Adapting Standards for Climate Change

Since I was just reading up on the new Canadian standard for zero carbon buildings, this other and related issue caught my eye. The European standards organizations have been working on adapting standards for the changes we’re experiencing and will be expected to experience with the climate.

They’re focusing on three sectors: transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, and buildings and construction. Of course, obvious or not, climate change impacts all sorts of things, from temperatures that devices are designed to operate within, to electricity grid reliability, to withstanding extreme weather conditions, and much more.

To find out more about the CEN-CENELEC’s standards work, visit their climate change adaptation Web site. They have a number of free documents to download. Such guidance on adapting standards for climate change may prove worthwhile to have in mind while working with a range of other existing standards.

New, Canadian Zero Carbon Building Standard

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently released a new, Zero Carbon Building Standard. They explained that the standard aims “…to make carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance.” It applies to both new construction and existing buildings through certifications for design (new), performance (existing), or both. You can download the full document (PDF) free here.

The standard’s main components cover greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and associated strategies,  preparing for the future/renewable energy, and carbon from the lifecycle of the building materials.

This new standard contributes toward a goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from commercial, institutional, or multi-family buildings. The standard’s summary explains the CaGBC’s concern with current buildings’ performance because they expect a large percentage of these (over 80%) to continue being used in 2030. Additionally, the future lifespan of new buildings puts pressure to design for zero carbon emissions from the outset. This includes establishing techniques for offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from the building’s energy consumption.

Much more information about the standard and the CaGBC’s Zero Building Program is available from the Zero Carbon Building Initiative web site.