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The building industry is rapidly changing. The shift towards sustainability and energy efficiency best practices means your projects need to be up to code—or you risk being left behind.

In this post, we’ll explore what you need to know about these changes, where the trends are headed, and how you can prepare for this global industry transformation. Not only will this help future-proof your business, but it can also give you an edge over the competition.

The Global Shift in Sustainability

Sustainability is replacing globalization as a key driver for the economy. This isn’t only due to scientific evidence showing that current patterns of development threaten the globe itself, but also a desire to be more resilient overall.

In order to be truly sustainable, we must push beyond traditional quality expectations and embrace a higher standard of technology, innovation & education. But, as in any industry, we have to start somewhere. In construction, that’s been with new, sustainable building codes.

How Building Codes are Changing

The shift in focus on energy efficiency and sustainability is reflected by major building code changes; and these building codes can generate significant savings for both residents and businesses alike. In fact, ​​between 2010 and 2040, model energy codes for residential and commercial buildings are projected to save:

  • $138 billion energy cost savings
  • 900 MMT of avoided CO2 emissions
  • 13.5 quads of primary energy

So what do some of these new codes look like, exactly?

New Energy Codes that are Setting the Example

California’s Title 24

According to the California Energy Commission, California’s Title 24 is designed to “reduce wasteful and unnecessary energy consumption in newly constructed and existing buildings.”

Thus far, the state’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards have:

  • Saved Californians billions of dollars in reduced electricity bills
  • Conserved nonrenewable resources, such as natural gas
  • Ensured renewable resources are extended as far as possible so power plants don’t need to be built

National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB)—which covers a wide range of building components and systems, including building envelope, electrical, and mechanical systems—was developed as part of the commitment to improving the energy efficiency of Canadian buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the benefits of energy efficiency include:

  • Lower energy costs
  • Cutting emissions
  • Improving operating performance
  • Increasing asset values

British Columbia’s Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is an optional compliance path that incentivizes or requires a level of energy efficiency in new construction. This code goes above and beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code—for now.

When applied, the Step Code:

  • Improves energy efficiency and lowers energy bills
  • Opens up new opportunities for B.C. in the growing global market for energy efficiency education, technology, and services
  • Puts British Columbia on a path to meet the province’s target that all new buildings be “net-zero energy ready” by 2032

Alberta’s Green Building Standards

The Alberta Infrastructure Green Building Standards are intended to establish Alberta Infrastructure as an internationally recognized leader in green building and adhere to the Province’s commitment to sustainability, including reducing methane emissions and ending pollution from coal-fired electricity generation.

These standards are broken down into four tiers depending on the project:

Tier 1: Whole New Buildings, Building Additions and Building-Wide Gut Renovations

Tier 2: Fit-Outs – Partial Building Interior Fit-outs and Systems

Tier 3: System Upgrades – Limited Scope Projects

Tier 4: Non-Energy – Limited Scope Projects with Little or no Energy Impacts

Where Should Builders Start?

While such new building codes can present challenges, they can also provide numerous opportunities for builders. 

In fact, such green building codes and certifications can actually incentivize builders, increasing housing stock without overburdening infrastructure while also providing prospective residents with the confidence they’re making a wise purchase. According to the National Association of Counties, some such incentives include:

  • Tax incentives: Including the reduction of taxes for implementing specific green measures and certifications
  • Density/Floor Area Ratio Bonuses: Such as the provision of height bonuses, floor/area ratio bonuses, and reductions in landscaping requirements
  • Expedited Permitting: The streamlining of the permitting process for building, planning, and site permits on projects that achieve specific green measures and certifications

To learn more about how these incentives can be applied to your next project, book a call with ZS2.

What’s Next

Ultimately, your best bet is to respond to these changes using sustainable building best practices and materials. And that’s where ZS2 comes in.

At ZS2, our focus is innovation but our foundation is science. Our vision is to support the rapid transformation of the building industry by providing sustainable solutions that meet building code requirements while significantly lowering carbon emissions.     

ZS2’s TechPanels generally exceed all performance attributes of traditional structural insulated panel (SIP) construction, with added fire protection and resiliency against water and wind. 

In addition, ZS2’s solutions offer many applications to support commercial, residential, industrial, retrofit & mixed-use projects.

When it comes to meeting building code standards such as energy efficiency, fire resistance & durability, exploring ZS2 solutions such as TechPanels, TechBoard, and TechClad can be a great way forward.

On top of everything, the material science and innovation behind ZS2 Technologies is at the core of our low carbon emission building solutions. ZS2’s focus on sustainability is setting the standard on building best practices in North America and supporting this industry-wide transformation.  

In fact, all ZS2 projects are reviewed, signed off, and stamped by an accredited civil engineer for the project’s respective jurisdiction so that it meets all sustainability requirements laid out by building codes. 

Let’s Get Building

Changes in building codes and compliance is an opportunity for new innovations and solutions in the building industry, which is why builders need to be thinking about how energy codes affect their designs and processes.

Remember, energy efficiency is now a priority—from the initial planning stage all the way through implementation. Thankfully, ZS2 is here to work with builders to exceed compliance expectations on future projects.

Want to learn more about how we can ensure your next project meets all green standards, codes, and certifications? Contact us.


By: Shil Patel
Director of US Sales
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