Newsletter #177
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
October 8, 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

BC Energy Step Code Handbook for Building Officials & Industry
RDH Building Science online Energy Step Code Handbook for Building Officials aims to help building officials, builders, and trade professionals better understand what constitutes a high performance building under the new BC Energy Step Code. It will also help the officials navigate the process of what will meet the Step Code criteria. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Adapting to Risks from Changing Climate
Business Council of BC says adaptation is a central but so far largely missing concept in BC’s strategic approach to climate change.

CleanBC Plan, Energy Efficiency is Key
Efficiency Canada says CleanBC and energy efficiency will help meet the emission reduction target while creating jobs and making our homes healthier and more comfortable.

Clean/Green Movement Won’t Transform Economy Quickly
Business Council of BC says according to some of Canada’s most prominent environmental organizations, the economy is being refashioned by the dramatic growth of clean and/or green industries, and an accelerating move away from fossil fuels. There are reasons to question these claims.

Canada Can Score Big Win for Climate with Building Retrofits
Pembina Institute says we need all levels of government to prioritize regulations and investment that drive the uptake of innovative retrofit solutions to protect housing and cut carbon pollution.

CaGBC Asks Feds for Low Carbon Funds in 2020 Budget
Sustainable Biz Canada says the Canada Green Building Council wants the federal government’s 2020 budget to include three investments it believes will drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Canada Carbon Pricing Successes, Failures, Diversity
Smart Prosperity Institute says understanding why provinces have crafted distinct approaches to carbon pricing or rejected carbon pricing altogether requires a nuanced understanding of provincial economies, political culture, and partisan politics.

Climate Policy Results Are More Important than Rhetoric
Fraser Institute says Canadians should be wary of alarmism in the climate change debate, since the underlying research doesn’t support the extremely aggressive tax and regulation proposals now common among some pundits and policymakers.

Climate Action Requires Putting People First
US Green Building Council report says generating public support for climate action may require more extensive education about the health and economic benefits.

2. Business Management

Submission on BC Plastics Action Plan Policy
Smart Prosperity Institute submission on the BC Plastics Action Plan Policy Consultation Paper offers background on the concept of circular economy and their vision for a circular plastics economy, then responds to the key questions raised in the Consultation Paper and makes recommendations for some additional measures. (PDF)

Transforming High-Performing Homes by Showcasing Efficient Energy
Building Performance Association and Elevate Energy report Making the Value Visible: A Blueprint for Transforming the High-Performing Homes Market by Showcasing Clean and Efficient Energy Improvements presents strategies for valuing clean and efficient energy upgrades in the real estate market.

A New Take on New Construction
US Department of Energy says construction choices and activities significantly impact the near- and long-term operational energy performance of buildings. The incorporation of recent advancements in manufacturing, fabrication, materials, and logistics hold the potential to drastically improve the efficiency and comfort of our building stock.

Specifications for Building Performance Reporting Software Platform
Institute for Market Transformation report Sample Specifications for a Building Performance Reporting Software Platform will help cities that require annual building performance benchmarking reporting and transparency. This document describes the components of a software solution, the Building Performance Reporting System, that minimizes the demands on city staff and streamlines data collection. (PDF)

Connected Home Roadmap 2019
Continental Automated Buildings Association online report Connected Home Roadmap 2019 provides a summary of research into existing and future issues and opportunities for the connected home industry. (PDF)

BC Consultation on Builders Lien Reform
British Columbia Law Institute has issued a Consultation Paper on the Builders Lien Act and is seeking responses from all sectors of the BC construction industry and other stakeholders concerning reform of the Act.

BC's Current Carbon Pricing Not Efficient or Fair
Business Council of BC says the competitiveness of some of BC’s major economic drivers and low-carbon export engines — notably energy, mining, forestry, agri-food, manufacturing, and transportation — is being damaged by the existing carbon pricing system.

EI When You’re Self-Employed
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says as a self-employed Canadian (or permanent resident) you can have access to EI Special Benefits if you register with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission.

