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The promise and pitfalls of new green building policies: Can district energy thrive?

By District Energy posted 05-01-2018 17:07


This article appears in the Q2 2018 of District Energy magazine.

New Canadian green building policies focusing on carbon emissions – rather than just energy – offer new opportunities for district solutions in fighting climate change. 


Building codes, like district energy, have existed since antiquity. The earliest codes emerged to protect health and safety. More recently they have evolved to regulate energy use, and now carbon emissions from buildings. Energy considerations emerged after World War I in the form of minimum insulation levels in some northern regions. The initial focus was occupant comfort, but their scope expanded in response to the 1970s oil crisis. By the 1990s, most member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had introduced and increased provisions for energy efficiency in building codes. 

In recent years, green building policies have evolved from an exclusive focus on energy efficiency to consider greenhouse gas emissions. Increased efficiency does not necessarily equate with lower greenhouse gas emissions: The selection of energy sources can be of equal or greater importance. 


Gerard MacDonald, PEng, LEED AP, Principal, Reshape Strategies
Trent Berry, Principal, Reshape Strategies 

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