CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program

Action Plan for Net Zero Energy Housing in Canada Takes Next Step

On September 29, 2015 the CHBA launched a Pilot of the Association’s Net Zero Energy (NZE) Labelling Program - continuing CHBA’s long history in leading energy efficiency in residential construction. The Program will provide the industry with a clearly defined yet rigorous 2-tiered (NZE and NZE Ready) technical standard that will distinguish and recognize builders and renovators and their NZE homes. To encourage high levels of industry adoption (even with production builders) the program is striving to keep the administrative process simplified. The Pilot will be used to validate both administrative as well as technical details prior to launching “version 1” of the Program in 2016.

Builder and renovator members who want to be part of this exciting development will take training as part of the qualification process. This will help get the necessary knowledge in to the hands of early adopters and accelerate the capacity of builders and renovators to achieve NZE.

A network of CHBA NZE Qualified Service Organizations, Energy Advisors and Trainers is being established to work directly with the builders and renovators to design, model, test and inspect the homes, as well as to deliver the training.

To build awareness and understanding of the value of NZE homes and to stimulate market demand, Marketing and Communications initiatives (including the development of a NZE brand, and sales and marketing tools for the builders and renovators) are being developed, with the goal of launching these in conjunction with the full “version 1” of the Program in 2016. To address the initial cost of NZE homes, the development of innovative and effective financing mechanisms are also being explored.

The CHBA supports innovation in our industry with the goal of creating a market advantage for builder and renovator members pursuing Net Zero Energy performance. This Program will help to meet the housing aspirations of Canadians, and renew Canadian leadership in high performance housing.


“Our National Home Buyer Preference Study confirmed that consumers want and expect an energy efficient home. Our members have a long history in delivering high performance homes and are ready and eager to deliver the next generation of high performance housing to discerning Canadian home buyers. Our Net Zero Energy Labelling Program will provide third party confirmation for both the industry and the consumer.”

Kevin Lee, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association


Webinar: Introduction to the CHBA NZE Labelling Program Pilot

This webinar provided an introduction to the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) NZE Labelling Program Pilot. The following topics were covered:

  • Becoming a CHBA NZE Qualified Builder/Renovator
  • The technical requirements for a CHBA NZE Qualified Home
  • How to find a CHBA NZE Qualified Service Organization
  • Who can be a NZE Qualified Energy Advisor and Trainer
  • After the Pilot; version 1 of the NZE Labelling Program

Andy Oding, Chair of the CHBA Net Zero Energy Housing Council, and Sonja Winkelmann, Director of Net Zero Energy Housing at the CHBA co-presented this informative webinar on November 24th, 2015.

View the slide deck
here. The webinar recording can be accessed here.

A Full Spectrum of Market Offerings

The CHBA supports a full spectrum of voluntary energy performance levels to provide Canadians with higher performing homes. These programs present a complete market offering that is applicable to custom and production homes, renovations and low-rise MURBs.

The CHBA NZE Labelling Program has been designed so that a home could still qualify for NZEr, R-2000, or ENERGY STAR® if NZE isn’t achievable for one reason or another.

This diagram shows the increasing energy performance levels:

Compliance with the most current Building Code is required by law for all new homes. The Canadian Building Code continues to increase the minimum energy performance requirements and is updated approximately every 5 years.

Energy Star homes are 20% more energy efficient than homes built to code,  R-2000 homes are 50% more energy efficient than homes built to code, and NZE ready homes are approximately 80% more energy efficient than homes built to code. Due to the energy production that is part of a NZE home, its energy performance is 100% better than homes built to code.

National Home Buyer Preference Study

In 2015 the first nationwide market preference study for the home building industry was conducted. The CHBA report, produced in partnership with Avid Ratings Canada, provides in-depth insight into what homes buyers are looking for – and demonstrates the importance of energy efficiency to today’s homebuyers. 1,581 new homeowners across six provinces of Canada (BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, NB) participated in the study.

The top 10 “Must Have” home features identified by the study participants:

  1. Walk-in closets
  2. Energy efficient appliances
  3. Overall energy efficient home
  4. High-efficiency windows
  5. Kitchen islands
  6. Linen closets
  7. Open concept kitchens
  8. Large windows
  9. 2-car garage
  10. Walk-in pantry   


These study results confirm that homeowners expect energy efficient homes. Canadians want their homes to be as tough as they are; to be able to endure Canadian winters with ease!

CHBA members will meet the housing aspirations of Canadians, and renew Canadian leadership in high performance housing by offering consumers a “made in Canada” solution: NZE homes!


When asked to rate the level of importance of home energy certification by a designated program:

  • 48.7% of respondents consider this a must have feature
  • An additional 28.8% rate it as a really want item
  • Only 6.0% of respondents feel this is not important

Order the complete report here.


A Net Zero Energy Housing Council

The CHBA, the voice of Canada's residential construction industry since 1943, established a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Housing Council in 2014 to guide its efforts in high-performance housing. The 53 Founding Members were selected for their demonstrated competence and experience in NZE or R-2000 housing as well as their knowledge or capability in specialized areas important to advancing NZE housing.

Key Priorities for Years 1 and 2

  • A NZE Labelling Program to distinguish and recognize NZE/NZEr homes and the builders/renovators
  • Marketing & Communications initiatives to develop the NZE brand, build awareness and understanding of the value of NZE homes, and stimulate market demand
  • Educational initiatives to bridge the knowledge gap for early adopters and accelerate builder capacity to capitalize on NZE
  • Financing initiatives to address the initial cost of NZE homes through innovative and effective financing mechanisms

Live in a home that will lve you back.

Net Zero Energy homes - coming soon to a builder/renovator near you!

Net Zero Energy Homes

NZE/NZEr homes offer whole-house comfort, excellent indoor air quality, and superior energy performance using proven advanced technologies and construction practices. The result is a superior quality home that exceeds current and anticipated building code requirements. Each NZE/NZEr home will be verified by government-licensed third-party service organizations and recognized by CHBA for its achievement.

Net Zero Cost

Significant strides have been made over the last 5 to 10 years by industry innovators. This has reduced the additional costs of NZE homes by as much as 50% - and in many cases we’re now able to achieve cost neutrality when operating costs are considered. This means that the extra cost of NZE homes can be off-set by the monthly energy savings - at net-zero monthly cost!


Sonja Winkelmann

Director, Net Zero Energy Housing

613.230.3060 x235