Energy Manager

Performance improvements under consideration for Canada’s next energy code

July 26, 2012 - The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) says work is underway to identify performance improvements that could be implemented in the next edition of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB).

July 27, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

The Canadian Commission on Building & Fire Codes has given approval to the Standing Committee on Energy Efficiency in Buildings (SCEEB) to develop recommendations for enhanced energy efficiency based on “a rational analysis that considers enforcement implications, costs/benefits, technical feasibility, and industry readiness”. SCEEB has established a series of task groups to carry out this work over the next 12 months.

NRC says initial indications are that—based on current costs and benefits—further energy improvements to the building envelope beyond what is dictated in NECB 2011 would not be economically justified. Additional energy efficiency gains may be possible in other areas, however; for example, by enhancing requirements for automatic controls that reduce building energy use.

This work will build on that of another task group set up to develop specific energy performance targets based on building occupancy. These targets would replace the NECB 2011’s performance compliance path approach, which compares the energy consumption of a proposed building to that of the same building constructed according to the code’s prescriptive requirements. “Unfortunately, the 2011 comparative approach does not yield a consistent energy intensity (i.e. energy consumption/square metre) value from one building project to another of the same occupancy type”. Moving to an approach based on an energy intensity target should ensure greater consistency, insists NRC.

The task involves translating current prescriptive energy requirements into a quantitative performance target that will likely be based on occupancy type. Compliance would be achieved by demonstrating that a proposed building’s energy consumption is less than, or equal to, the quantitative value set for that building, says NRC. Preliminary feasibility results will be submitted to SCEEB this fall with a final report expected in April 2013.


For more information, contact Cathy Taraschuk at or (613) 993-0049.