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How does cove.tool work in the Canadian market?
How does cove.tool work in the Canadian market?

Is cove.tool customized for Canada? What is the data source for Canada?

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

One of the biggest advantages that cove.tool has over its competitors is automation. When setting up a project on the platform a user's project location will automatically populate the tool with the relevant local weather data, energy codes information, connect to a cost and carbon database, and more. This article will discuss the key automation done in order to be best compatible with projects from Canada.

Energy Codes

Prescriptive Path:

In Canada, cove.tool is configured to utilize NECB automatically based on the address of the project. Users can override the automatic configuration and change the standards to adhere to a different energy code, or edit the baseline values to better match their proposed design.

The Canadian energy codes available are: NECB 2011, NECB 2015, NECB 2017, and NECB 2020. The platform also includes the option to use the Toronto Green Standard with more energy codes to be added in future updates. Users can also switch to ASHRAE based standards while in Canada if the design team wants to use this standard instead. To find out more about the differences between ASHRAE and NECB, check out this article. The primary differences between ASHRAE and NECB are listed below:

  1. ASHRAE 90.1 mainly considers energy cost and NECB considers energy consumption to achieve compliance.

  2. NECB has stricter policies for a building's thermal envelope than ASHRAE 90.1

    1. For example, after running models for ASHRAE zone 6 (Helena, MT) and NECB zone 6 (Ottawa, ON), minimum compliance for NECB 2015 results in lower energy use than ASHRAE 90.1 2013.

Performance Path:

Performance path requires that the building as a whole performs to a certain standard and uses less energy than the same building built to prescriptive code.

Performance compliance shall be assessed through modeling that conforms to specifications detailed in the section 8.4.2 of NECB standard. Currently, the OpenStudio integration feature in cove.tool allows users to use the OSM and IDF files to conduct compliance level energy model for NECB's performance path. Also, future development of load modeling tool will allow for whole-building energy simulation which can be used for NECB's performance compliance path.


The platform computes TEDI (Thermal Energy Demands Intensity) and TEUI (Total Energy Use Intensity) in addition to EUI (Energy Use Intensity). For those unfamiliar with TEDI, it is the annual heating energy demand for space conditioning and conditioning of ventilation air measured in kWh/m^2/year. TEDI only considers the design aspects that limited the overall demand for heating in a building. By targeting low TEDI, designers focus on passive solutions like good insulation, airtightness, and beneficial sun angles that help reduce energy use directly. For more information on TEDI, check out this article.

TEUI is the sum of all energy used by a building on-site (i.e. Electricity, Gas, District Heat), minus all renewable energy generated on-site, divided by the Floor Area. cove.tool and the SBEC (Sustainable Built Environment Committee) of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) came together to build a TEUI Calculator, a web-based app for performance evaluation for Ontario-based projects. The TEUI project aims to simplify the understanding of the objective, measurable performance values of buildings by representing energy and greenhouse gas emissions in three simple and absolute terms, as a function of building area over the course of a year. For more information on the TEUI Calculator, check out this article.

Weather Files

Weather files for Canadian provinces can be found on the Energy Plus website. If the files for the region are unavailable, users may input their own data so long as it is a .epw file type through the loadmodeling.tool.


Cost differences in building material for Canadian users are also accounted for in cove.tool on a per-state/territory basis. Although material and costs are principally sourced for the United States, these values are then localized to the provincial scale for Canada. Initial cost-sourcing is accomplished through our annual market study, leveraging our partnerships with various manufacturers. Learn more here.

Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions are calculated using carbon emissions factors local to your State, Province, or Country. These factors are applied to the electricity usage of the project and a constant value is used against the Gas usage. Emissions factors for Gas and scope 2 & 3 Electricity are sourced from Canada's National Inventory Report and from EnergyStar Technical Reference: GHG Emissions.

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