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Green building

Green building and sustainable design practices not only benefit the environment, but also reduce demand on infrastructure for long-term cost savings.

National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and Alberta Building Code 9.36 requirements Sustainable technologies permitting matrix

Questions about permit requirements? Please contact the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311.

Sustainable design declaration and permit requirements

The sustainable development inventory form can be considered by builders and developers when projects are at the conceptual stage and is required for commercial building permits as part of the building permit application. If you need help completing this form, please refer to the sustainable development inventory user guide.

Green technologies


Geoexchange is a heat pump system that transfers heat into or from the ground through a system of fluid-filled pipes buried below the frost line. Because the earth's temperature remains fairly constant below the frost line, the system can both heat and cool a building with less energy than conventional systems.

Permit requirements for geoexchange

A mechanical permit is required to perform any work involving geo-exchange systems, including vertical or directional drilling involving the ground or water exchanger. These permits may only be applied for by a registered geoexchange contractor who is licensed to operate in The City of Calgary. Development, building and/or trade permits may be required to install a geoexchange system.

Geo-exchange project documentation requirement list

Written approval from Alberta Environment will be required for open loop systems. Vertical bore systems deeper than 150m (500ft) or bores within close proximity to hydrocarbon bearing zones must be licensed by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Green roofs

A green roof is a vegetated roof that helps absorb storm water and reduce solar heat gain on a building. It is comprised of the roof structure, insulation, waterproofing membrane, drainage system and landscape cloth to contain the soil, roots and plants. Development, building and/or trade permits may be required to install a green roof system.

Solar collectors

Solar air systems come in a vast range of sizes from small, residential units to massive commercial system applications. Any version may come as an "active" or fan-assisted system or as a "passive" or natural draft system to allow the tempered air to flow into a structure. Solar air will not provide 100 per cent of the space heating for a building but is very effective at providing supplementary heating or pre-heating of incoming air.

A solar hot water system uses the energy of the sun to heat water. Solar collectors are typically installed on the roof, and a heat transfer fluid is pumped through tubes in the collectors and circulated to a heat exchanger. This transfers usable heat to the home's hot water systems, either domestic hot water tanks or space heating appliances.

Photovoltaic is a system that converts sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic solar panels are mounted on a framing system or flush with the surface of the building (either the roof or an exterior wall surface as allowed under the Land Use Bylaw) to capture sunlight. The panels are wired to the home's electrical panel or battery array to supply useful electricity to the building or to feed excess power back into the grid.

Development, building and/or trade permits may be required to install a photovoltaic system.

Rainwater harvesting

The Rainwater Harvesting Guide outlines the best practices for rainwater harvesting systems in Calgary.

Wind turbines

A wind turbine is a freestanding or building-mounted device that converts wind energy into electricity. There are different types of wind turbines, but all use a similar principle: using the wind to turn a shaft to create energy, typically to generate electricity to power a home and, if production exceeds demand, to sell back to the grid. Development, building and/or trade permits may be required to install a wind turbine.

Additional resources for information on green buildings