Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is undertaking an R-2000 Net Zero Energy pilot (the Pilot) to recognize builders and homes reaching net zero energy performance in Canada, and to pilot the next generation of NRCan's 2014 R-2000 Standard and EnerGuide Rating System in net zero energy applications.
Drawing on NRCan's systems and infrastructure - including its certified energy advisors certification process and quality assurance protocols - will provide recognized metrics, objectivity, standardization and credibility to this emerging space.
In addition to doing a field trial of the next generation standards, NRCan will use the pilot to examine the best means for seamlessly incorporating net zero energy offerings into its suite of standards on a permanent basis.
NRCan will also use this opportunity to explore possibilities surrounding net zero energy ready homes.
Design Seminars and Request for Proposals
The Pilot will be implemented in several phases over the next two years.
The next step in the Pilot process is a design seminar on May 15, 2013that will present NRCan research that demonstrates that an R-2000 home can achieve net zero energy home performance using commodity technologies and methods, as well as provide a cost ball-park, guidelines and starting point for those interested. The design seminar will take place via webinar.
A request for proposals (RFP) for participation in the Pilot will be issued following the design seminar in May. It will be open to any builders from across Canada that are interested in piloting the standard to build and certify their houses to this ultimate level of energy performance.
The RFP is designed to evaluate the merit of the applications. It is expected that a maximum of 10 applicants will move through the RFP stage. These applicants will then need to provide detailed house designs and modelling results to complete the design stage.
Where necessary, NRCan will work with participants to develop modelling workarounds should the HOT2000 simulation software not contain a model for proposed products or equipment.
The RFP will close on mid-late June, followed by an RFP evaluation. The Design stage will last from early August to the end of October. Finally, construction and labeling will take place from November 2013 to November 2014.
An ERS "Efficient Living Assessment" will be completed on each house to obtain as-operated energy performance after occupants have moved in. Lastly, post-program analysis will be undertaken to allow NRCan to formalize within its suite of standards "R-2000 Net Zero Energy" recognition, and potentially "R-2000 Net Zero Energy Ready". It will also provide valuable lessons-learned to interested builders for the future.
Background information about the Pilot
NRCan has committed to using a Standards Council of Canada based process to develop the next generation standards for R-2000, ENERGY STAR for New Homes and the EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) to ensure open and transparent processes and input from stakeholders.
Over 500 stakeholders have participated in these processes over the past three years. NRCan is now looking to test those standards with respect to net zero energy homes.
The R-2000 Standard will form the basis for the pilot. Houses labelled under the Pilot must meet the requirement of the draft2014 R-2000 Standardand obtain a rating of zero gigajoules using the new ERS scale.
The Pilot will also focus on off-the-shelf technology (i.e. engineered pre-packaged systems rated to an internationally-recognized performance standard) in order to advance the commoditization of net zero energy homes in Canada.
Why use R-2000 and ERS as the basis?
R-2000 is an established national standard with the training, certification, house-testing, inspections and overall quality assurance that are an essential part to ensuring the integrity of net zero energy housing/
The minimum envelope requirements of the draft2014 R-2000Standardwill be applied in order to ensure the building envelope and other long-term elements are well-addressed before renewable energy technologies are used to offset conventional energy use.
The R-2000 builder community has long been the group of experts advancing energy innovation in home building, and this Pilot, along with the next generation standards, will help to reinvigorate and bring together again this community of leaders, coalescing the R-2000 and Net Zero communities.
Using the next generation ERS rating scale offers an ideal opportunity for participants to use and feed into the next generation ERS process to ensure it addresses any outstanding issues that relate to net zero energy homes.
Benefits of participating
Builders will have a first to market claim on this new Government of Canada certified level of recognition from NRCan. They will also play a key role in setting the requirements for labelling Net Zero Energy homes in Canada. NRCan will offer technical support and promotion as an in-kind contribution to each participant.
Pilot participants will also benefit from collaborating with leading experts to gain insight into design of homes using available, high performance building envelope products, technologies, and techniques that can be used to achieve net zero energy performance.
Participants who are successful through the request for proposals process will also have access to modeling support from NRCan simulation experts for technologies that cannot be modelled using HOT2000.
This pilot will give participants an opportunity to demonstrate industry leadership with first-to-market, NRCan-recognized net zero energy homes built and certified under the quality assurance of R-2000. NRCan will also work with the pilot proponents to raise awareness about the pilot and its participants.