The Canadian Building Code is changing...

Are you ready?

architectural-drawings-resizedThe Canadian National Building Code, and therefore the provincial building codes, set minimum energy efficiency standards for new building construction for both insulation and air tightness. The current insulation requirement for a new home is R20 which can be achieved using a standard 2x6 stick frame construction approach. However, the Building Code is currently being revised and is set to be release in late 2012.

The proposed Code changes will have a profound effect on how we approach new construction. Research shows that in a conventional stick frame wall with R20 insulation, the actual R-value for the whole wall is only in the R12 to R14 range because of the thermal bridging associated with wooden structural elements. The new code will address this by changing how R-values are calculated so that true whole wall insulation values are used rather than just the insulation value of the selected insulation. In addition the new code will increase the amount of insulation required.

sip-image resizedThe important take away message is that the insulation and air sealing requirements of the proposed code changes will result in it being near impossible to meet code requirements with conventional 2x6 framing. Interestingly, a wall constructed today with Net-Zero’s 6.5 inch SIP would not only meet the current code requirements for insulation and air sealing, but will exceed the standard proposed in the proposed Code revisions. Building with SIPs makes more sense than ever before. 


More information on the proposed Canadian Building Code changes is available online from the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes. If you are looking for somewhat less technical understanding of the proposed code changes, Steve Maxwell, "Canada's Handiest Man", wrote a very good article on the topic which was published in 2011 in the Canadian publication, Homes & Cottages. Click here to view that article.

And we invite you to contact Net-Zero if you have any questions.

Featured Project


Energy efficient emergency shelter survives some of the world’s highest snow loads

Net-Zero has supplied and constructed a two-story 1470 square foot emergency shelter for Regional Power, the owner/operator of the 31 megawatt Long Lake run-of-the-river hydro generation project.



Did You Know?

snow load 3 resized 200x134
The load capacities of Premier SIPs structures allow for construction without a truss system, making the framing method ideal for cathedral ceiling designs.

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