Newsletter #183
Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
April 23, 2020


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

Free Access to All Past Issues of Solplan Review
Long-time BC industry member Richard Kadulski has officially digitized the all 179 past issues of his publication Solplan Review. You can find the entire 30 years of issues online here, covering a broad range of building science and energy efficiency topics.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Builders Push Drawdown Buildings to Cut Embodied Carbon
BuildingGreen says touting the benefits of biobased materials and electrification, a recent study shows how low-rise buildings can become a climate solution.

Takeaways from 2020 BC Home Performance Contractor Forum
Home Performance Stakeholder Council report summarizes their Contractors Forum held on February 25, 2020. It covers what industry needs to meet targets, how to get to deeper retrofits. (PDF)

Everything Is Disrupted
Energy Transition Magazine says the coronavirus is crashing the oil economy and reducing emissions, but a recession also isn’t good news for clean energy.

Massive Job Losses Among Key Potential First-Time Homebuyers
Altus Group says the 25-44 age group – which, according to Altus Group’s FIRM Survey, accounted for over 80% of first-time buyer home sales in the past 2 years – suffered massive losses in full-time jobs in March.

BC Industry Resources on COVID-19
ICBA site has Coronavirus pandemic resources including important links, construction-related updates, FAQs, best practices to avoid the virus, and much more.

Impact of Coronavirus on Housing Industry
Professional Builder provides a daily update on how the Coronavirus is impacting the housing industry.

Canada a World Leader in Environmental Performance
Fraser Institute report Environmental Ranking for Canada and the OECD, 2nd Edition says Canada's environmental record outperforms the majority of OECD countries, despite the fact that Canada is much larger and colder by comparison, and has a large natural resources industry.

Dirty Secrets About US CLEAN Future Act
Independent Institute says the US Committee on Energy & Commerce recently released more details of the so-called CLEAN Future Act, which formally adopts the goal of achieving of a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. Besides the manipulative name, the proposal (a) doesn’t even bother trying to justify its central goal and (b) includes a grab-bag of proposals that are very blunt instruments to reduce emissions. When a small group of officials declares what “the science” dictates in terms of government measures, the public should be very wary.

2. Business Management

What Can Builders Market During a Pandemic?
Pro Builder says during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are looking to brand marketers for two things: support and security.

Many BC Businesses in Need of Life Support
Business Council of BC says the COVID-19 crisis is significantly hurting BC businesses and their employees. In the past two weeks alone, approximately half of the 1,900 businesses surveyed have experienced revenue decreases of 75% or more, while two-thirds have seen revenues drop by 50% or more.

Safety Consultant Crafts COVID-19 Training for BC Builders
Journal of Commerce says after WorkSafeBC announced it would be stepping up construction site inspections for COVID-19 prevention compliance, a Vancouver safety consulting company decided to step up and create training materials.

Webinar on BC Home Performance Industry Response to COVID-19
Home Performance Stakeholder Council is hosting a contractor webinar on May 7th to get industry response to COVID-19. They want to better understand industry needs and to collect ideas around what government actions would be most effective in meeting your business challenges.

Truly Alarming Outlook for BC Job Market
Business Council of BC regularly monitors the provincial job market, commenting on overall labour market conditions, employment growth and the near-term outlook in different industries. Looking ahead, they expect to be providing an exceptionally gloomy narrative over the course of the second quarter of 2020 – if not longer.

How COVID-19 Impacts Construction Contracts
Kuhn LLP says the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is significantly impacting the construction industry in BC. But is it enough to legally justify changing or terminating your contractual obligations?

Impact of COVID-19 on Independent Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business surveys their members weekly to discover how the virus is affecting independent business. Here’s what their respondents are saying so far.

HVAC Contractors Guide to COVID-19
Healthy Indoors describes some issues and considerations for HVAC contractors during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Building Design & Trends

What Builders Are Doing to Increase Energy Efficiency
NAHB says US home builders can learn how to achieve low Home Energy Rating System scores by looking closer at data points captured in energy modeling software to see what trends emerge.

How Sustainable is Your Housing Type?
Architect Magazine says taking the questions of efficiency and density into consideration before designing and building new residential communities is critical.