3. Building Design & Trends

Top Green Features Millennials Want in a Home
NAHB says Energy Star appliances are the green feature that Millennials want the most in a home, according to an NAHB report.

Extreme Green Home
Fine Homebuilding says the world’s first Living Building Challenge–certified home is a study in integrated, sustainable design.

5 Energy-Efficient Modern Homes
Dwell says these designers are leading the charge toward a greener, more-environmentally friendly future.

Count of Zero Energy Residences Grows 59% Across US & Canada
Home Energy says the market for residential zero energy buildings continues to show growth across the United States and Canada, according to the new Zero Energy Residential Buildings Study.

Buyer Interest in Net-Zero Home Sags in Survey of Architects
Green Building Advisor says a quarterly survey by The American Institute of Architects shows rising interest in solar panels and docking stations for electric vehicles but declining interest over time in the number of people who say they want net-zero energy or superinsulated houses.

Call for Net-Zero Embodied Carbon in Buildings by 2050
World Green Building Council calls for embodied-carbon reduction in buildings via global collaboration, communication, education, innovation and regulation. WGBC’s ambitious aim is to get to net-zero EC in all new construction and renovations by 2050.

Architect Group Reports Progress on Carbon-Cutting Goals
Green Building Advisor says architects participating in a global campaign to transition to carbon-neutral buildings by 2030 are making progress, but efforts so far are falling well short of current targets.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Code 2018 Energy Compliance Reports, Performance Paths for Part 9 Buildings
BC Government updated BC Energy Compliance Reports (Performance Paths for Part 9 Buildings) provide a standardized report template for Part 9 buildings complying with Subsection 9.36.5. or 9.36.6. of the BC Building Code. An updated version of the reports, for use with BC Building Code 2018, is now available.

BC Energy Step Code Supplemental on Overheating & Air Quality
BC Housing new Design Guide Supplement on Overheating and Air Quality provides information on the key strategies and approaches necessary to reduce the impacts of a warmer climate on mid- and high-rise (Part 3) wood-frame and noncombustible residential buildings within BC. (PDF)

PHPP-THERM Reference Procedure
Fenestration Association of BC new PHPP-THERM Reference Procedure clarifies the differences between North American and Passive House window thermal energy performance standards, and provides a way for North American window manufacturers and energy simulation practitioners to accurately determine the energy performance parameters required to qualify them for use in Passive House buildings designed to the International Passive House Standard.

Towards Canadian Net-Zero Building Code
Efficiency Canada says proposed changes to Canada’s Energy and Building Codes will lay the foundation for Canada’s Net Zero Energy Ready model code, which is key to Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Municipal Tools for Net Zero Energy Development
S2E report Municipal Tools for Catalyzing Net Zero Energy Development looks at eight different development projects as case studies at diverse stages across four mid-sized growing cities in Ontario, evaluating what would be necessary in order to enable the project to provide all of its own energy on-site, by assessing three complementary and interdependent focusses. (PDF)

Redefining Zero Energy for Homes
Builder Magazine says it is time to revamp the lingo around zero energy.

What Are Passive Houses?
Fine Homebuilding says these high-performance building standards and certification guidelines help architects and builders create comfortable, super-energy-efficient houses.

Exploring Bright Spots of Passive House Policy
North American Passive House Network online Policy Resource Guide shows the adoption of the Passive House standard across North America over the past decade has not been uniform, linear nor without challenges, but its uptake is now accelerating rapidly. (PDF)

5. Building Science & Technology

Common Sense Look at Temperature Conversions
HVAC School describes the basics of temperature conversions.

How to Look at a House like a Building Scientist Pt 1, Air
Building Science describes how to use diagnostic tools to find air leaks that make homes inefficient, uncomfortable, and are often the cause of moisture-related problems.

How to Look at a House like a Building Scientist, Part 2, Heat
Green Building Advisor provides a nuanced look at thermal imaging and how it can shed light on much more than heat loss.

Builder Claims CLT Beats Stick-Frame or Concrete
Home Builder Canada says building new condominium projects with cross-laminated timber and other factory-produced wood elements can save builders time and buyers money while protecting the environment, according to Vancouver veteran homebuilder Adera Development.

Best Way to Insulate a Basement Slab
Green Building Advisor discusses whether XPS, EPS, or spray polyurethane foam is best for insulating the slab of a new home in the US northeast.

Residential Ventilation Systems
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for various types of residential ventilation systems. (PDF)

Wood Combustion, How Firewood Burns
Ecohome describes how firewood burns, the stages and processes, and how to get the best heat for your money while being eco-friendly.

Carbon Capture is Life-Affirming Force of Action
GreenBiz says there is growing interest in negative emissions, by withdrawing more CO2 out of the atmosphere than we are putting into it.

6. Building Performance Issues

Environmental Assessment of House Cladding Products
Dovetail online report Environmental Assessment of House Cladding Products examines the relative environmental impacts of various cladding options. Impact estimates are based on full life cycle assessments beginning with raw material extraction, through product manufacture, use, and end of life disposal. (PDF)

Phantom Flickering Fluorescent Bulbs
Fine Homebuilding says static electricity, leaky dimmer switches, or one of several sources of electromagnetic radiation may be to blame for occasional flashes of light from fluorescent fixtures that are switched off.

What's the Most Durable Grout?
Green Building Advisor’s technical director, a former remodeler with modest tile experience, wonders why more people aren't using polyurethane grout.

Realtors & Radon, Protecting Buyers & Sellers
BC Real Estate Association says understanding radon risks is more than just a professional responsibility under the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's Professional Standards Manual.

Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) Tool
Carbon Leadership Forum has released the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (“EC3”) tool. The open source tool is for architects, engineers, owners, construction companies, building material suppliers and policy makers to compare and reduce embodied carbon emissions from construction materials.

To Fight Climate Change, Roofs Need to Chill Out
Custom Home Magazine identifies emerging smart roof technologies to address rising temperatures across the globe.

HVAC Air Duct Leakage
SMACNA discusses the history of duct air leak testing and describes proper techniques and practical application when leak testing is performed in accordance with the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association standards. (PDF)

The Case for Energy-Plus-Health Programs
Insulation Institute describes the new Energy-Plus-Health Playbook that examines a three-tiered approach for programs to target unhealthy and substandard existing housing conditions that cause energy burdens and compromise the household health of low- and middle-income customers.

7. Products & Suppliers

Huge Leap Forward in Home Energy Tech
Current News says Samsung, Bulb and Chameleon have partnered for huge leap forward in home energy tech.

Innovation That’s Shaking Up Home Energy Monitoring
Builder Magazine says consumers want smart home energy solutions. And it’s easier than ever to install them.

Choosing the Right Light Bulb
Smarter House describes each of the major considerations involved in selecting the right bulb for each type of light fixture.

Micro Combined Heat & Power
Plumbing & Mechanical says with today’s focus on protecting our environment and lowering operating expenses, micro cogeneration can provide effective water heating and power solutions for multi-family housing, hotels, schools, agriculture operations, industrial processes, fitness centers and notariums.

Smart Hybrid Heat System Using Machine Learning
Current News says the B-Snug system for domestic customers uses machine learning to continuously monitor the temperature in the home and analyses weather forecasts to automatically switch between an air source heat pump and traditional boiler.

Laminate Countertops Good as Green Counter Choices
Ecohome says there are now better laminate countertops out there for sustainable green homes.

Wood Fibre Insulation
WoodWorks online slide show presentation describes the potential of wood fibre insulation to optimise high performance construction. (PDF)

Polished Concrete Makes Healthy Flooring
Concrete Network provides seven reasons why installing polished concrete floors can create a healthier environment for you and your family.

