New Energy Codes for Alberta Homes

How will they affect you?

A new section of Alberta’s Building Code, known as “Section 9.36,” is designed to improve the energy efficiency of all Canadian homes and small buildings.

Developed by the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada, the codes will have a positive impact on both our environment and our utility bills.

Building Science Consultant Kelsey Chegus with Williams Engineering talks about what it means to innovation in design:

“The energy code requirements will not only affect our designs but our design process. And…we’ll have to have more communication as a design team earlier on in the design process...I believe it can also drive innovation in industry as a whole.”

There are great reasons to welcome Section 9.36. But in the immediate future, it could introduce some sticker shock. Municipal Affairs Alberta concedes it will add to the initial construction cost of a new home. In the long term, they suggest, the new code will have zero impact on budget because savings on the heating bill will offset the added mortgage.

In a City of Calgary video, Energy and Environmental Coordinator Justin Pockar explains that the code could help the playing field to create more widely marketable homes:

“It’s not a huge change, but a change for the better…for those people who are already building energy efficiency, what they should see is some of their competitor buildings may increase in cost percentage-wise, more then theirs, making their buildings actually more cost-competitive and there fore making energy efficiency a much more sellable asset.”

The changes, effective as of November 1, 2016, cover a wide range of building systems:

  • Building Envelope: the separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building, comprising of its exterior walls, roof, foundation and slab-on-ground. 
  • Lighting: interior and exterior lighting components and systems connected to the buildings electrical service.
  • HVAC: heating, ventilating and air-conditioning covers items such as ducting and piping, controls, ventilation and related equipment.
  • Service Water Heating: systems used for the supply of water for purposes other than space heating.

All Canadian jurisdictions have agreed that the minimum energy efficiency level of homes should be comparable to the EnerGuide 80 rating.

As of November 1, 2016, all application for building new homes must adhere to Section 9.36. There are three compliance paths, meaning a range of budgets can be satisfied.

Learn more about Section 9.36 at

October 21st, 2016
Updated: May 10th, 2018

Alberta adopted energy efficiency requirements for housing and small buildings.