Clearing the Air on Green Building – Part 2


Green Building Calgary Custom Home Design

In part two of our exploration into Green Building, we want to share some general information about some of the major certification programs available in Canada for residential design and construction.  We will place them in order of simplest to most onerous.  We believe these organizations provide the skills based education necessary for professionals in the residential construction industry to have the greatest impact in their field, and one on one with their clients.   

On November 1, changes to the building code in Alberta came into play with more stringent requirements for windows, lighting, insulation, heating, service-water heating, and air conditioning to ensure better energy efficiency in our homes.   At Ellergodt Design, we work with skilled experts who assist us in ensuring that the homes we design are meeting the new code requirements.  If we can assist you as a homeowner, or as a builder please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Built Green

Built Green Canada is a national, industry-driven organization committed to working with designers and builders interested in responsible sustainable practices in the residential building sector. The organization offers programs for renovation, single family and high density construction.

Built Green Canada recognition is based on their criteria, which categorizes its members’ projects into four levels of achievement: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Learn more about Built Green Canada here .

Net Zero Energy

To put it very simply,  a Net Zero Energy home produces as much energy as it consumes.  Natural Resources Canada has a great video here that explains the basics about the science behind Net Zero Energy.  

In Canada there is a Net Zero Energy Housing Council through the Canadian Home Builders Association, and further information can be found here.

LEED for Homes (Canada Green Build Council)   

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system that is recognized internationally as the mark of excellence for green building.  In Canada, the program is administered by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Buildings generate up to 35 % of all greenhouse gases, 35 % of landfill waste comes from construction and demolition activities, and 70 % of municipal water is consumed in and around buildings!  It’s clear that making buildings greener can have a significant impact on larger environmental goals.

Since 2002, the CaGBC and LEED Canada have been redefining the buildings and communities where Canadians live, work and learn.

Passive House (Canadian Passive House Institute)  

Passive House is a building standard that is truly energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and         ecological…it is not a brand name, but rather a construction concept.  

The basic concept of true Passive House is that a home or building requires little to no energy expended or consumed for heating and cooling, but rather the design and construction are such that the building itself absorbs (and releases) heat within its structure from things like the ground, the sun, and even the bodies residing within the home.

The Canadian Passive House Institute (CanPHI) states that unless get qualified advice on achieving this standard at the beginning of the design process, it would be virtually impossible to meet Passive House performance standards.

Building a Passive House requires a meticulous and scientific approach to both design and construction.  An excellent guidebook for those interested is the Passivehaus Handbook .

Living Building Challenge  

The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings.  The International Living Future Institute poses the question “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”

The Living Building Challenge™ (A program of the International Living Future Institute™)  is a philosophy, advocacy tool, and certification program that is comprised of seven performance areas: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity, and Beauty.

As stated on their website, the purpose of the Living Building Challenge is straightforward – it defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions. Living Building Challenge provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.


As you can see, there is an array of approaches to take depending on your level of commitment to building a sustainable home.  As a design company, we are doing our best to keep informed, educated and engaged with sustainable building practices and professionals in the field.  

Information at times seems limitless, which can often lead to more questions.  We are happy to explore the answers with you…feel free to contact us !

Our next blog will address some common questions about certification, and how Ellergodt Design and our colleagues can help you!

Posted on: February 2nd, 2017 by Ellergodt Design
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