White Papers

Starting in 2015, SBC has been contracting with subject matter experts, professionals and academics to undertake specific research efforts culminating in the delivery of “white papers” for each project.  The papers tackle a wide variety of topic areas including technology assessments, energy modelling advancements, design considerations and policy issues.  While SBC vets the scope for each study and reviews the final reports, the content is independently developed by the authors of each study.  SBC does not make any claims regarding the accuracy of the reports.

Reports are generated on an ad hoc basis.  The following reports were provided in 2017 and are posted here for distribution.  Should you have any comments or questions regarding the content of the reports, please contact the author(s) directly.

Measuring Up to Global Warming - authored by Mike Williams, Greg Frankowski, & Greg Allen

With principal authorship by Greg Allen of Rivercourt and additional research provided by RWDI, this research paper summarizes the current landscape of CO2e emission factors, describes how these factors were calculated and what they represent, and identifies issues in the current methods of deriving them. This research can be used to inform building design teams and energy modellers in the selection of an appropriate emission factor, as well as to show program designers and regulators the implications that their choice of CO2e emission factor will have on building sector GHG emissions. A selection of emissions factors are reviewed and applied to an archetype energy model to compare the implications that these factors might have on key design decisions as they impact fuel choice and energy use.

Air tightness & Energy Modelling for Part 3 Buildings - Authored by RWDI

Authored by RWDI, this paper explores how air leakage through the envelope can have a significant impact on the energy use of a building, particularly in heating dominated climates. However, infiltration is not often given an appropriate amount of attention by most projects during the design stage of a development. Possible reasons for this include the difficulty of determining what infiltration rate to apply to an energy model, and the fact that common energy codes in Canada do not allow savings to be directly claimed for technologies and strategies that reduce infiltration. Infiltration rates used in energy models often just become a ‘best guess’, which in turn leads to a reduced understanding of the project’s expected performance. The overarching intent of this document is to inform this ‘best guess’, and to encourage a more consistent representation of infiltration across projects that go through the SBD program.

Modelling Weather Futures - Authored by Mike Williams, and Jennifer Harmer - RWDI

Designing buildings that can provide thermal comfort to their occupants in the current climate, yet can also adapt and continue to provide protection from unknown future changes in the exterior environment is currently one of the building industry’s greatest challenges. Building Energy Simulations use weather files, which then inform the selection of HVAC systems and other design decision. Despite being integral to decision-making, the most commonly used weather files describe climate conditions from 1959 - 1989: data that is over 25 years old. This White Paper aims to demonstrate why care must be taken to select weather files for energy modelling use that best describes the climatic conditions of a specific location, and which presents a method for using climate forecasting models in order to quantifiably estimate the potential outcome of climate change on a proposed building.

Service Water Heating Savings for Low-Flow Fixtures - Authored by EQ Building Performance

This paper explores the current relationship between low-flow fixtures and energy efficiency standards and incentive programs. In some sectors (notably multi-residential buildings), the energy required to heat service hot water can represent a large portion of building energy consumption. The Ontario Building Code currently mandates maximum water fixture flow rates. There are several commercially available fixtures with flow rates that are below these maximums, however the Ontario Building Code does not currently allow low-flow domestic water fixtures to be considered as a creditable measure when applying the performance path for energy saving compliance. Some green building rating systems, such as LEED, do consider low-flow fixtures to be an efficiency measure, and encourage their use by allowing designers and energy modelers to consider them as a credit in energy calculations. This study addresses the following key questions: How are low-flow fixtures credited under current energy standards or energy efficiency incentive programs? Is there evidence that low flow fixtures actually save water and, if so, by how much? Do energy models appropriately predict annual hot water usage? And finally, what are the appropriate energy savings measure inputs to use in a Savings By Design modelling activity?

Air Source Heat Pump Systems – A CO2 Emissions Analysis - Authored by EQ Building Performance

This report details a study undertaken to evaluate the carbon emission impact of air-source heat pump-based HVAC systems in comparison to traditional natural gas furnace HVAC systems in single-family homes in Ontario. Twelve hourly energy models were created to evaluate three different home types, each with four different HVAC systems: conventional HVAC system (gas furnace, gas DHW, and DX air conditioning), air-source heat pump with electric back-up & electric DHW, air-source heat pump with gas back-up & gas DHW, and variable refrigerant flow air source heat pump with gas back-up and gas DHW. The annual hourly energy use developed by each model was then used to calculate operating costs and carbon emissions, based on both specific hourly generation source energy data (provided from the IESO), and assuming a marginal energy generation source of natural gas only. Key findings include: all the models using ASHP systems (2, 3, and 4) consumed less energy than the model using the conventional natural gas furnace HVAC system (1); from an annual operating cost perspective, the conventional HVAC system (1) was the lowest in all cases due to the significantly higher cost for electrical energy as compared to natural gas energy, with system 2 having the highest operating cost; & using the specific hourly generation mix provided by the IESO resulted in lower CO2 emissions for all the ASHP based HVAC systems. Emission calculations were also conducted using a marginal natural gas generation; the study’s results highlight the significant impact that generation mix assumptions have on the forecasted CO2 emissions, with additional study recommended to better understand the impact and optimum ASHP sizing in relation to the heating load from both a cost/benefit and C02 emission perspective.

Roadmap to Net Zero Summary Report - Authored by Sustainable Buildings Canada

This paper summarizes the challenges that surround taking a current condominium design, and moving the design performance level to meet the goals of Net Zero energy, carbon, water, waste diversion from landfill, while also meeting the City of Toronto targets for Toronto Green Standard Resiliency metrics. This paper summarizes the outcomes of two integrated design workshops undertaken by SBC that sought to both identify the pathways to next zero from a design and technology perspective and identify the key infrastructure barriers that need to be addressed to meet that target. With funding support from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Enbridge Gas Distribution, this effort engaged over 75 subject matter experts, design decision makers and government representatives.

For the 2 detailed compendium reports:

Barriers to Net Zero - Workshop Summary - IDP Workshop Summary, prepared by SBC

Tridel - On The Park Tower B SBD IDP Workshop Summary - IDP Workshop Summary, prepared by SBC

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