CaGBC Zero Carbon Pilot Program

A zero carbon initiative grounded in peer learning and capacity building.

Deadline for expressions of interest is February 20

Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation joins CaGBC Zero Carbon Pilot Program

Opening in 2018, the Centre will comprise of 90,000 sq.ft. of state-of-the-art labs, workshops, lecture theatres, industry training centres and showcases as Mohawk’s Fennell Camus in Hamilton, ON. As a participant in CaGBC’s pilot program, Mohawk has planned a number of sustainability measures including:

  • High performance building envelope to maximize heating, cooling and natural light.
  • Green roof with extensive planted areas.
  • Solar panel array of over 4,300 m2 and 500 kW.
  • Solar thermal array of 50kW.
  • Geothermal wells (24 X 180m deep).
  • Variable refrigerant flow heat pumps system.
  • Storm water harvesting (342,000 L).
  • Energy target of 75 ekWh per m2 per year.

To read more about Mohawk’s project, click here for a full profile.

The CaGBC is looking for Canadian projects to participate in a two-year immersion program for developers and designers undertaking near-net zero developments in new or existing buildings across Canada. Chosen Pilots will play a leadership role as the first-to-market for certification under CaGBC’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard.

What is a zero carbon building?

Defined as a highly efficient building that produces on-site, or procures, carbon-free renewable energy in an amount sufficient to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with building operations.


The CaGBC is looking for up to 10 projects from across the country that are pursuing a zero carbon building.

  • This pilot program is focused on buildings over 25,000 square feet and will consider offices, multi-unit residential buildings, schools and libraries as well as other large buildings.
  • The pilot must represent an approved project with the intention to design and develop a near zero carbon project over the next two years.
  • Existing buildings undergoing renovations may also participate.
  • Participation will require an annual fee of $5000 to cover a portion of the costs to support this program.

Zero Carbon Criteria

To participate, project teams must be pursuing a zero carbon building and be willing to evaluate their projects using the five key components from the CaGBC Zero Carbon Framework detailed below:

  1. A greenhouse gas intensity metric for assessing a building’s emissions.
  2. Energy intensity metrics to incentivize the design of highly efficient, reliable and resilient buildings.
  3. A peak energy demand metric to encourage the use of “peak shaving” measures.
  4. An embodied carbon metric to recognize the importance of building material lifecycle impacts.
  5. Renewable energy generated on-site or procured directly in order to offset emissions and ensure the addition of clean power generation.

Further details as to the assessment of the key components and specific targets will be developed.

Benefits to being a CaGBC Zero Carbon Pilot Project

  • Opportunity to be first-to-market for certification under CaGBC’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard.
  • Opportunities to connect with peers pursuing similar initiatives and discuss shared challenges, opportunities and solutions.
  • Delivery of four interactive technical expert sessions (two per year) to address challenges identified by the pilot participants.
  • Assistance with interpretation of the standard and submission requirements.
  • A showcase session to highlight the participation of the pilots at the Zero Carbon Summit on May 30, 2017 in Vancouver (a part of Building Lasting Change 2017).
  • Proactive promotion of pilot projects as leaders in industry with media
  • Creation of a project-specific case study at the time of design, to be updated after one year of post-occupancy data is available; case study will be published on CaGBC’s website and in its newsletter.

Commitment from Pilot Participants

  • Signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) that establishes a two-year commitment between pilot participant and CaGBC.
  • Identification of dedicated staff person responsible for coordinating pilot participation.
  • Participation in quarterly meetings to update CaGBC on project developments.
  • Input in response to specific questions at key milestones in the project’s development and in the development of the Zero Carbon program, addressing technical, logistical, financial and other types of considerations.
  • Participation in a session at the Zero Carbon Summit on May 30, 2017 in Vancouver (includes one free conference pass valued at $750).
  • Assessment of the five key components at the time design is completed (preliminary), with an update once construction is completed (final).
  • Feedback on actual performance one year post-occupancy, to update the project-specific case-study created during design.
  • Fee of $5000/year or $10,000 over the life of the pilot program.

Application Process

Parties interested in participating as a pilot project are asked to email Sundeep Virdi ( before February 20 at 5 p.m. PST with a short description of their project. Shortly afterwards a call will be set up to discuss the opportunity and a survey will be provided to be completed by interested participants by March 6 at 5 p.m. PST. Since there is limited space for pilot projects, we encourage interested parties to reach out to the CaGBC as soon as possible.