February 22nd 2024

NECB Compliance: Your Questions Answered

NECB Compliance: Your Questions Answered

Our IESVE software is now officially approved for National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2020 compliance. NECB 2020 (released in March 2022) outlines rules for energy-efficient design and construction of new buildings. Canada's goal is to have 'Net Zero Energy Ready (NZER)' buildings by 2030. The Pan-Canadian Framework for new buildings outlines this objective.

The new NECB will apply to all Canadian provinces and territories in 2024. We want to address some common questions about the code. In this blog our Vice President for Canada, Chris Flood shares his insights and expertise.

Code Adoption and Mandate

Is NECB mandatory?

The NECB is adopted and enforced on a provincial or territorial basis. Some regions have implemented it as a mandatory standard, while others use it as a guideline, or have alternative energy efficiency regulations.

What provinces use the National Building Code (NBC)?

All Canadian provinces and territories use the National Building Code as a model code. They may adopt it as is, or make regional amendments to it. The NBC includes the NECB as part of its broader regulations.

Comparison Between Codes

What is the difference between NBC and NECB?

The NBC sets comprehensive standards for the design and construction of buildings, including safety, health, accessibility, and fire protection. The NECB is a section of the NBC specifically focused on energy efficiency requirements for buildings.

What is the difference between ASHRAE and NECB?

ASHRAE standards, particularly Standard 90.1, provide guidelines for mechanical systems and building envelopes, used internationally. The NECB is a Canadian code that prescribes minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings in Canada.

What is the difference between ASHRAE and IECC?

ASHRAE develops standards used as benchmarks for building systems, while the IECC is a model code that sets minimum energy efficiency requirements, mainly used in the United States.

Code Content and Compliance

What is NECB compliance?

Meeting NECB compliance means a building's design and construction surpass the minimum energy efficiency requirements set by NECB.

What is the code for insulation in Canada?

Canada's insulation requirements are outlined in the NBC, with energy efficiency information found in the NECB and local energy step codes.

What is the NECB Part 8?

NECB Part 8 details specific energy efficiency measures for systems such as HVAC, lighting, and water heating.

Energy Efficiency Standards

What is the Green Building Energy Code?

This term is generally used to refer to building codes that aim for superior energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact, though there is no formal code by this name. These are also known as compliance rating systems.

What is energy efficiency BC housing?

This refers to energy efficiency standards for housing in British Columbia, which may include requirements from the BC Building Code and the BC Energy Step Code.

Regulatory Bodies

Who regulates building codes in Canada?

Building codes are regulated by the provinces and territories, with the model codes developed by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, a part of the National Research Council of Canada.

What branch of government is responsible for the National Building Code of Canada?

The National Research Council of Canada is tasked with developing the National Building Code, which is then enacted through provincial and territorial legislation.

New Part-10 Energy Performance Tiers

What are the new Part-10 Energy Performance Tiers in the NECB 2020?

The new Part-10 Energy Performance Tiers in NECB 2020 introduce a tiered approach to energy performance, similar to a step code. Each tier represents a level of energy efficiency, with Tier 1 being the base requirement and higher tiers indicating progressively more stringent energy performance standards, leading up to net-zero energy readiness.

The Part 10 Energy Performance Tiers of the 2020 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings are as follows​​:

Tier Percent Building Energy Target Percent Improvement
1 ≤ 100% ≥ 0%
2 ≤ 75% ≥ 25%
3 ≤ 50% ≥ 50%
4 ≤ 40% ≥ 60%

These tiers indicate increasingly stringent requirements for building energy performance, with Tier 1 being the base level and Tier 4 being the most stringent, aiming for the highest level of energy efficiency improvements.

Software Requirements of Part-8 and differences between NECB 2017 and 2020

What are the software requirements of Part-8 in the NECB 2020?

Part-8 in the NECB outlines the performance-based compliance path, which requires modeling software to simulate the energy usage of a building. The software must be capable of performing detailed energy simulations that adhere to the methodologies specified within the NECB to demonstrate compliance.

What are the biggest differences between NECB 2017 and NECB 2020?

The NECB 2020 edition includes updates to improve energy efficiency requirements, refine existing provisions, and introduce new technologies and methods. Key differences include:

  • enhanced performance levels
  • the adoption of new energy performance tiers
  • updates to HVAC and lighting efficiency requirements
  • the integration of renewable energy considerations.

The code documentation details the specific changes.

Register for a Free Web Demo 

We are offering free 1-hour VE web demos in Canada soon. These demos will show how to generate the NECB 2020 Compliance Reference Model and Compliance Report automatically. You can sign up here to secure your place. 

Sign up for our Training Workshops 
In-person workshops will teach users how to do NECB 2020 Compliance Modeling for Part 3 Buildings in Canada. The instructor will use example modeling procedures and techniques, covering a number of NECB compliance requirements. Look out for upcoming courses and book your place here

Got a question?

If you have a question that we did not address above, please contact Chris.

If you are not using IESVE but want to learn how to use it for NECB 2020 compliance, please contact us. You can also start a 30-day free trial of the IESVE and begin compliance today.