Zero Carbon Building Standards

A made-in-Canada solution

CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building™ (ZCB) standards are a made-in-Canada framework that makes carbon the new measure of building innovation. Among the world’s first zero-carbon building standards, they recognize the importance of building emissions in reaching national climate commitments. The ZCB standards are an important tool supporting the green building sector’s efforts to decarbonize Canada’s buildings.

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What is a zero-carbon building?

A zero-carbon building is highly energy-efficient and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions from building materials and operations. Until all emissions can be eliminated, high-quality carbon offsets can be used as a counterbalance.

The ZCB standards define low-carbon design and operational performance for buildings. They offer both rigour and flexibility, opening the door for all buildings to minimize their climate impact. Buildings of all types, from office towers to arenas, warehouses, multi-unit residential buildings, and schools, have been certified under the standards.

Two pathways for buildings

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Zero Carbon Building Performance Standard

The ZCB-Performance Standard is used to demonstrate that a building has achieved zero-carbon operations. It requires verification annually.

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Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard v3

Zero Carbon Building Design Standard

The ZCB-Design Standard guides the design of new buildings or retrofits of existing ones. It offers a pathway to ensure buildings can achieve zero-carbon once in operation.

Looking for Zero Carbon education?

Events and education

The Accelerating to Zero series of events and education are specific to zero-carbon buildings. As Canada ramps up efforts to reduce carbon, the building sector must have the knowledge and skills necessary to build to zero and to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by our new, low-carbon economy.

Need more convincing?

Learn how zero-carbon buildings can work for you.

Édifice Jacques-Parizeau’s ZCB-Performance certification to guide future Ivanhoé Cambridge projects

Located in Montreal’s International District, Édifice Jacques-Parizeau is the home of real estate…
April 28, 2022

The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation

In May 2018, the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation (JCPI) became the…
December 15, 2020

AMPED Sports Lab & Ice Complex

High-performance focus earns AMPED Sports Lab Zero Carbon certification AMPED Sports Lab and…
December 15, 2020

Rayside Labossière architectes

Rayside Labossière: Existing LEED building shines with new Zero Carbon Building – Performance…
August 24, 2020

Embodied Carbon: A primer for buildings in Canada

This document provides the building sector with the information needed to understand embodied…
March 23, 2022

Decarbonizing Canada’s Large Buildings

2021 report provides a path to zero  For Canada to achieve its 2030…
March 8, 2022

Making the Case for Zero Carbon Building

CAGBC report proves the value of zero carbon buildings  In Making the Case…
March 8, 2022

Accelerating to Zero

Upskilling for Engineers, Architects, and Renewable Energy Specialists Zero-carbon building skills are essential…
March 24, 2017


CAGBC, U of T to receive $1.7 million contribution for carbon capture study

November 28, 2022 – Ottawa ON – Today, the Canada Green Building Council…
November 28, 2022

Over 200 projects aim for Zero Carbon

October 20, 2022 – OTTAWA, ON – Momentum is growing for net-zero buildings,…
October 20, 2022

Sept. 29 is the deadline for ZCB-Design v2 registration

Projects seeking to register under Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard v2 should…
September 22, 2022

CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard to phase out combustion

Ottawa, ON – June 21, 2022 – Today the Canada Green Building Council…
June 21, 2022

For more information on the Zero Carbon Building Standard.