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New Energy Code Enforcement, Does it Matter to You?

Posted on 06/01/2016
by Richard Granger, P.Eng.
Are you unsure how the Energy Code for buildings affects you? We have summarized some key points that can affect your building projects.

Effective April 1, 2016, the Energy Code in Manitoba became applicable to some Part 9 buildings that were previously exempt. All Part 3 buildings in Manitoba became subject to the Energy Code on December 1, 2014. Alberta delayed implementation of the Energy Code but will begin requiring some buildings to meet the Energy Code November 1, 2016.
When Does the Energy Code Apply?
In general, the Energy Code applies to the following:

  • all buildings more than 600 m2 (6460 ft2)
  • Part 9 buildings more than 300 m2 (3230 ft2) with non-residential occupancies
  • Part3 or Part 9 buildings less than 300 m2 (3230 ft2) that are classified as medium hazard industrial (F2) occupancy (e.g. repair garages, service stations, and woodworking factories)
  • Part 3 buildings less than 300 m2 (3230 ft2) that are Assembly occupancies such as restaurants, churches and community halls

This code applies to additions to buildings but not to internal renovations within existing buildings. Buildings under the Manitoba Farm Building Code are exempt from the Energy Code.
The scope of the Energy Code includes:

  • thermal transmission and air leakage through the building envelope (building shell);
  • heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems;
  • service water heating;
  • lighting; and
  • electrical equipment including motors serving permanently installed building systems.
Compliance Paths
Three paths are available to meet the Energy Code:
Prescriptive Path – this involves simply following prescriptive requirements in the code.
Trade-offs Path – trade-offs between prescriptive requirements is permitted to achieve similar net results. This method is relatively simple and can achieve significant capital cost savings. Note, the trade-off method is not allowed for projects involving additions to existing buildings.
Computer Modelling Path – this method is the most complex and time consuming, but may achieve the greatest capital cost savings. In this method, a computer model of the proposed building is created and the energy use characteristics of the proposed building are analysed. Computer modelling is the only alternative to the prescriptive path allowed for additions. The cost of computer modelling services is eligible for incentives from Manitoba Hydro. More information on the incentives available can be found by following these links:
How Does This Affect You?
There are some pitfalls you should avoid when planning your project. For example, you must consider full effective R-Values of your wall assembly instead of only the nominal insulation R-Value as we have usually done in the past. The specification of doors and windows in your building plans requires energy performance-testing data, which is not always readily available. An engineer can help you identify issues early and help gather the information you need from your suppliers. This helps ensure you receive timely and trouble free approvals for your project.
While the easiest path is the Prescriptive Path, it may not be the most cost effective. Our engineers may be able to help you lower your total project costs by utilizing one of the alternative paths to compliance. Remember, if you need engineering help of any type for your building project, you can call DGH Engineering for professional service and practical solutions.