CaGBC describes projects certified under its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard

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100 Murray project
The 100 Murray project in Ottawa

By Mark Buckshon and Robin MacLennan

Ontario Construction News staff writers

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) says it is helping eliminate carbon emissions with 10 projects certified under its Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard. These pioneering projects include new and existing offices, schools and warehouses that demonstrate buildings of all types and age can achieve zero carbon emissions.

Introduced two years ago, the ZCB Standard was designed to guide the industry in building to zero and help Canada meet its international emissions targets by 2030. CaGBC’s made-in-Canada standard has shifted the green building conversation to focus on carbon as its key performance metric. 

A carbon metric recognizes the true climatic impact of a building and brings to light aspects not considered by energy efficiency, including the importance of selecting low-carbon construction materials and energy sources for building operations. 

More than 20 projects (including 10 certifications) now registered under the ZCB Standard.

joyce centre
Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation

Perhaps the most predominant project is the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College, the first building to achieve both ZCB Design and Performance certifications. Design certification assures a project has been designed according to zero carbon building requirements while Performance certification demonstrates the project has achieved zero carbon emissions over one year of operation as required by annual verification.

The Joyce Centre design reflects a strong focus on zero-carbon.

“Zero carbon buildings, like The Joyce Centre at Mohawk College, represent a great opportunity for cost-effective emissions reduction. These projects spur innovation in design, building materials and technology while creating new skills and expertise for tradespeople and professionals,” CaGBC president Thomas Mueller said in the statement.

“Owners are also recognizing the benefits a zero-carbon building can bring, including increased resiliency to extreme weather events, meeting occupant expectations for comfort and corporate leadership, and future-proofing against rising carbon costs.”

The CaGBC is showcasing ZCB-certified buildings at cagbc.org with videos of early pilot projects, new case studies, and CaGBC research demonstrating both the technical viability and financial feasibility of the standard.

The CaGBC will also be sharing updates to the ZCB Standard early in 2020, as organization releases ZCB v2 to the market. Updates will include feedback from the ZCB pilot projects and will feature more stringent requirements for energy use and embodied carbon.

ZCB-Design certification guides the design of new buildings or the retrofit of existing ones, to reach zero carbon. Here are the Ontario buildings which have received either ZCB-Design or ZCB-Peformance certification, or both, in the case of  Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation.

Evolv1, Waterloo, Ontario

evolv1 interior
Evolv1 inerior

Owner: The Cora Group

CaGBC members involved with this project: The Cora Group, Stantec, CFMS-West Consulting Inc., Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc., Vigor Clean Tech, SolarWall, CircuitMeter, and Mitsubishi Electric.

Humber College – Building NX, Toronto, ON

Humber College Building NX
Humber College Building NX

Owner: Humber College

CaGBC members involved with this project: BIRD Construction, B+H, Daikin, Humber College, Morrison Hershfield, RDH, and Rockwool,

100 Murray Street, Ottawa

Asset manager: Bentall Kennedy

This building received Canada’s first ZCB-Performance certification.

CaGBC members involved with this project: Bentall Kennedy, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Urban Equation (embodied carbon report), Energy Profiles Limited.

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