The Canada Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building Program is a made-in-Canada solution that provides standards, education and research to support Canada’s climate mitigation goals.

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to eliminate GHG emissions from all building construction and operations by 2050. Buildings being designed today must target zero-carbon emissions and retrofits of existing buildings must significantly reduce carbon.

The only way to be future ready is to be zero carbon. Industry leaders are acting now, by leveraging CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Standard (ZCB Standard) to direct design, guide retrofits, and verify that building operations are zero carbon. In the process, these leaders are driving innovation and creating new jobs and opportunities in aligned with a low-carbon economy.

Version 2 Available Now

ZCB Standard v2 incorporates learnings from real-world projects including existing and new buildings such as schools, multi-unit residential buildings, commercial and industrial buildings. Updates to the ZCB Standard provide the rigour needed to ensure zero emissions – and the flexibility to encourage widespread adoption of zero carbon buildings.

Important updates include:

  • Requirement to offset embodied carbon and refrigerants
  • Multiple energy efficiency paths to choose from
  • Airtightness testing
  • Recognition of carbon offsets
  • Requirement for impactful and innovative technologies and design approaches
  • New and improved tools and resources

What is a zero-carbon building?

A zero-carbon building is a highly energy efficient building that produces onsite, or procures, carbon-free renewable energy or high-quality carbon offsets to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with building materials and operations. Zero carbon buildings represent the industry’s best opportunity for cost-effective emissions reductions that spur innovation in design, building materials and technology, creating jobs and business opportunities.

Making the case for zero carbon buildings

We’ve proven zero carbon buildings are technically feasible and financially viable. Only zero carbon buildings can future proof against the rising cost of carbon, reinforcing their value over time, while also offering benefits far beyond carbon reduction.

Read CaGBC’s Making the Case for Building to Zero Carbon report.


ZCB Standard Information & Resources

icon of a building

Explore zero carbon building projects

Events and education

Frequently asked questions


Zero Carbon Steering Committee Members

Douglas Webber (Chair)
Purpose Building

Sheena Sharp
Coolearth Architecture inc.

Maeri Machado
WSP Canada

Maxime Boisclair

Ryan Zizzo

Wendy Macdonald
Stantec Consulting Ltd.

Matt Tokarik
Subterra Renewables

Darryl Neate
Oxford Properties

Arjun KC
Alberta Energy

Ed Cullinan
Nova Scotia Power

Christian Cianfrone
Ellis Don

Morgan McDonald
Ledcor Construction Ltd.

Maria McGibbon
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Iain MacFadyen
ZGF Architects

Ariel Feldman
Choice Properties REIT

Lisa Westerhoff
Integral Group

Mathew Cable

Ready to get started?

Learn more here.