Help CAGBC shape how Canada’s Building Codes address carbon

Provide your input to help the National Model Codes address operational and embodied carbon

Green Building

The federal government is undergoing a review of its National Model Codes to bring them in line with market capabilities and expectations on decarbonization. Across Canada’s building sector, our members and stakeholders are calling for adjustments that provide the guidance they need to meet their decarbonization goals.

In a critical step towards decarbonizing buildings, the National Model Codes will address operational carbon in the 2025 updates already under development. Embodied carbon updates will follow in 2030. CAGBC is participating in code development as an observer on various working groups and through its advocacy efforts with the key government departments involved in the process, particularly the National Research Council.

Input is being sought on draft policy recommendations for developing and implementing operational carbon provisions in the National Model Codes. We encourage members to express their support for incorporating a carbon objective and provide feedback on the policy recommendations. You can review the policy recommendations here. Comments can be provided to the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes by emailing before March 30. To follow the code development process, subscribe to Construction Innovations.

CAGBC advocates for updates to the codes that will quickly drive the decarbonization of new buildings and recognize that mechanical systems have long lifespans. Progress on new construction will increase access to, and knowledge of, low-carbon solutions, creating a competitive driver for retrofits of existing buildings, which is a much more significant challenge . Where combustion-based space heating is used, measures should ensure compatibility with low-grade electric heating sources to facilitate retrofits. CAGBC also supports the adoption of future emission factors, which more accurately reflect the context in which buildings being designed today will operate.

The adoption of energy efficiency tiers in the 2020 editions of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) and National Building Code of Canada (NBC) was a positive step, and CAGBC supports the introduction of tiers for carbon abatement to be adopted by provinces and territories independently of energy efficiency tiers.

The 2025 codes aim to provide clear direction on when and how requirements will apply to building retrofits. It is also encouraging that the provinces and territories have agreed to bring their new Construction Codes into force within 18 months following the date on which the 2025 editions of the National Codes are published.

With building codes moving towards zero carbon internationally, from California Zero to the new European Union directive, Canada must stay competitive with its trading partners to attract investment and drive innovation in the building sector. Building codes represent an effective approach to move the entire market torward decarbonization. Recognizing the importance of managing carbon for the real estate sector, CAGBC will continue to advocate for zero-carbon buildings as the new norm and promote the inclusion of carbon reductions into the NECB and NBC.

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