The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which became law on June 29, 2021, enshrines in legislation Canada’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Taking a significant role will be new standards that the building sector must follow. Today, Canadian buildings account for almost 30 percent of all emissions when materials and operations are considered. If Canada is to reach its target, every building design and retrofit project must target zero carbon now.
Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s Zero Carbon Building Program offers the standards, education and research the building sector needs to contribute to Canada’s climate goals.
The ZCB Standard provides pathways for both new and existing buildings to reach zero carbon, and certification offers recognition for industry leaders. There are two versions With ZCB Standard v2, focus is on the carbon balance of a building across its life-cycle, including construction and operation. It is applicable to all buildings except homes and small multi-family residential buildings. A recent addendum to ZCB Standard v2 expands applicability for additions and attached buildings and offers allowances for buildings in climate zone 7 or 8, or those with unique heating or ventilation loads.
ZCB's Requirements draw on learnings from real-world projects including a variety of new and existing buildings. The latest ZCB Standard balances the required to ensure zero carbon and the flexibility needed to encourage widespread adoption. Key criteria include:
The requirement to offset embodied carbon and refrigerants
Multiple energy efficiency paths to choose from
Recognition of carbon offsets
Requirement for impactful and innovative technologies and design approaches
New and improved tools and resources