At Orata Engineering, envelope design is an important part of our envelope engineering services. The envelope design process is used to ensure that buildings are designed to be thermally efficient and fully capable of managing moisture while remaining structurally sound.

Envelope design in Calgary has seen some significant changes over the past 6 months with the new Alberta Building Code coming into effect. The code and its new section on energy efficiency (Section 9.36) has some significant implications for envelope design on new Calgary homes and buildings. The code was created to improve upon both energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta. Orata’s envelope design services can help you achieve compliance with Part 9 or Part 5 of the Alberta Building Code, or the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. Learn more about the changes made to these codes and how this will impact future.

What is Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code and what changes were made?

In November of 2016, the new Alberta Building Code was finally implemented and it included a new section that specifically addressed energy efficiency in new homes. In total, 7 changes were made to the code, all of which were developed to promote energy efficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Alberta Building Code 2014 is in compliance with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, which the province of Alberta was behind on up until November.

Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code is new and it addresses many different building factors that impact energy efficiency such as air-conditioning, lighting, windows, insulation and more. As a result of the new code, envelope designers are now required to consider the effects thermal bridging and calculate the effective thermal resistance of building assemblies or overall thermal transmittance of buildings.

What impact will these changes have on envelope design?

The new Alberta Building Code will have a big effect on envelope design and engineering for both commercial and residential buildings. Envelope designers are now forced to ensure that new buildings are more thermally efficient and airtight. Both commercial buildings and residential homes are affected by the code; however, each is affected differently.

Fortunately for commercial buildings, their engineers tend to know how to properly calculate thermal bridging and resistance and are able to make these changes accordingly. The only factors that may change for commercial building engineers is the software and installation process.

Unfortunately, residential envelope builders are facing more of a challenge as they are not as familiar with calculating thermal bridging and resistance. The envelope designers at Orata Engineering are highly proficient with these calculations and have been assisting residential builders with the new code requirements.

If you would like to learn more about our envelope design services in Calgary or if you have questions about Section 9.36 of the Alberta Building Code, please contact Orata Engineering at 403-512-6065. In addition to our envelope design services, we specialize in various other engineering services including site grading, digital terrain modeling and drainage planning. Stay up-to-date with the latest envelope engineering updates and news by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.