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NetZero: future building standards

Building Science. Exceptional Energy Performance.
Government of Canada Certification. Industry Leadership.

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Launched in 2013, the R-2000 Net Zero Energy Pilot aimed to recognize builders and homes reaching net zero energy performance in Canada. The Pilot also provided the opportunity to rate net zero energy houses using Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) EnerGuide Rating System (ERS) as well as to label them under the R 2000 Standard, which was the basis for the Pilot. By Fall 2016, twenty-three net zero energy homes were built by six builders in three different provinces.

A net zero energy home is so energy efficient, it only uses as much energy as it can produce from on-site renewable energy.


1. Build on national programs

R-2000 is an established national standard with the training, certification, house-testing, inspections and overall quality assurance that are the essential basis to ensuring the integrity of net zero energy housing.  The minimum envelope requirements of the Draft 2014 R-2000 Standard were applied to ensure a certain focus on the building envelope before renewable energy technologies were used.

All houses under the Pilot were also certified and labelled with a zero gigajoule (0 GJ) rating under NRCan’s ERS Version 15.

Using R-2000 and ERS provides continuity and comparability with the over one million Canadian homes that have been labelled using ERS to date.

2. Focus on energy performance and commoditization of net zero energy homes

Aimed at advancing the commoditization of net zero energy homes, the approach focused on homes that can be built today using technologies already available on the market that meet industry standards and regulations. Technologies were limited to pre-engineered products and systems (e.g. versus custom mechanical systems), which helped to ensure that the technologies could be more accurately modelled and provided assurance with regard to their long-term performance in our climate.

3. Disseminate NRCan research

NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency led the Pilot in collaboration with CanmetENERGY, NRCan’s research arm.  Over the course of the project,  Canmet demonstrated that an R-2000 home can achieve net zero energy performance using off-the-shelf technologies and methods and presented net zero energy cost optimization models to provide guidelines and starting point for Pilot participants.

R-2000 Net Zero Energy Pilot Builder Participants

The Pilot included two types of participants: (i) those invited through an open request for proposals (RFP) and (ii) those participating under the Net Zero Energy Housing Community Demonstration Project funded through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII).

RFP Participants

In the spring of 2013, NRCan invited Canadian builders to submit designs and the following 12 builders participated in the Pilot.

Avalon Master Builder
Calgary, AB
Cornelis Grey Construction Inc.
Ottawa, ON
Global Sustainable Solutions
Tay Township, ON
Habitat for Humanity Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB
Habitat Studio & Workshop Ltd.
Edmonton, AB
Insightful Healthy Homes Inc.
Vancouver, BC
K&P Contracting
St Johns, NL
Slingshot Residential Incorporated
Regina, SK
Sloot Construction Ltd
Arkell, ON
Sonbuilt Custom Homes Ltd.
Vancouver, BC
Sustainable TO
Toronto, ON
Wrighthaven Homes Limited
Elora, ON


ecoEII: Net Zero Energy Housing Community Demonstration Project

Led by NRCan’s Innovation and Energy Technology Sector, $1.9 million in contribution funds were provided to Owens Corning Canada to increase the market adoption of net zero energy homes by demonstrating the feasibility of net zero energy housing on a community scale in Canada.  Five homebuilders in four provinces built a total of 25 net zero energy and net zero energy ready homes. These builders used the same standards, methodologies and tools as those participating under the RFP. See for more information on the ecoEII net zero energy demonstration project.

Participating builders’ case studies:

Pilot case study: Val-des-ruisseaux Condos, by Construction Voyer, Laval, QC

Pilot case study: CityScape Community, by Mattamy Homes, Calgary, AB

Pilot case studies: Arcadia Community I + Arcadia Community II, by Minto Communities, Ottawa, ON

Pilot case study: Westminster Woods, by Reid’s Heritage Homes, Guelph, ON

Pilot case study: McKernan Home, by Habitat Studio, Edmonton, AB

Pilot case study: Falconridge, by Sloot Construction, Guelph, ON

R-2000 NZE Pilot Results

In the end, a total of 23 net zero energy houses were built under the Pilot by six builders (two from the RFP and four under the ecoEII project): Construction Voyer, Habitat Studio & Workshop Ltd., Mattamy Homes, Minto Communities Canada, Reid’s Heritage Homes, and Sloot Construction Ltd.

Through the Pilot, all of these builders became new (or were re-licensed as) R-2000 builders.  The Pilot also gave the opportunity to build a range of different archetypes, including detached (single family) dwellings, four townhomes and a six-plex multi-unit residential building.

Throughout the course of the Pilot, a number of projects were not approved because they did not meet the final labelling deadline; used ineligible technologies; or did not install the PV system required to achieve the net zero energy performance level.  Regardless of the reasons, each builder brought valuable insight and lessons learned to the Pilot.

NRCan acknowledges the contribution of all the builders, energy advisors, and industry partners for their participation in the Pilot, and would like to extend congratulations to the six builders that successfully achieved net zero energy performance under the R-2000 Net Zero Energy Pilot.

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