The unprecedented challenges presented by climate change have propelled governments to introduce new legislation aimed at greatly reducing energy and carbon usage in the building sector. In an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, the Government of Canada has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. But what does “net zero” actually mean? And how do we design residential buildings for it under the unique conditions in northern Canada and Alaska?
Net-zero performance is always possible, even in the challenging conditions of the North, but achieving this performance requires up-front, intelligent design. This bulletin describes a five-step approach—broad enough that it can apply to any project—that has been used by RDH Building Science for designing residential buildings to achieve net-zero performance in the North. The bulletin uses a case study building constructed in northern British Columbia to demonstrate the applicability of this approach.