8. Installation & Procedures

Framing Techniques for Multi-Family Builders
WoodWorks online slide show presentation describes how to improve framing techniques by addressing common commercial and multi-family construction issues. It reviews several case studies and discusses the lessons learned so that we avoid similar issues on your own projects. (PDF)

Wall Upgrades for Residential Deep Energy Retrofits
US Department of Energy report Wall Upgrades for Residential Deep Energy Retrofits summarizes current practices for exterior wall retrofits for existing homes. It identifies state-of-the-art deep energy wall retrofit technologies suitable for cold and very cold climate zones. (PDF)

Purchasable Graphic Guide to Frame Construction
Taunton book For Pros By Pros: Graphic Guide To Frame Construction is a newly revised and updated edition of their classic visual handbook, loaded with up-to-date code information, the latest material advice, and detailed construction methods. USD $24

Prefab Passive House & LEED Kit Homes for Sale
Ecohome says prefab homes make choosing an Architect designed LEED or Passive House high performance house design easy.

Online Course on The Integrated Design Process
Homebuilders Association Vancouver online course on Integrated Design Process covers best practices, key partners in this process, and how to implement the process in your construction practices.

Guide on Home Water Conservation
Tankless Water Heater Express describes more than 60 ways to save water at home.

Retrofitting a 1960s Split-Level, Cold-Climate Home
US Department of Energy report Retrofitting a 1960s Split-Level, Cold-Climate Home summarizes a project that evaluated and implemented a cost-effective solution package that met the requirements of 30% source energy savings compared to the pre-retrofit performance. The final solution package focused on increasing the thermal resistance and airtightness of the building enclosure and providing more efficient and effective space conditioning before a 5.2-kW grid-connected photovoltaic system was installed. (PDF)

Electric Vehicle Charging for Dummies
Green Building Advisor says for an accurate sense of how far your electric vehicle will go, you should learn to speak the language

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Richmond Looks to Expand its Centralized Energy System
Richmond News says the City of Richmond district energy utility could service up to 50 million square feet over time.

Canadian Energy Information Portal
Canadian Energy Information Portal brings together reliable government data on Canada's energy mix, including electricity, renewable energy and oil and gas.

Choosing the Best Electric Car
Ecohome describes how to choose the best electric car by first defining which EV is best for you depending on where you live, where you're driving to and what or who you're transporting.

Swappable Electric Scooter Battery Stations
Electrek says in Taiwan, Gogoro is heating up the electric scooter battery swap war with new battery and scooter stations.

Combined Heat & Power Getting Smaller
Plumbing & HVAC says combined heat and power systems are not new, but they are getting smaller to cover more applications. New to the North American market are micro-CHP systems, producing up to 50 kilowatts of electricity, aimed at small commercial and institutional applications.

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Wind Power
US Department of Energy describes the top 10 things you didn't know about wind power.

2018 Wind Technologies Market Report
Berkeley Labs highlights the US Department of Energy Wind Technologies Market Report that provides an annual overview of trends in the US wind power market.

Could Renewable Natural Gas Be Next Big Thing in Green Energy?
Yale E360 says for decades, small-scale biogas systems have collected methane from landfills, sewage plants, and farms. Now the growth of this renewable form of natural gas is taking off as businesses capture large amounts of methane from manure, food waste, and other sources.

10. Information Sources

Q2 2019 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q2 2019 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

7 Better Building Science Podcasts to Have in Your Queue
Energy Circle describes the home performance and building science podcasts you should have in your queue.

9 Building Science & Energy Efficiency Blogs to Read
Energy Circle lists the nine blogs they've been reading to keep up to date on building science knowledge and energy efficiency news.

Building Performance Institute September 2019 Newsletter
Building Performance Institute online September newsletter includes information on the new Healthy Housing Principles, info on what a customer might ask their BPI Certified Professional about solar energy, a Fall Tips marketing piece to use, Stump the Chump, industry news, and more.

