Building Codes & Standards
Buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide and will continue to be a source of increasing energy demand in the future. In Canada, buildings currently account for more than 40% of primary energy consumption. Given the large share of energy consumed by buildings, it is crucial that the energy performance of this sector is improved to ensure long-term global energy security. Policy action to reduce the energy consumption of buildings is needed to help address a variety of societal challenges.
Building energy codes, also known in some countries as “energy standards for buildings”, “thermal building regulations”, “energy conservation building codes” or “energy efficiency building codes” are the key policy instrument used by governments to limit buildings’ pressure on the energy sector and environment while providing occupants with comfort and modern living conditions.
For information relating to the National Building Code of Canada visit the National Research Council of Canada (http://www.nationalcodes.ca/)
Solar Ready: The Solar Ready Guidelines specify a number of design considerations and modifications builders can make to new attached and detached homes in preparation for the installation of a future solar system. The design considerations and modifications include the following elements: roof space, SDHW and solar PV conduits, plumbing connections to an existing hot water heater, an electrical outlet, mechanical room floor space and mechanical / electrical room wall space. Structural loading considerations are not addressed explicitly in the Guidelines.These Guidelines are intended to be simple and inexpensive to implement, while enabling significant savings in installation costs should a homeowner choose to install a complete solar system in the future.
Natural Resources Canada partnered with the Canadian Solar Industries Association to develop the technical specifications of these Solar Ready Guidelines, while builder-led pilot projects provided an opportunity to demonstrate the Solar Ready concept. The pilot projects found that a few simple and inexpensive design modifications made “up front” in the design and construction phase of a new home would enable homeowners to save significantly on the future installation costs of a complete SDHW system. View Solar Ready Guidelines.
For further information on how building codes and standards can contribute to the advancement of solar energy, this joint IEA and UNDP report shares best practices and lessons learned among IEA member countries and non-IEA countries in improving energy efficiency in the building sector (PDF).