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Edmonton adopts sustainable building policy

New municipal buildings must be built at minimum 40% more energy efficient and emit 40% less greenhouse gases than buildings built to code.


Embracing a passive house inspired building design, Edmonton’s city council has approved a new Sustainable Buildings Policy.

The city reports that its new standard for energy efficiency set out in the policy is “the most ambitious for a major Canadian city with a carbon intensive electricity grid like Edmonton and second only to Vancouver.”

According to Jenny Hong, senior project manager for the city’s Energy Transition Strategy: “Energy and Climate Change are the top sustainability and resiliency challenges facing Edmonton. We know that 39% of Edmonton’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 42% of our energy consumption is from buildings.

“It’s important for the city to show leadership in sustainable building practices and this policy does just that. It commits us to build new municipal buildings that are at minimum 40% more energy efficient and emit 40% less greenhouse gases than buildings built to code. It requires a higher quality building envelope that decreases the amount of energy needed to heat the building.”

“Policy C532 makes Edmonton one of the first cities in Canada to improve energy conservation by targeting the quality of the building envelope for new municipal buildings,” said Pascale Ladouceur, director of facility planning and design. “It encourages designers to use passive design strategies to minimize the consumption of natural gas and electricity. This could include using high quality, well-insulated windows, doors, and walls and optimizing placement of windows to reduce the need for active heating and cooling.”

The policy also requires a minimum 1% of the project budget to be dedicated to on-site energy generation. This could mean that new city buildings could generate up to 30% of their annual energy needs through an alternative energy system such as solar panels or heat and power cogeneration. Dedicated funding for on-site energy generation will help the city’s achieve its longer term goal of generating 10% of Edmonton’s electricity locally.