Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ontario Government Begins Review of the Ontario Building Code

The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has begun a week-long, five-city process of gathering information on proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code (OBC).

Public review of sections of the OBC related to energy efficiency and conservation began Monday in Ottawa. The cross-provincial tour continues March 8 in Sudbury and Toronto, and March 10 in Thunder Bay and London.

"This undertaking is important," said Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance (CEEA) president and CEO Ken Elsey. "The 80,000 new homes to be built in Ontario this year must be heated and cooled for the next 80 years. Increased energy efficiency of each home will have huge cumulative benefits, for both the new home buyer and the province's energy conservation objectives.

"However, the proposed changes to the energy efficiency component of the OBC by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing seem to downplay energy efficiency as a priority of the current government," he continued. "Much more can be done with the OBC."

According to the CEEA, a significant omission in the OBC proposal is the lack of energy efficiency standards for renovations (part 11).

The home and business renovation industry in Ontario involves over $10 billion spent annually, and the opportunity to retrofit older homes and save energy is too important to miss, said Elsey. This is especially important in older cities and towns with a large stock of older buildings, he said.

"Yes, people have to be able to afford to buy homes, but they also need to be able to afford the energy bills," he said. "Reputable builders demonstrate daily that affordable energy efficient homes can be built in any part of the province."

It's estimated that typical energy efficiency upgrades on older houses can save the average homeowner over $700 per year.


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