Canadian Consulting Engineer

Consumers Council lobbies for changes to National Building Code

November 2, 2007
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Consumers Council of Canada is recommending that the National Building Code of Canada should make it mandatory ...

The Consumers Council of Canada is recommending that the National Building Code of Canada should make it mandatory for builders of new homes to conform to energy efficiency standards.
They want energy efficiency in houses to be adopted as a “core objective” in the 2010 issue of the National Building Code. They are also calling on the National Research Council of Canada to immediately update the Model National Energy Code for Houses to be included as a reference in the 2010 National Building Code of Canada.
The Consumers Council made its recommendations in a report released October 3. The report followed a council meeting that passed a series of recommendations.
The National Building Code of Canada is adopted wholesale by the majority of provinces and territories, including Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Territories. Because the national code does not consider energy efficiency or even incorporate a minimum level of insulation and thermal efficiency for windows, builders in those provinces do not have to provide energy efficient construction.
Joan Huzar, current chair of the Consumers Council’s energy committee, noted that “Builders complain about the cost of installing energy efficiency measures in new homes.” However, she adds, “Builders build, but homeowners are paying the heating and cooling bills.”
The larger provinces that have their own building codes which do have energy efficiency provisions for new house construction: notably B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and to a lesser extent Alberta.
The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance support the Consumer Council. Ken Elsey, president and CEO of the alliance, pointed out that the lack of energy efficiency provisions in the National Building Code poses particular problems in Canada’s north: “Many homes in the Territories are built by the Federal Government and are not required to meet any building code energy efficiency standard. This is completely unacceptable,” Elsey said in a release.
The Consumers’ Council decision to lobby for energy provisions in the national code came after reviewing data from four recent public opinion polls that indicated a majority of Canadian consumers “strongly support greater energy efficiency.”
The council is also supporting energy efficiency provisions in building codes as a way to help governments across Canada fight global warming. The council notes that energy use in Canada’s residential sector is responsible for approximately 17% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.


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