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Building Matters: Will Canada’s New Codes Give Us What We Need?

November 5 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


Net- or nearly-zero energy buildings are a possibility for most building types and climates across the world with systems, technologies, with skills that already exist and at costs that are in the range of conventional buildings. Within the past few years, more than 7,000,000 m2 of nearly-zero-energy buildings were constructed in China alone. Despite technological availability and feasibility, and ample examples of effective standards and regulations, Canada remains out of step with the global leaders of transition toward a net-zero-energy building sector; current and proposed building energy efficiency codes and regulations in Canada, including British Columbia’s Energy Step Code, fall short of providing the policy and regulatory framework for rapid transition to high-performance, carbon-neutral buildings, and promoting excellence and innovation in the industry.

In the November edition of Building Matters, the City of Richmond’s Buildings Department is hosting Rob Bernhardt, Advisor, Projects & Policy — Passive House Canada to discuss the global trends toward net-zero energy/emission buildings and the regulatory landscape in Canada.


Rob Bernhardt, Advisor, Projects and Policy — Passive House Canada

Rob works to advance building energy efficiency and reduce emissions from the operation and construction of buildings. He assisted with the development of the UN Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency in Buildings and their recent revision; the BC Energy Step Code; Canada’s building strategy; provincial and municipal programs; and the establishment of the Vancouver Zero Emissions Buildings Exchange (ZEBx). Working with industry professionals, he has been part of catalyzing change, providing valuable insight into the elements of successful market transformation. He has recently authored articles including those listed above and co-authored a paper titled Advances Toward a Net-Zero Global Building Sector reviewing the global status of low energy and low embodied carbon buildings, with examples of effective policies in several nations. In earlier years, Rob developed and sold certified Passive House projects, and acquired extensive knowledge of the economic and social advantages of high-performance buildings.

Sepehr Foroushani, Ph.D., P.Eng., Building Energy Specialist — City of Richmond

A mechanical engineer by training, Sepehr has extensive experience in the development and application of building energy modeling tools. His current work at the City of Richmond includes analysis of relative building energy performance targets, risk of overheating under future climate conditions, uncertainty in building energy simulations and its implications for code compliance, and embodied emissions of high-performance buildings. Prior to joining the City of Richmond, Sepehr conducted research and taught at Simon Fraser University and worked with the City of Surrey’s Utilities Division as a visiting research engineer. Highlights of his doctoral work at the University of Waterloo include an extension of the Newton Law of Cooling and the development of a computational technique for characterizing heat transfer from complex fenestration systems.


November 5
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm