Energy Manager

Manitoba changes building code to make homes more energy efficient

Manitoba is implementing changes to the building and plumbing codes that will increase energy and water efficiencies as well as make Manitoba homes healthier, according to Government of Manitoba news release.


“We want Manitoba homes to lead the nation when it comes to incorporating new technology to improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality,” said Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, the minister responsible for the Office of the Fire Commissioner. “These changes are designed to further reduce our footprint on the environment and help Manitobans have a greener future.”


The government says the changes are the result of extensive consultations by the Office of the Fire Commissioner involving new homebuilders, contractors and technical experts. When fully implemented, the codes will make Manitoba one of the most energy-efficient jurisdictions in North America, according to Howard.


“These changes will mean that in an average two-storey, gas-heated home, carbon-dioxide emissions will be reduced by more than half or about 1.25 tonnes per year,” said Howard.


The new efficiencies will be incorporated into new construction and homes undergoing extensive renovations.  Building code changes include:

·         specifying minimum energy-efficiency requirements for windows

·         eliminating the pilot light in gas fireplaces

·         increasing the required level of attic insulation to R50

·         requiring a minimum 94% fuel-efficiency rating for furnaces

·         specifying a mid-efficient heat-recovery ventilator

·         introducing energy-modelling software that will allow builders to model alternatives to the code    requirements


Changes to the plumbing code allow for reduced maximum-flow rates in residential water devices such as toilets and shower heads. In addition, they will allow the reuse of non-potable (grey) water for other applications around the home if it meets the Canadian Standards Association grey water standard that is expected to be released in December.


The government estimates that these efficiencies would save homeowners an average of $220 per year on energy and water use, adding that with an estimated 5,000 or more new homes under construction yearly, this would result in more than $1 million in savings.


“The province has made great strides in energy and water efficiency while ensuring construction of new homes remains affordable for Manitobans,” said Mike Moore, President of the Manitoba Home Builders Association.


“Efficient use of our natural resources is becoming a priority for all Manitobans, and we applaud the province’s leadership in this area,” said Colleen Kuruluk of the Manitoba Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council. “It’s great to ensure that new homes will now incorporate this objective right from the start.”


Amendments to the Manitoba Building Code and Manitoba Plumbing Code will take effect December 1. For more information, go to

October 19, 2010  By  John Gilson

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