipal actions.

Built Green Waives Fees in Support of Affordable Housing
Built Green says for those units required to be built as part of the inclusionary housing they are offering financial support of a full waiver for the home certification fees on inclusionary units, and for those builders new to the program, a waiver on the Program Fundamentals Training course fee.

Canada’s Energy Efficiency Certification Programs, Built Green
Canadian Contractor review of certifiable energy-efficiency and sustainable building programs in Canada, concludes with a look at BuiltGreen, a builder-driven program that goes beyond mere energy-efficiency.

Energy Efficiency Ratings Programs
Canadian Contractor describes the various energy efficiency and environmentally appropriate housing labelling programs.

Inspire Energy Saving Behaviors
ACEEE says to inspire energy-saving behaviors, local governments engage residents, hold contests, and try games.

Efficiency Is Still the Best Energy Deal
Green Building Advisor says renewables are getting cheaper but energy efficiency, on average, still costs utilities less.

Reaching Rural Communities with Energy Efficiency Programs
ACEEE report Reaching Rural Communities with Energy Efficiency Programs highlights six energy efficiency programs serving rural areas. It describes trends across programs for rural customers and offers recommendations to help utilities and other stakeholders better serve these communities.


Dittie For Today: On The Green Millenium

We can do it, you know. We can get there. We can have it all. The Third Millennium AD can be the green millennium, the time in which we learn to live as responsible human beings at last. There is no law, natural or divine, which demands that the world we live in become poorer, harsher and more dangerous. If it continues to become that way, it is only because we do it ourselves. - Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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