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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 coming with mandatory compliance to NECB 2011. Effective December 1, 2019 and ongoing, Building Permit applications for new buildings and additions to buildings will need to show compliance with the NECB 2017.


NECB Compliance Timeline

Building permits received by The City of Lethbridge on or after December 1, 2019 must comply with NECB 2017 or the National Building Code 2019 - Alberta Edition Section 9.36, as applicable. 


How to Comply with the NECB

There are several methods that can be chosen 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 Parts 3 to 7 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 the prescriptive path 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 more flexibility is needed in the design, a trade-off path allows the Design Professional to trade elements within the same Part of the NECB and demonstrate an equivalent level of performance without meeting every prescriptive requirement found in the NECB. 

Basically, the trade-off path is a calculation to demonstrate that while the 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 Parts 3 to 7 of the NECB. 


Performance Path

For the most design flexibility, the performance path may be chosen. Information about this approach is found in Part 8 of the NECB. 

The Design Professional must simply demonstrate that the proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to prescriptive requirements. 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 Planning & Development Services at 403-320-3920.


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