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Ontario's Building Code to Change

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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The Ontario Building Code is set to undergo a massive facelift, with the end goal of bringing existing buildings closer to net zero energy usage, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

The updates to the building code tie in with Canada's Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce green house gas emissions and implement energy-efficient options both both new homes and large commercial buildings, according to Lexology.

Solar Requirements

To lower the long-term cost of adjusting new buildings to be able to accept solar energy options, two amendments are on the table: adding a loading requirement to roofing designs to accommodate the possibility of future solar technology, and the addition of a conduit to all new houses, as well as large buildings, that would allow for the future installation of a photovoltaic system or a solar domestic hot water system.

 Nhl4hamilton, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ontario Building Code is set to undergo a massive facelift, with the end goal of bringing existing buildings closer to net zero energy usage, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Adding these requirements to the code allows the costs of the sustainable measures to be lumped in with construction, rather than popping up down the road. The exceptions to the new roofing rule will be roofs where installing a solar collection system is not feasible, such as highly shaded areas and impractically sloped roofs.

Tradeoff Reductions

Another step toward creating more energy efficient buildings would be the reducing the potential for tradeoffs between parts of building envelopes and heating systems. Set to begin a phaseout in 2020, the elimination of the tradeoffs would be complete by 2022.

According to the current standard, houses can meet the energy-efficiency requirement through prescriptive-based means or performance-based means.

Prescriptive compliance involves the energy efficiency of the building’s envelope and mechanical equipment, which must conform to an overall prescreptive performance package that includes specific requirements for each component.

Performance compliance involves the builder insuring that the house’s overall energy usage must not exceed the amount of energy used in under a certain prescriptive compliance package. It is up to the builder to decide how this is distributed amongst various individual components, however.

Currently, this allows for a tradeoff between mechanical equipment and building envelopes. Developers are taking advantage of the code by installing one ultra-high energy efficient component, but using something a poor counterpart to break even.

Heat Recovery Units and Greywater Reuse

Apartments and condominiums will also be required to have a heat recovery unit as part of the ventilation system. These will remove moisture and alow fresh air to circulate, providing better indoor air quality. This, in turn, leaves residents with a better quality of health, and a more energy-efficient building.

Greywater reuse systems have also been suggested in the updated building code; these provide decentralized water reuse that is maintained by a property owner or manager, with the water being reused on site.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs will be accepting input on these changes from the public and industry stakeholders until Sept. 29.


Tagged categories: Building codes; Certifications and standards; Energy codes; Government

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