Manitoba leads way in energy conservation

Article from the Brandon Sun, August 30, 2010 by Mike Moore

THE Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance recently released its 8th annual report card and Manitoba led the country for the fourth straight time with an A+ score. It was acknowledged that Manitoba has been a leader in driving energy efficiency initiatives since 1989 and has committed to continued improvement.

In the area of residential construction, both new home and renovations, Manitoba warranted special mention and consideration. Water conservation was recently added to the Manitoba Building Code and Plumbing Code. The Manitoba Home Builders’ Association lobbied for the elimination of the old 13-litre toilet tank in favour of the more water conscious low-flow toilet. The MHBA recognized that not only had this installation been the norm in new home construction for years but, in order to make the most significant impact on our environment, it had to be implemented in existing homes when bathroom renovations were needed.

Similarly, aerators on taps and faucets had also been standard components of the new home industry prior to being introduced as part of water conservation legislation.

Another area in which the CEEA gave Manitoba high marks was in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency in Manitoba homes increased by 21.6 per cent between 1990 and 2006 while GHG emissions decreased by 31.3 per cent. The building envelope of a new home in Manitoba is so efficient that considerably less energy is used to heat it in the winter than in older, existing homes.

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance gave Manitoba high marks for energy legislation, changes to the building codes and outreach programs to the public that were done through partnerships, in particular industry associations that could offer immediate implementation. The MHBA was pleased to be one of those partners that were able to facilitate energy conservation.

Through leadership on the Building Standards Board, a close working relationship with Manitoba Hydro, requesting higher minimum standards for products and being on the cutting edge of design and innovation, MHBA members have helped the government formulate energy efficiency standards unmatched anywhere else in Canada.

In conclusion, the CEEA stated that Manitoba has maintained it’s A+ standing because it continues to take a progressive approach. The residential construction industry, through new home construction and renovation activity, is proud to be a significant contributor to this success.

Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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