Marketing Your Zero Carbon Project
Earning Zero Carbon Building certification is a significant landmark, demonstrating your organization’s leadership and innovative approach to the built environment.
To ensure accurate recognition in the marketplace with the new certification, various stages of certification deserve different communication messages. As such, the CaGBC has created guidelines for how to properly refer to your project whether it is registered, ZCB-Design certified, or ZCB-Performance certified.
Congratulations on registering your project for CaGBC®’s Zero Carbon Building Program (ZCB). Registering is the first step in the ZCB certification process, and indicates your intention to meet the requirements of Canada’s first zero carbon green building program.
Once a project is registered, the project team begins to prepare and collect documentation and calculations to satisfy the submittal requirements. As this first step is a critical one on your road to certification, it is important to ensure that your project is referred to appropriately.
Referring to a registered project in promotional materials
When referring to an officially registered project, it is important to ensure proper language in order to protect the value of Zero Carbon Building certification.
As is referenced in the official Zero Carbon Building Brand Guidelines, a Zero Carbon Building registered project may be referred to as a “CaGBC® Zero Carbon Building certification Candidate”.
It is also appropriate to refer to your project as “registered with the intention to certify”, “targeting CaGBC® Zero Carbon Building -Performance certification” or “targeting CaGBC® Zero Carbon Building – Design certification” (as appropriate) – keeping in mind that both Design and Performance certification are not guaranteed until the certification has been awarded.
Registered projects should never be referred to as “certified”
While registration does indicate your commitment to certifying a building under the ZCB Program, it cannot legally be referred to as certified until you have received official notification.
Trademark and copyright infractions are taken very seriously by the CaGBC and will not be tolerated. If the project does not comply with the Zero Carbon Building Brand Guidelines and continues to do so after being contacted, the CaGBC will send a legal cease and desist letter to the owner, and this will result in legal action if changes are not made within the designated timeframe.
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Zero Carbon Building - Design certified
Congratulations on achieving ZCB-Design certification. This certification means a project has demonstrated design excellence, and has provided documentation that demonstrates the project has: modeled a zero carbon balance for future operations; incorporated a highly efficient envelope and ventilation system to meet a defined threshold for thermal energy demand intensity; and designed onsite renewable energy systems capable of providing a minimum of 5% of building energy consumption.
Design certification: correct messaging
CaGBC congratulates you on achieving ZCB-Design certification. We look forward to reviewing the first year of operations as part of earning ZCB-Performance certification.
While there isn’t a certification mark for ZCB-Design certified projects, you are encouraged to include mention of the certification in your messaging. This can include:
- [Company name] is pleased to announce that [project name] has earned Zero Carbon Building - Design certification through the CaGBC®’s Zero Carbon Building Program.
- [Project name] has been Zero Carbon Building - Design certified by the Canada Green Building Council®.
- [Company name]’s [project name] is now Zero Carbon Building - Design certified! This certification program offered by the Canada Green Building Council® is the first of its kind in Canada and one of the first in the world.
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Zero Carbon Building - Performance certification
Congratulations on achieving ZCB-Performance certification. This certification truly demonstrates excellence in green building, and puts your project among an elite group that have earned certification through this rigorous new program. The certification applies to a defined 12 month period of operations, and we look forward to verifying that your building remains a Zero Carbon Building next year. For now, it’s time to celebrate and communicate your leadership to the market.
ZCB-Performance certification promotional tools
Once the confirmation form is received, a decal and certificates will be provided, along with the image files for use of the Zero Carbon Building certification mark (logo). As ZCB-Performance is an annual certification program, the certification mark includes the year of building operations for which certification was earned.
As part of certification, each project receives two decals and permission to use the certification logo. There will soon be additional options you may purchase in order to customize and promote your certification – stay tuned to this page for details as they become available.
Performance certification: proper messaging
CaGBC is pleased that you have achieved ZCB-Performance. We encourage you to communicate this exciting certification. It is important to remember that ZCB-Performance certification is awarded annually. This means that you must refer to the year of operations for which certification was earned in all messaging (specifically, use the calendar year that applies to the end of the performance period; for example, if you certified operations from June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019, you would use 2019). Reference language could include:
- [Company name] is pleased to announce that [project name] has earned Zero Carbon Building - Performance 2018 certification through the CaGBC®’s Zero Carbon Building Program.
- [Project name] has been Zero Carbon Building - Performance certified by the Canada Green Building Council®.
- [Company name]’s [project name] is now Zero Carbon Building certified for 2018! This certification program offered by the Canada Green Building Council® is the first of its kind in Canada and one of the first in the world.
Note: you may use two years to indicate your certification if it fell between two years (i.e. 2017-2018), but always ensure you associate the date with the certification.
CaGBC® marketing support
In addition to the official email confirmation, you will receive the Zero Carbon Building certification logo for use in promoting your accomplishment.
The CaGBC Marketing and Communications team is here to support you in your marketing of this certification and can offer you a variety of ways to help in this effort, including:
These services are offered through CaGBC's Marketing and Communications team as a way of providing added value to your announcements and promotional material.
- A quote from the CaGBC's President & CEO for your news release, and a fact-check, if desired (five business days turnaround time is required).
- A Zero Carbon Building and CaGBC backgrounder for the media kit.
- The opportunity to profile your project on the CaGBC Zero Carbon Building webpages and in social media. This may include:
- a newsletter profile (audience of over 10,000);
- a case study;
- social media graphics and mentions; and,
- the use of your project’s name and images in future promotional materials (if desired and with permission).
- Potential to help connect your project with a media contact for an article or broadcast piece (subject to availability).
For additional questions on promotional material or request any of these items, please contact CaGBC Marketing and Communications.
Referring to a certified project in promotional materials
As is referenced in the official Zero Carbon Building Brand Guidelines, your certified project can now be referred to as "Zero Carbon Building - Performance certified". A certified project can also utilise the ZCB certification logo. Please note that ZCB-Performance certification is recognized annually, based on the most recent 12 month period of operations; therefore the project can only be referred to as ZCB-Performance for one year at a time.
Do’s and Dont’s when referring to a ZCB certified project
Due to the nature of ZCB certification, it is easy to improperly explain or refer to certified projects. Listed below are a few examples of common mistakes made when communicating a ZCB certified project.
- Do not refer to a ZCB-Design project as anything other than this. It cannot be referred be referred to as a ZCB-Performance certification as it has not met the required criteria yet.
- It is important to remember that ZCB-Performance certification is awarded annually. This means that you must refer to the year of operations for which certification was earned in all messaging and cannot communicate that the project is certified outside of that year, unless performance in those years was also certified.
- Do not refer to the project as 'Zero Carbon accredited'. Accreditation is a designation that a professional earns; projects earn certification.
- Zero Carbon Building certification is not an award; it is a certification that is achieved.
Other promotional tips
Each project has interesting features or goals that make it unique. It is always a good idea to speak to the members of the project team to find out what makes your project stand out. Things to keep in mind are:
- How much GHG emissions is your project saving compared to a traditional building?
- Why did you decide to pursue zero carbon emissions for your project? What value does this provide to you – monetarily and otherwise?
- What type of building or space are you promoting? Is it a school, an office building, or a factory? Why did this project want to earn Zero Carbon Building certification and how does this benefit it?
- There are new and innovative low carbon technologies being developed and implemented each day in green building; maybe your project has one or more of these fascinating new technologies.
- Don’t be afraid to refer to your project’s certification as a demonstration of industry leadership. This program is the first of its kind in Canada and you are among an elite group.
These are the kind of features that media and the public love to hear about.
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