When enerQUALITY announced a workshop on the revisions to the SB-12 that “go live” January 2017, I was eager to attend – and to bring our COO, Shawn Tang, along as an interpreter (I am, after all, a marketing and communication person, not a building scientist Jim). The workshop training was delivered by Andy Oding from Building Knowledge and I had just finished reading an article by his associate, Gord Cooke, in Better Builder Magazine. Mr. Cooke had written about Code and Performance Path – with an additional page: SB-12 for Dummies that caught my eye.
Working with Eco Insulation for the last 18 months as the Franchise Relations and Marketing & Communications manager, I have immersed myself first in insulation (not literally – other than that one time), then air sealing, then building envelope performance and then into the house as a system as I looked to understand the balance and best practices and interaction of exterior building lot, air barrier, thermal barrier, vapour barrier and family use of the home and how to create the perfect insulation package. (More about this in an article to come: Understanding how your family behaviour affects the new Ener-Guide rating.)
The more I learn, the more I realize that there are guys with PhDs in Building Science still asking those questions.
And yet the building code continues to change without those definitive answers.
The SB-12 Primer workshop was fast paced and jammed with information about the new and reduced number of packages and reduced trade-offs that builders will be facing in January.
Key Point One
Before he even started, Andy began with a conversation on Net Zero and Net Zero Ready homes – the deadline (2030) and the risks: “More airtight is not the full answer. Energy Efficient is not the full answer. We need to use good building science to make decisions.” he emphasized.
This strikes me as a complex challenge for two reasons. First: it was only in 2012 that Energy Efficiency terminology was even added to the building code. I know a lot of builders and tradespeople who learned their trade long before this. And though Tarion has added a series of courses, that does include building science, into the requirements for new registered builders, existing builders are grandfathered in. Second: without all trades and the builder and architect collaborating and accepting full responsibility for the building envelope there is no perfect storm.
Key Point Two
The intentions of the revision may not be realized today or next year but “in 12 years, we will all be building R-2000 homes”.
So what are the intentions? The theme that comes out of these revisions to the OBC are a step toward Net Zero ready of course. but more specifically:
- preserve and reinforce investment in the building envelope
- encourage air-tightness and associated depressurization testing (Blower Door)
- prepare the industry for Net-Zero ready by 2030 (via Climate Change Action Plan of Ontario govt)
This all leads toward a better insulated, air-tight building envelope with a focus on continuous insulation and advanced exterior insulation products. This is best served with an insulation package of spray foam for air sealing and high R-value interior and/or exterior with options of hybrid wall and attic systems that may include a flash of spray foam in both with batt insulation in above grade walls and blown in cellulose in the attic.
Honestly, the changes are not huge. The additional continuous insulation, the mandatory HRV/ERV and Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) are the key changes. As always we are here to provide the full range of insulation products to meet your needs from batt and poly through spray foam that meet and exceed SB-12.