Builders need to stay on top of energy efficiency requirements

By Jenn Watt

Oct. 25 2016

Ontario’s Building Code is a living document; it changes regularly to improve the way homes are constructed and to better our environments. In July the province tabled a change to the energy efficiency component of what is called the SB 12 which will affect the way homes are built.

To assist area builders architects renovators building officials contractors and others Dave Potter will be coming to Haliburton to give a workshop on the details.

Potter is chief building official for the Town of Newmarket and has been in the industry for more than 30 years. Throughout that time he’s been involved with the Ontario Building Officials Association and he currently sits on the Building Code Conservation Advisory Council for the province.

“I think it’s important to recognize a house is probably the single biggest investment that a homeowner’s going to make in their lifetime and they want to make sure that it’s a solid investment” he says. “You want to make sure the house is using quality materials quality products and quality construction.”

To that end the changes to the supplementary standard SB 12 ask builders to make homes 15 per cent more efficient than the current code. This change will take effect January 2017. The code allows builders to take different paths to achieve this goal.

“The new SB 12 2017 provides a little more flexibility in designs. There’s also some provisions for substitutions so that you can trade off one thing against another to allow for the use of innovative technologies different types of building forms like advanced framing” he says.

The province has been making adjustments to the code in order to address climate change. By making homes more energy efficient you’re reducing the greenhouse gases released in heating or cooling those homes.

“It’s really pushing the envelope and focusing a lot more on the air tightness aspects of a house rather than just adding more insulation. And with that comes the issue of air quality. As you make houses tighter you want to be able to get those air changes” he says noting that heat recovery ventilators will be mandatory as of 2017 in new homes.

“It actually meters the air coming in and out of the house. It actually recaptures some of the heat as cold air is coming in” he says.

Potter will be speaking at a workshop at the A.J. LaRue Community Centre in Haliburton on Monday Oct. 31. During his talk he will be going over the changes in regulations discussing cost-effective technologies and ways to save time and money in the field.

“I’ll be highlighting the significant changes to the SB 12 as well as giving some … ways of complying with the new requirements at a reasonable cost” Potter says.

He noted doing things properly reduces the need for building officials to revisit sites delaying construction.

The workshop is $50 plus HST for Home Builders Association and Ontario Building Officials Association members or $99 plus HST for non-members. It runs from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information contact the Haliburton County Home Builders Association at 705-457-6901.