CaGBC updates Zero Carbon Building Standard to fast-track carbon reductions

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has updated its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard to accelerate the adoption of zero carbon building practices and help Canada meet its climate targets. Photo courtesy CaGBC
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has updated its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard to accelerate the adoption of zero carbon building practices and help Canada meet its climate targets.
Photo courtesy CaGBC

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is zeroing in on carbon reduction with updates to its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard. Version 2 is designed to accelerate the adoption of zerocarbon 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. Version 2 also 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 many building types including schools, offices, multi-residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings, CaGBC said. The updates provide the guidance for more owners and developers to build to zero now and as part of their plans for the future.

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 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 v2 encourages best practices to minimize potential leaks of refrigerants that, when released, can have significant short-term impacts on climate.

Energy efficiency

The standard promotes the efficient use of clean energy with more stringent energy efficiency and airtightness requirements.

Innovation

ZCB-design encourages innovation by requiring projects to demonstrate two innovative strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

Click here to read the full standard.

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