Cardinal House, Mass Timber Pre-Fab for First Nations
Wood Design & Building describes the Cardinal House, a prefabricated and assembled prototype that was completed in October for the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. The 1,100-sq.ft. two-storey, three-bedroom/two-bathroom house is a high-performance, mold-resistant mass timber design. Manufactured off-site to exacting standards in a controlled indoor environment, then shipped on a single truck and assembled by a small crew in just a few days, it is an affordable solution that uses modern materials and methods to successfully address many of the key issues contributing to the housing crisis.

How to Reach Zero Net Carbon & Beyond
Architect Magazine says Architecture 2030’s Achieving Zero policy is a framework for eliminating emissions from the building sector.

Homebuyer Demand Shifts Toward Less Dense Rural Markets
Professional Builder says as the highly transmittable coronavirus rips through communities across America, an increasing number of homebuyers are trading city dreams for country life.

5 Key Consumer Shifts
John Burns Real Estate Consulting says the coronavirus pandemic may accelerate the growth of already up-and-coming trends.

Engineering Modifications to Fire-Tested and Listed Assemblies
Engineers & Geoscientists BC practice advisory clarifies professional engineering responsibility for modifications to fire-tested and listed assemblies used in the construction of buildings. (PDF)

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

COVID-19 Prompts Hundreds of WorkSafeBC Action Requests
Council of Construction Associations says hundreds of requests for action are coming from WorkSafeBC’s prevention line regarding COVID-19 safety on construction job sites.

CaGBC & RAIC Share Building Code Recommendations
HPAC Magazine says in a joint letter to the NRC, the groups want to see focus on more than energy efficiency, but also the carbon emissions associated with construction and operations.

Zero Carbon Building Standard Version 2
Canada Green Building Council updated Zero Carbon Building Standard v2 incorporates learnings from real-world projects including existing and new buildings such as schools, multi-unit residential buildings, commercial and industrial buildings.

Windows & Doors in Net-Zero Frame
REMI Network says a wider selection of high-performance windows and doors is expected to hit the market as Canada’s National Energy Code continues to push the envelope toward net-zero-energy-ready development.

No Gas for You!
Plumbing & Mechanical discusses whether or not we will eventually evolve to an all-electric based plumbing and HVAC world.

Testing Chemicals at Home & in Construction
Healthy Indoors online video discusses test results from 6 samples of formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds taken at a new build.

ASTM Incorporates Energy Performance into Property Due Diligence
The Trowel gives a brief overview of the development of building energy performance legislation and standards, like ASTM’s latest standard: E3224.

Understanding the Business of Real Estate
Institute for Market Transformation has drafted the guide Understanding the Business of Real Estate: Information for the Successful Implementation of a Building Performance Policy. It aims to enhance city personnel perspectives on how the real estate industry functions—including how different market actors work together throughout the various phases of a building’s lifecycle—and foster more meaningful conversations with stakeholders.

5. Building Science & Technology

Crawlspaces, Either In or Out
Building Science Corporation says crawlspaces should either be inside the house or outside the house…not in between. They need to be completely, totally, for sure, no doubt not connected to the house (or building)…or be completely, totally, for sure, no doubt connected to the house (or building).

Is Air Sealing Mostly BS?
Green Building Advisor says if you consider economics alone, air sealing is a hard sell. But energy-efficiency is only part of the picture.

Vapour Open Air Tight Insulation Using Stone Wool
Building Performance Community online video describes how to plan vapour open air tight insulation using stone wool. It first examines what stone wool is, the history, the production and common uses in residential construction for mineral wool insulation. It then goes more in detail of designing a wall with durability in mind, discussing different water/air barriers and the non use of vapor barriers in a design.

How To Harvest Rainwater in Your Garden
Happy DIY Home describes how to harvest rainwater in your garden, and the various methods you can use to store water, keep it around, and direct it to where it is needed.

Low-Slope Roofing Details That Work
Journal of Light Construction says positive slope and easy drainage are keys to success for low-slope roofing.

The Fascinating History of Radiant Heating
In this informative and entertaining excerpt from his Classic Hydronics seminar, Dan Holohan will tell you about the history of radiant heating systems.

Case for Cladding Leaky Old Highrises
Corporate Knights says re-cladding this 18-storey affordable housing unit will help it the first North American passive house retrofit.

Can You Use HVAC Filters in Coronavirus Masks?
Energy Vanguard says you can use a homemade mask with a piece of MERV-13 fabric for occasional excursions from home while the coronavirus is still spreading.

6. Building Performance Issues

Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam & Thermal Drift
Green Building Advisor says National Research Council Canada is evaluating aged in-service polyisocyanurate insulation.

