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Building code in Alberta needs to update its energy efficiency standards

February 04, 2011

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association of Canada, the Pembina Institute and the Consumers Council of Canada have embarked on a public campaign to raise awareness of the Government of Alberta’s need to update its energy efficiency standards when it comes to the Alberta Building Code.


February 4, 2011
By Anthony Capkun

The campaigns—which urge consumers to contact their local members of legislative assembly and insist on better building codes in Alberta—surfaced after the Government of Alberta’s stopped its efforts to increase its energy efficiency requirements in the Alberta Building code.

“The government is waiting to adopt the energy efficiency requirements in the next version of the National Building Code, which is set to come out at the end of this year. The new National Building Code is expected to raise the energy efficiency level equivalent to EnerGuide 80 for houses, it is judged that Alberta is currently operating at approximately EnerGuide 68,” says the coalition.

If built to code, new homes sold in Alberta could cost consumers over 30% more to heat and cool than those being built in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, the coalition insists. “In most cases, energy efficiency improvements cost builders less than $5000, with benefits greatly outweighing the additional costs passed onto consumers.”

For example, an EnerGuide 80 home will save a homeowner $70 per month in Calgary and $100 per month in Edmonton compared with a house built to the building code, reasons the coalition. The increased cost to build this house is about $6000 or $35/month. On the average mortgage, this means that owners of high-efficiency houses have a net savings of $35-$65/month, starting in their first year of ownership. “That really adds up over time, saving an Edmonton homeowner $780 in just the first year and more than $16,000 over the course of 25 years,” the coalition concludes.

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The campaigns have been put in place to encourage the Government of Alberta to put a plan in place to help industry transition to a standard equivalent to EnerGuide 80 by 2014, since no jurisdiction has ever gone from Alberta’s current level of energy efficiency to EnerGuide 80 without an interim step. According to the partners, the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association states that most homebuilders are already building to this mid-70s level; however, an interim building code would prepare builders that are not building to the mid-70s EnerGuide level for a transition to the National Building Code.

CLICK HERE for Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance.

CLICK HERE for North American Insulation Manufacturers Association of Canada.

CLICK HERE for Pembina Institute.


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