Ontario will soon release an updated version of its supplementary energy standard for buildings, SB-10 2017, under the Ontario Building Code. This new energy code will come into force on January 1, 2017 and is designed to provide 13% better energy performance than the current 2012 version of SB-10. The current code already requires buildings to achieve a level of performance that would meet the requirements of the energy prerequisite for new buildings under the Canada Green Building Council’s LEED NC 2009 certification program, and a 13% jump in energy performance will mean that new buildings in Ontario will exceed the requirements of this prerequisite, even under the newer version, LEED V4, currently being introduced to the Canadian market.

In order to achieve these energy savings, SB-10 2017 will likely be updated with more stringent envelope requirements (better windows, more insulation in walls and roofs), lower lighting power density requirements (LED lighting will become the norm), and higher efficiency standards for heating, ventilating, and cooling systems (condensing boilers, expanded heat recovery requirements, etc.).

As in the previous version of SB-10, buildings will also be required to show lower annual carbon emissions and lower peak electrical demand than an equivalent building designed to just meet the building code. For buildings pursuing energy modelling compliance paths, SB-10 2012 cites a CO2 emission factor of 400 grams of CO2e per kWh for grid electricity and 191 grams of CO2e per kWh for natural gas. As discussed previously the current carbon intensity of the Ontario grid is actually much lower than 400 grams (estimates range from 50-70 grams per kWh) as Ontario has shut down coal fired generating plants and the new version of SB-10 is likely to reflect this. This change in carbon intensity will strongly favour energy saving solutions which reduce more carbon-intensive natural gas consumption over those which save electricity.

SB-10 2017 will represent a significant step up in the energy performance required for new buildings in Ontario. New optimization tools for energy modelling can help project teams optimize for both energy and cost, maximizing energy performance while minimizing the cost of compliance.