Can Your HVAC System Filter Out Coronavirus?
Energy Vanguard says you definitely can improve your indoor air quality and filter out particles that carry viruses. MERV-13 is the minimum rated filter recommended, but just popping a high-MERV filter in your system may not help because of some well-known unintended consequences.

COVID-19 and Science of Home Quarantine
Building Performance Podcast episode teams up with Healthy Indoors Magazine to bring you a panel of experts discussing the science of 100% of people staying at home 100% of the time.

House Plants Do Not Clean Air or Remove Toxins
Ecohome says the idea that house plants filter and clean indoor air is at best a mini-truth, and at worst a total myth, and like any pseudo-science health trend, it can have a negative impact as well.

How to Boost Recycling
Green Building Advisor says to boost recycling we can reward consumers with discounts, deals, and social connections.

Masonry Claddings & Rainscreens
Construction Instruction online video describes concepts around masonry claddings and rainscreens.

When It's Better to Demolish an Old House
Green Building Advisor discusses the merits of buying a tear-down and offers some thoughts on recycling and landfills.

Business Case for High-Performance Buildings
US Department of Energy online Business Case for High-Performance Buildings shows how leading property owners incorporate energy efficiency and broader sustainability elements into their operational and investment decisions.

7. Products & Suppliers

Siding for Your Sustainable Home
Green Building Advisor podcast episode guides you in choosing the siding that’s right for you (and better for the planet).

Green Product Innovations from the Past
Architect Magazine shows some of the landmark product innovations from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries that highlight efforts for responsible building and design.

2019 TecHome Brilliance Product Awards Winners
TecHome Builder lists their 2019 TecHome Brilliance Awards Winners. The awards program recognizes the leaders in the home technology market as manufacturers implement innovations in home control, energy efficiency, connected appliances and more.

Best Products In 2020 Industry Shows
Green Building Advisor contributor shares the products that impressed him most at Green Build and the International Builders show.

Unique Insulation Promises Aesthetics, Performance
Home Builder Canada says a unique new insulation product, the open-joint cladding system called Cavityrock Black, is a dual-density insulation board designed to mask the insulation layer with a bonded fleece facing to create a crisp, dark aesthetic in open-joint facades.

New Trends & Technologies in Fenestration
Pro Builder says new technologies help meet demand for larger, more durable, and better-performing fenestration products and systems.

Making Bendable Concrete
Green Building Advisor says with a design inspired by seashells, this reformulated concrete can make the U.S. infrastructure safer and more durable.

8. Installation & Procedures

Basement Finish with SPF Insulation
Construction Instruction online video shows how to insulate and finish a basement with SPF insulation.

Insulating & Airsealing Floor Above Garage with Spray Foam
Construction Instruction online video shows how to insulate and air seal a floor above a garage with spray foam.

Vented Attic with Spray Foam & Blown Insulation
Construction Instruction online video shows how to insulate a vented attic with spray foam and blown insulation.

Why Are People Still Using Open-Combustion Water Heaters?
Green Building Advisor says with backdrafting concerns and better options for tight houses, an argument can be made for phasing out atmospherically-vented appliances.

Blowers, Props and How They Behave (or Misbehave)
HVAC School says fan laws and fan curves are a deep subject with a lot of nuance and variation. This article focuses on two different types of fans that we see all the time in HVAC, the prop/axial type and the radial/centrifugal type.

Installing a Heat-Pump Water Heater
Green Building Advisor describes how to install a heat-pump water heater.

Relative Humidity in Supply Air Stream
HVAC School says often the RH in a supply duct will be between 85% and 96% relative humidity on a system that is functioning as designed. The reason for this is fairly simple.

Research into Framing Walls to Combat Moisture
Pro Builder says a pair of recent research studies reveal best practices—and a new assembly sequence—to combat moisture in framed walls.

9. Fuels, Energy & Transportation

Online Gasoline Fuel Consumption Calculator
Natural Resources Canada online fuel consumption calculator helps identify the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your everyday needs by comparing the fuel consumption information of different models.

Distributed Solar-Plus-Storage Is Cost-Effective in Some Applications
GreenBiz says battery energy storage costs are less than a fifth of what they were a decade ago. This is enabling behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage systems to deliver bill savings for large commercial and industrial users that have high demand charges or time-of-use utility rates.

