CHBA Net Zero MURBs Initiative Leading the Way to Voluntary Adoption of Advanced Building Science

OTTAWA – June 24, 2020 – The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and participating CHBA members across Canada are pleased to announce CHBA’s Net Zero initiative for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs), in partnership with Natural Resources Canada. This program aims to further advance solutions, technologies, and approaches to building Net Zero Energy Ready and Net Zero Energy MURBs, with the goal of producing homes that are affordable, replicable, and highly appealing to Canadians.   

The program brings together industry leaders from across Canada who are sharing information and research. Seven MURB projects by CHBA members across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario will be built and tested in an effort to arrive at increased energy performance with improved construction productivity and shortened construction schedules – all while keeping costs as low as possible.

The MURB projects must utilize some pre-fabrication including panelization and modular construction, and be optimized for advanced, high-performance envelopes designed to address high insulation values, reduce thermal bridging, and improve airtightness, and will also include high-performance windows and mechanical systems in accordance with guidelines from the CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program, which has labelled over 350 homes in Canada to date.  

“Homes built to today’s building codes are much more efficient than they used to be, and it is challenging to reach the next level of efficiency affordably; there are a number of existing technical, economic, and regulatory barriers facing the development of Net Zero Energy Ready MURBS in Canada. This program brings together leaders in the residential construction industry who are voluntarily doing the research needed so that this building science can be used on a large scale across the country pursuing price points that Canadians can afford. This partnership between the industry and the federal government is an important first step in achieving that goal,” said CHBA CEO Kevin Lee.  

Though just announced officially, the project teams are already underway. Comprised of the builders, manufacturers, and experts in building science, pre-fabrication, insulation, windows, mechanicals, and renewable energy, the teams have been meeting prior to the announcement to optimize their designs in the first phase of this four-phase program, and will continue to convene regularly for the duration of the program.

Construction begins in the second stage, when pre-fabricated components for each build will be assembled. The third stage will include an analysis of many data sets including the actual overall costs for construction, savings and productivity gains (compared to the code and current practice in each region) for each build to determine the benefits and assess what level of savings are achievable on a mass scale. The final stage will include a cross-country knowledge dissemination and capacity building education program to bring the learnings to the mass market industry.

For more information about the project, visit www.chba.ca/NZmurbs.



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About the Canadian Home Builders’ Association
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is the voice of the residential construction industry in Canada, representing some 9,000 member firms across the country. Our membership spans new home builders, renovators, developers, trade contractors, building material manufacturers and suppliers, lenders, and other professionals in the housing sector.

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