Residential Energy Labelling

The City of Calgary is developing a Residential Energy Labelling program. This program is foundational to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as we work towards our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 to become a climate-resilient community

What is Residential Energy Labelling?

A residential energy label is comprised of several components to assess a home’s energy efficiency and assign an associated rating. The energy rating is created for a home using a calculated value of total energy use per year (GJ/year). This energy rating is then compared to a reference home to indicate the home’s relative level of energy efficiency. The label may also include a breakdown of the home’s consumption by energy source (electricity, natural gas, district heating). The label may also provide an estimation of how much energy each major building system uses (appliances, ventilation, heating, cooling, etc.). The energy label will indicate the home’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions and provide recommendations for improving energy performance through equipment upgrades and retrofit projects.

Why is the City of Calgary pursuing Residential Energy Labels?

In 2018, Calgary City Council approved the implementation of the Climate Resilience Strategy and Action Plans. Within the Climate Mitigation Action Plan, Action 2.1 specifies that the city will “develop a residential building labelling program for Calgary.” In November 2021, the City Council declared a Climate Emergency and Call to Action which further emphasizes the need to expedite the actions in the Climate Mitigation Action Plan to achieve a citywide target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

Why is Residential Energy Labelling important?

The Residential Energy Labelling program will publicly label the energy performance of low-density residential buildings, including:

  • Single-family detached
  • Semi-detached and duplexes
  • Row Homes and townhomes

Energy labels increase transparency of and awareness about residential energy performance which is foundational to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Residential energy labels assign value to energy efficiency, improve homeowner energy literacy, and provide indicators on how to improve a home’s energy performance. The public disclosure of labels allows for the integration of energy ratings into real estate listings, thereby developing the business case for energy efficiency investments. Energy efficiency can then be developed as a marketing tool for home sales and developers looking to differentiate themselves with high performance homes. Energy efficiency is an important consideration for citizens to understand as it impacts home comfort, ongoing operating/utility costs, home value and building performance, and so labelling allows citizens to make more informed decisions about purchasing a home.

 

What will the City of Calgary's Residential Energy Labelling program look like?

Although the City of Calgary’s Residential Energy Labelling program is still in the design phase, its composition will likely include elements from residential labelling programs that have demonstrated success across the world.  For example, residential labelling programs can require all new construction buildings to obtain an energy label during the development or building permitting process. This ensures that all new construction buildings are added to the market with an energy label. Labeling programs can also require existing homes to obtain energy labels – first produced using models and estimates, and later professionally verified at specific points such as major renovation or time of sale. This ensures energy labels for existing homes are incrementally produced, disclosed, updated and verified. In many cases, homeowners must obtain a residential energy label prior to applying for government-sourced home retrofit grants and funding. 

Project timeline

  • In May 2020, an internal research report on best practices was completed through a jurisdictional scan that looked at how other local, regional and national governments have approached residential energy labelling. This report was updated in October 2021.
  • In December 2021, the lessons learned from the best practice report were applied to the Calgary context and a preliminary program framework for residential energy labelling was created. The framework utilizes the City’s existing Development Permit Review Process and the Building Permit Process.
  • Between February and March 2022, the framework was shared with four industry groups to collect their feedback. This feedback is summarized in the What We Heard Report.
  • Following the release of the What We Heard Report, The City has been working hard to update and build out the program framework. More time is required for program development, so the timeline for releasing a formal update to the program framework has been adjusted accordingly.
  • Stage one of program development (new construction labels) will be ongoing through 2022, with a formal update to the program framework expected in September 2022.  
  • Industry stakeholders will be provided with an opportunity to review the updated framework prior to its release to the public. This will likely take the form of a single workshop (date and time TBD).
  • Stage two development (existing homes labels) will occur concurrently, starting with research into the various technological options for digital energy labelling.
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