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National Energy Code of Canada

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About the NECB

The National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) was developed by the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada as part of the commitment to improving the energy efficiency of Canadian buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The NECB covers a wide range of building components and systems, including building envelope, electrical, and mechanical systems.


The NECB was adopted as regulation in Alberta on Nov. 1, 2015. Subsequently, a transition phase was initiated and extended to Nov. 1, 2016. This transition phase allows for the industry and the public time to familiarize themselves with the new requirements before the changes are mandatory as of Nov. 1, 2016.


NECB Compliance Timeline

Building Permit applications before Nov. 1, 2016 do not need to demonstrate compliance with the NECB.

Building permits received by The City of Lethbridge on or after Nov. 1, 2016 must comply with NECB or the Alberta Building Code Section 9.36, as applicable.


How to Comply with the NECB

Unlike Alberta’s safety codes, there are several methods that you can choose to demonstrate compliance with the NECB. This is a critical decision for the design team and can affect both submission requirements and team members. The various compliance path types are prescriptive, trade-off, and performance compliance, outlined below.


Prescriptive Path

This path involves following the prescriptive requirements of Sections 3.2, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2 and 7.2 of the NECB. It is typically the simplest compliance path to follow, but may not be appropriate for all building types.

It is important to note that prescriptive path compliance for any part of the NECB requires meeting all requirements in that part. If this is impossible or undesirable, another compliance path should be selected.


Trade-off Path

If you need more flexibility in your design, a trade-off path allows you to trade elements within the same part of the energy code and demonstrate an equivalent level of performance without meeting every prescriptive requirements found in the NECB. For example, if your design calls for more window area than prescribed by the code, you may be able to compensate by improving the insulation in the building envelope, or improving the thermal performance of the windows themselves.

Basically, the trade-off path is a calculation to demonstrate that while your proposed design may not exactly meet the prescriptive requirements found in the NECB overall, the amount of energy consumed will be the same or less than the following strict prescriptive compliance.


It is important to note that trade-off path has limitations and rules on how to calculate what may be traded off within each Part. These limitations are found in Sections 3.3, 4.3, 5.3 and 6.3 of the NECB.

Performance Path

For the most design flexibility, you should choose to use a performance path. This includes the detailed envelope trade-off path and building energy performance compliance paths. These approaches are found in Subsection 3.3.4 and Part 8 of the NECB.


For the NECB 2011, you must simply demonstrate that the proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to prescriptive requirements using an approved hourly building energy simulation tool. Performance compliance can allow for trade-offs between building systems, and might be the only compliance path available for certain building types.


Compliance Documents

New Residential and Small Business Construction

For new residential and small businesses building permit applications please include the Submittal Form and Trade-Off Report (if required) as part of your plan submission. A User Guide is available to help with the process.


New Commercial and Industrial Construction

For new industrial and commercial building permit applications please include the NECB Project Summary as part of your plan submission.

Request For Specific Variance

Please complete the Request for Specific Variance form​ if it is required for your project.


Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the NECB, please contact Development Services at 403-320-3920.


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