Canada Go Solar Guide & Directory
Canadian Solar Industry Association online annual member directory provides advice and information for homeowners, businesses, and other building and land owners who want to go solar.

Presentations from Better Buildings Summit
US Department of Energy allows you to access presentations from their recent Better Buildings Summit. These include resilience project financing, grid-interactive efficient buildings, communications strategies, energy security planning, and more.

Energy Efficiency in Canada 2017-2018
NRCan report Energy Efficiency in Canada: Report to Parliament Under the Energy Efficiency Act, 2017-2018 summarizes the actions they have taken in 2017-2018 to promote energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources. (PDF)

Online Database of 40 Countries National Energy Use & CO2 Emissions
AlphaGalileo says the on-line World Input-Output Database launched by the European Commission Joint Research Centre provides data on the industrial and household energy use of residents in more than 40 countries and their corresponding CO2 emissions for the period 2000-2016.

11. Conferences & Shows

Entrepreneurs for Sustainability In Vancouver
Entrepreneurs for Sustainability is taking place in September & October in downtown Vancouver. It is a fully volunteer-led initiative dedicated to entrepreneurship, and gathers impact-seekers for a series of events that highlight the gaps in the Sustainable Energy landscape.

Getting to Zero Forum
The Getting to Zero Forum will be held in Oakland, October 9-11. It is dedicated to zero energy and zero carbon buildings, and will bring together leading policymakers, design professionals, building owners, systems manufacturers, commercial real estate representatives and others working to define a new energy future for the built environment.

Behavior Energy & Climate Change Conference
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference to be held in Sacramento, November 18-20, focuses on understanding behavior and decision-making with respect to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability.

Window & Door Industry Trade Show
Fenestration Canada presents Win-door, the annual trade show for the fenestration and door industry, in Toronto November 19-21.

12. Education & Training

BC Builders Education Summit
CHBA BC presents their Builders Education Summit in Vancouver, October 9-11. You can receive up to 22.5 CPD credits over 3 days.

Overview of Legionella & New Vancouver Regulations
ASHRAE BC dinner session on October 16th will cover an overview of legionella and the proposed new Vancouver regulations.

BCBEC Luncheon, Energy Demands & Aluminum Window Walls
BC Building Envelope Council luncheon in Vancouver on October 17 features Meeting Increased Energy Demands With Aluminum Window Wall. They will review the energy performance of current aluminum window wall systems and address the misconception in the industry that with the implementation of the new energy STEP Code, a full wrap of aluminum window wall may no longer be an option.

Tour BC Insightful House Living Building Challenge Home
Homebuilders Association Vancouver tour features Insightful Healthy Homes leading the tour of the Insightful House on October 17th. This Living Building Challenge Project showcases the systems, technology and building science designed to meet the program’s rigorous standards, which is putting this Vancouver home on the track to be the greenest house ever built in Canada.

Beyond Technology, The Future of The Building Industry
UDI seminar Beyond Technology, The Future of The Building Industry will be presented in Vancouver on October 22nd. The multi-perspective conversation will discuss how the future of building is not only innovative, but unsiloed; requiring collaboration and integration with every stakeholder, in every aspect of the project delivery chain.

Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings
Passive Buildings Canada course Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings will be presented in Vancouver on October 25th. This full-day course provides an in-depth discussion of high-performance building enclosures for North American buildings, including single-family homes and large commercial buildings, with a focus on walls, roofs and window systems.

Okanagan Construction Industry Education Conference
CHBA Central Okanagan is presenting their annual two-day education conference in Vernon, October 26-27. It will provide builders and developers with the necessary points to count towards their continuing education requirements to maintain their BC Housing License.

New Labour Relations Code Changes
ICBA breakfast seminar on November 1st presents The New Labour Relations Code and You: How the Code changes may impact your business. This two-hour seminar will outline the recent significant changes to the Labour Relations Code that are important to both union and non-union companies.

