CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Standard is Canada’s first green building program to make carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance.
The Zero Carbon Building Standard provides a path for both new and existing buildings to reach zero carbon, with unique requirements for each. New construction and major retrofit projects earn Zero Carbon Building – Design certification by modeling a zero carbon balance, highly efficient envelope and ventilation systems to meet a defined threshold for thermal energy demand intensity, and onsite renewable energy systems capable of providing a minimum of 5% of building energy consumption. Project teams are required to evaluate energy use holistically, including impacts on peak electricity, and determine the GHG emissions associated with structural and envelope materials.
At its heart, the program is about demonstrating a zero carbon balance in building operations year after year. Buildings that achieve a zero carbon balance and meet the other requirements for existing buildings earn Zero Carbon Building - Performance certification. This certification is awarded based on a twelve month period of operations, and performance must be verified annually. Project teams are required to evaluate energy use holistically, including impacts on peak electricity, and determine the GHG emissions associated with structural and envelope materials. Recognizing the inherent challenges to retrofitting existing buildings, this certification does not require a minimum of onsite renewable energy or a minimum level of thermal energy demand performance.