Canada Green Building Council updates Zero Carbon Building Standard to fast-track carbon reductions

Version 2 balances rigour with new flexibility to get more buildings to zero, faster

March 10, 2020 – Ottawa – The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is zeroing in on carbon reduction with updates to its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard. Launched today, Version 2 is designed to accelerate adoption of zero carbon building practices – and help Canada meet its climate targets while spurring innovation and job growth.

Canada’s buildings are a top contributor to carbon emissions, and updates to the ZCB Standard reflect the urgent need for change. Today, building operations represent 17 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or closer to 30 per cent when embodied carbon from construction and materials are factored in.

CaGBC’s made-in-Canada ZCB Standard provides the industry with a zero-carbon approach that works for any type of new or existing building. Version 2 draws on learnings from over 20 real-world ZCB-projects. These projects demonstrate that the industry is ready to raise the bar on expanded requirements for embodied carbon and energy efficiency. At the same time, Version 2 aims to get more buildings to zero, faster, by providing more options for different design strategies and by recognizing high-quality carbon offsets when necessary.

These updates balance the rigour needed to meaningfully eliminate carbon, while also being flexible enough for zero carbon buildings to reach the mainstream. Since the ZCB Standard launched in 2017, CaGBC has proven through real-world projects and research, that zero carbon buildings are technically and financially viable today – across a wide spectrum of building types including schools, offices, multi-residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings. The updates provide the guidance for more owners and developers to build to zero now and as part of their plans for the future.

“There is no time to waste or reason to wait. Zero carbon buildings represent the best opportunity for cost-effective emissions reductions today,” said Thomas Mueller, CEO and President, CaGBC “The changes we’ve made give the industry and government a clear path to show carbon leadership with positive climate action that future-proofs buildings, encourages innovation, and drives job growth.”

What’s new in ZCB Standard v2

ZCB Standard v2 provides two pathways for any type of building to get to zero carbon. ZCB-Design guides the design of new buildings, as well as the retrofit of existing structures. ZCB-Performance provides a framework for verifying buildings have achieved zero carbon and must be revisited annually.

ZCB Standard v2 updates focus on these key components:

  • Embodied Carbon: Projects must now reduce and offset carbon emissions for the building’s life-cycle including those associated with the manufacture and use of construction materials.
  • Refrigerants: ZCB Standard v2 encourages best practices to minimize potential leaks of refrigerants that, when released, can have significant short-term impacts on climate.
  • Energy Efficiency: ZCB Standard v2 promotes the efficient use of clean energy with more stringent energy efficiency and airtightness requirements.
  • Innovation: ZCB-Design encourages innovation by requiring projects demonstrate two innovative strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

To read the full Standard, or to see the full list of pilot and certified projects, please go to CaGBC.org/zerocarbon

 

About CaGBC

CaGBC is the leading national organization dedicated to advancing green building and sustainable community development practices. As the voice of green building in Canada, CaGBC works closely with its national and chapter members in an effort to make every building greener. CaGBC reduces environmental impacts from the built environment through project certification, advocacy and research, and has helped meet the demand for skilled workers by providing green building education to more than 30,000 professionals across the country since 2002. CaGBC established the LEED® green building rating system in Canada and developed the country’s first Zero Carbon Building Standard. It also oversees the Canada Coalition for Green Schools and is a member of the World Green Building Council supporting international efforts to reduce environmental impacts from the built environment. For more information: cagbc.org.

About the Zero Carbon Building Standard

Developed by the Canada Green Building Council, the Zero Carbon Building Standard is made-in-Canada solution designed to be broadly applicable to help any type of new and existing building achieve zero-carbon. 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 balance the annual carbon emissions associated with building materials and operations. For more information CaGBC.org/zerocarbon.

Read our reports:
Making the Case for Building to Zero Carbon
Roadmap to Retrofits

Media Inquiries
media@cagbc.org
613-288-8075