Better Performance Homebuilding in the Real World
Homebuilders Association Vancouver seminar Better Performance Homebuilding in the Real World will be presented in Burnaby on November 4th. Mark LaLiberte of Construction Instruction will provide builders, renovators, architects, designers, renovators, subtrades and other project consultants with the tools required to successfully navigate the complexities of moving a current Building Code-compliant home to high-performance standards (Step Code 3 and beyond).

Deepening Climate Leadership
BC Climate Leadership Institute event takes place in Richmond, November 7-8. It is a workshop designed to help BC Mayors, Councillors, and Regional District Directors confidently lead or support bold climate action in their communities.

Passive House Tradesperson Course, Building Envelope
City of Vancouver is giving skilled builders and tradespersons the opportunity to take this BCIT course on Passive House construction at a reduced cost. This course, being presented November 12-15, provides the knowledge and practical hands-on skills needed to build to the Passive House standard. It focuses on building enclosure optimization and provides a foundation in passive house principles, while stressing the importance of construction fundamentals and proper sequencing and using a variety of materials.

Building Code for Residential Builders
ICBA seminar Building Code for Residential Builders will be presented in Langley on November 14th. Participants will learn how to read, interpret and use the BC Building Code (2018). The course is specifically targeted for constructors of small buildings and residential construction in order to allow them to discuss with confidence issues brought up by inspectors, plan checkers and/or consultants.

Building Smart with Sound Principles & Noise Control in Homes
BC Housing Webinar Building Smart with Sound Principles and Noise Control in Homes will be presented on November 19th. This three-hour webinar will examine site assessment for noise sources and provide strategies to reduce noise intrusion.

13. Costs & Savings

Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind & Sunlight Costs More
Fraser Institute study Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind and Sunlight: Is Getting Less for More Better than Getting More for Less, finds despite rhetoric that renewable energy is cheap, wind and solar power generation actually comes with large-yet often ignored-costs that increase electricity prices for residents and businesses. And generating electricity from variable renewable energy sources, such as wind and sunlight, benefits the environment less than proponents claim.

Energy Storage Is Proving Even More Disruptive Than Cheap Renewables
Forbes says the falling price of renewable energy has been dominating the headlines, but more dramatic change is happening behind the scenes, where battery storage is disrupting the way utilities provide power.

Cost of Building Power Plants in Each US State
The US Natural Resources Defense Council tool improves upon existing methods to compare, on an apples-to-apples basis, the cost of producing power from different technologies in each state and region of the US. They include onshore wind farms, large solar facilities, as well as gas, coal, and nuclear plants.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

CleanBC Rebates for HVAC Industry
TECA lists the various CleanBC rebates that are now available for the HVAC industry.

BC Rebates for Natural Gas Furnaces & Connected Thermostats
FortisBC says if you replace your old natural gas furnace with an eligible Energy Star model and you could qualify for a rebate of up to $700. Plus, if you install an eligible connected thermostat, you could qualify for an additional $150 rebate.

BC Rebates for EV Charging Stations for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
FortisBC says those installing EV charging stations in parking areas for employees or residents can save up to $2,000 per station on eligible costs.

BC EV Charger Rebates up to $700
BC Hydro is topping up the provincial rebate offer on home EV chargers for a limited time.

Canadian High Density Renovation Program Pilot
Leading up to Renovation Month, Built Green Canada launched its High Density Renovation Program pilot and is encouraging trials during this phase.

Market-Driven Solutions Best Approach to Boost Energy Efficiency
US National Association of Home Builders told Congress that it wants to work as a partner with officials at all levels of government to encourage energy efficiency, but also stressed that it is urgent that housing affordability is not jeopardized in the process.

What Businesses Need in Order to Invest in Green Tech
Global News says some experts suggest uncertainty that investment credits will continue from one government to the next is limiting private sector investment.


Dittie For Today: On Equality

No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. - Booker Taliaferro Washington


Quick Links


Subscription Info



© Copyright 2019     Ken Farrish     All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional     Valid CSS!