New Report on Solar-Adopter Income Trends
A new report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory highlights income trends among residential rooftop solar adopters.

Optimizing Solar Photovoltaic Performance for Longevity
US Department of Energy says the performance of solar PV systems for any building owner can be optimized throughout their 20- to 30-year lifespans by conducting proper operations and maintenance. This online resource from the Federal Energy Management Program offers an overview of PV performance, how to measure it, and how to optimize it with an O&M plan.

Why Efficiency with Electrification Catalyzes Change
Institute for Market Transformation describes why efficiency and electrification must work together.

Microgrids Make Sense for Charging Electric Vehicle Fleets
Microgrid Knowledge says to most of the world the electric vehicle revolution simply means using a plug rather than a fuel pump to keep a car running. But in truth it will require a significant overhaul of energy systems and infrastructure, one that’s likely to get businesses and even households considering microgrids.

Microgrid White Papers
Microgrid Knowledge offers the largest collection of microgrid white papers from energy experts around the globe. Register once and download all the white papers you need to plan, build and operate a microgrid.

Electric Trucks Next Frontier
ACEEE says a promising array of new electric trucks, buses, and delivery vans is slated to soon enter the US market.

10. Information Sources

Home Energy Magazine Becomes Building Performance Journal
Home Energy magazine will now be called the Building Performance Journal and will become a Building Performance Association member-only publication. It will become BPA's technical journal, and work to keep you informed of the latest industry information.

Online Videos on Building Performance
Building Performance Community has online videos covering a wide range of topics relative to home performance.

Weatherization Nation Online Videos
Pro Trade online videos cover a range of energy efficient retrofit procedures for building envelopes.

Passive House Canada Newsletter
Passive House Canada online March 2020 newsletter provides updates and information on the passive house industry.

Canadian Emerging Leaders Taking Collective Action
Energy Futures Lab is a 60-strong cohort of emerging leaders who are focused on building trust and knowledge, sharing lessons, and taking collective action. Their goal is to spark a new energy future narrative that inspires dialogue on key issues and challenges.

Brief Summaries of Climate Issues
Climate At A Glance condenses frequently argued climate issues into brief 1-2 page summaries. Bullet-points at the top provide quick, memorable information. Short summaries of a paragraph or two provide additional depth. Many summaries include powerful visual graphs. Embedded links verify the information.

Purchasable Book On Log Home Construction
BC Log and Timber Building Industry Association book The Illustrated Guide to Log Home Construction is a comprehensive catalog of log construction assemblies with detailed description. $50 CDN

Urban Archetypes Project
From 2006 to 2008, CanmetENERGY developed energy consumption profiles of average households in thirty-one neighbourhoods within eight communities across Canada. The project explores how urban form (land use and infrastructure) influences vehicular transportation energy usage and household energy consumption.

11. Conferences & Shows

National Home Performance Virtual Conference
Building Performance Association says their National Home Performance Conference will now be online, starting April 27th. It will include their regular offerings, both live and recorded sessions, interactive Q&As with presenters and office hour” interactions, town hall-style meetings, virtual happy hour and informal chat sessions, and discussion forums.

Living Future 20 Online Conference
Living Future 20 will be held online, May 7-8. It attracts decision makers from some of the world's most respected architecture, engineering and contracting firms in continuing to raise the caliber of success for a human experience that is in harmony with the natural world.

12. Education & Training

Healthy Homes & Home Performance, Making Homeowner Connection
Building Performance Institute Webinar Healthy Homes & Home Performance, Making the Homeowner Connection, will be presented on April 21St. Energy Circle CEO and Founder Peter Troast will explain the trajectory of the healthy homes movement within home performance, and consumer trends supported by first-party statistics and market intelligence. He will unpack how contractors can bridge this communication gap with homeowners, and the foundations of a healthier home business and marketing strategy.

Preparing for Emergency Reduced Income, Covid 19
ICBA presents a free Webinar, Preparing for Emergency Reduced Income from Covid 19, on April 24th. This practical webinar from the Credit Counselling Society of BC covers how to plan for reduced income, and deal with your bills as well as your creditors.

BC Climate Action, Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy for Homes & Communities
BC Sustainable Energy Association webinar BC Climate Action, Energy Efficiency & Clean Energy for Homes and Communities will be presented on April 23rd. It will introduce you to a decision-making framework to help identify and evaluate energy efficiency, electrification and other clean energy projects.

