Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge
Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge

Airtight, efficient and green: Burnaby’s new rules for environmentally friendly buildings

 

(This article is via the Burnaby Now)

Nearly half of Burnaby’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from people heating and cooling their homes and businesses, according to a city report.

With that in mind on Monday, city council set course for new rules governing energy efficiency in new buildings. The new policies laid out in the report could reduce GHG emissions by 70 per cent or more in new apartment, office and shopping developments, according to city staff.

“Buildings that use less resources, (while using) renewable energy systems and sustainable materials support a healthy environment,” wrote Lou Pelletier, Burnaby’s director of planning and building.

He said developments built after the rules come into effect will save money in the long run, by slashing heating bills, as well as create “green” jobs in the short term.

The new rules are expected to take effect July 1, 2019, after the city’s building bylaw is amended.

“This timeline is intended to give industry enough lead-time to prepare and adapt to new practices,” Pelletier wrote.

So what are the new rules?

The city is currently focusing on what the BC Building Code calls “Part 3” buildings – commercial buildings taller than three storeys or with a footprint larger than 600 square metres (6,458 sq. ft.) This includes “apartments, offices, shopping centres, hotels and some mixed-use buildings.”

The policy framework has five main components:
Energy modeling and airtightness testing

This policy would require developers to use software that predicts the energy use and GHG emissions of their planned “Part 3 “ buildings.

Once a building is nearly complete, builders would have to test it for airtightness.

“Achieving higher levels of energy efficiency requires more airtight buildings (while noting that fresh air is still delivered through efficient ventilation systems),” Pelletier’s report says.

Data from this testing would be used by the city to ensure developers are complying with the new rules.
More energy-efficient buildings

The city’s plan calls for standards capping overall energy use by the buildings in question. This gives flexibility to developers to implement the energy source that fits best, Pelletier wrote.

“However, this limitation may result in negligible or modest GHG reduction, depending on the type of fuel used for heating and cooling,” he wrote.

An apartment building could meet these efficiency standards while using natural gas, but would only see a 10 per cent reduction in GHG emissions, according to Pelletier’s report.

“For these reasons, Burnaby’s proposed green building policy for Part 3 buildings includes provisions to encourage the use of low carbon energy systems (LCES).”

Read more in the Burnaby Now.

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