Re-Building BC: Real Estate and Construction in the Covid-19 World
ICBA webinar Re-Building BC: Real Estate and Construction in the Covid-19 World will be presented on April 29th. In this virtual town hall, hear from BC’s leading real estate marketing and intelligence commentators on the current state of the market and the economic and demographic factors that will shape real estate and construction in the post-Covid-19 world.

Online Course on Introduction to Solar Water Heating
BCIT online course Introduction to Solar Water Heating will be presented May 2-3. It introduces solar water heating technology and its common applications, including swimming pools, domestic hot water and hydronic heating. Participants will be introduced to main classes of solar collectors, including glazed, unglazed and evacuated tubes.

Building Smart, Delivering Thermal Comfort in Residential Buildings
BC Housing webinar Building Smart, Delivering Thermal Comfort in Residential Buildings will be presented on May 20th. You will learn about how people perceive thermal comfort and the tools and techniques you can employ, with your design and building team, to reliably deliver optimal passive and active comfort solutions regardless of the extreme weather conditions.

Online Course on LEEP Wall Strategies to Meet Net Zero Standards
Home Builders Association Vancouver has released its online course LEEP Wall Strategies to Meet Net Zero Standards. Held at the BCIT High Performance Building Lab, this pre-recorded session focuses on the demonstration of four LEEP wall assembly strategies to meet the Net Zero Energy Ready construction standard, as well as discussion on moisture, thermal bridging and airtightness challenges.

Online Course on Introduction to Zero Carbon
International Living Future Organization says as climate action becomes more urgent, there is a growing focus on embodied carbon within the built environment. ILFI has released the Zero Carbon Certification program to specifically measure this action, recognizing projects that decarbonize both the operational and embodied carbon. The Introduction to Zero Carbon course is a one-hour introduction to carbon in the built environment, and what project teams should consider when pursuing their first Zero Carbon building.

Online Passive House Courses & Training Events
Passive House Canada lists all their online courses, where you can get all the training you need to become Passive House Certified from the comfort of your own home.

13. Costs & Savings

Economic Impact of COVID-19 Will Be Enormous & Difficult to Estimate
Business Council of BC says the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus will be both enormous and difficult to estimate. To begin with, the entire world is catapulting into recession as governments scramble to contain the pandemic and international trade and travel shrivel. For BC this means reduced foreign demand for the goods and services we sell abroad and lower prices for many of our exports.

Ways Home Builders Can Manage Material Availability Risk
Professional Builder says as global and domestic supply chains are affected by the pandemic, home builders can take steps to help minimize builder risk and improve operations.

Markup 101 for Remodelers
Qualified Remodeler says experience indicates fewer than 15 percent of remodeling business owners understand this important component of properly pricing a job before it is sold.

Green Regulations Exacerbate Housing Crisis
MarketWatch says building environmentally friendly homes is becoming increasingly prohibitive, especially in expensive areas.

Minnesota Homestead, Not All Sunny in Net-Zero Land
Green Building Advisor says cheap electricity prices and grid access fees pushed a solar panel system payback period to greater than 20 years.

14. Incentives, Financing & Programs

CleanBC Better Homes Program Changes for April 1st
Home Performance Stakeholder Council describes the CleanBC Better Homes program incentive changes for April 1st.

BC Home Renovation Rebate Contractor Network
You can sign up here for the BC Hydro Home Renovation Rebate Contractor Network mailing list. You can learn about: Latest Home Renovation Rebate updates and offers; Training opportunities with industry experts; Consultation panels to provide input on upcoming program changes.

New 2020 Funding Your BC Community Energy and Climate Change Initiatives
Community Energy Association has released the 2020 edition of Funding Your Community Energy and Climate Change Initiatives: A Funding Guide for BC Local Governments. It features more than 40 funding programs that support local government energy planning, energy efficiency measures, renewable energy projects and sustainable transportation initiatives.

Better Together, Energy Efficiency, Solar, Battery Storage
ACEEE report Integrating Energy Efficiency, Solar, and Battery Storage in Utility Programs surveys dozens of programs nationwide, including those by the 52 largest US electric utilities, as well as statewide administrators and independent service providers. It finds 17 examples of programs that integrate energy efficiency with solar and battery storage.

List of COVID-19 Small Business Supports in BC
BC Government provides a complete list of small business supports in BC, relative to COVID-19. (PDF)


Dittie For Today: On Work

Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. - Simon Sinek


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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