As part of the greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy introduced by the Government of Alberta the new National Energy Code of Canada for Building 2017 (NECB) and energy efficiency requirements within Section 9.36 of the National Building Code, 2019 AB Edition are in effect.

The codes outlined above are the minimum standard for construction for building permits applied for after November 1, 2016.

National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2017 (NECB 2017)

The National Energy Code for Buildings 2017 (NECB 2017) has been implemented as the minimum construction standard in Alberta for energy efficiency of commercial and residential space of a certain type and size, in addition to components in additions and new buildings.

Components covered in NECB 2017 are:

  • Building envelope, including windows, walls and doors
  • Lighting
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Service water heating
  • Electric motors

Alberta Building Code 9.36

The primary building and systems in a house or small building are covered in Section 9.36 of the National Building Code, 2019 AB Edition, this includes: the building envelope, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and hot water systems. This also applies to small buildings, which are defined in Clause of the National Building Code, 2019 AB Edition.

Updates to the code address:

  • Air leakage
  • Uncontrolled thermal transfer
  • Unnecessary energy demand or consumption for heating and cooling, service water heating, and electrical equipment and devices
  • Inefficiency of equipment and systems
  • Unnecessary rejection of reusable waste energy

How do I ensure code compliance?


This path involves following the prescriptive requirements of Subsection 9.36.2, 9.36.3 and 9.36.4.  This is the simplest compliance path to follow, but may not be appropriate for all buildings.

NOTE: Prescriptive path compliance for any part of the 9.36 requires meeting all requirements in the path. If this is not possible then another compliance path should be followed.


The trade-off path allows for more flexibility in design and for trading elements within the above ground building envelope to demonstrate equivalent level performance without meeting all prescriptive requirements outlined in 9.36.2.

With the trade-off path you must provide a calculation that demonstrates that though your proposed design may not precisely meet the prescriptive requirements found in Section 9.36, the amount of energy consumed will equal to or less than what will be consumed by following the prescriptive compliance path.

For example, if your design contains a regular framed wall with studs at 24” on the centre and a tall wall with studs at 12” on the centre, you may be able to compensate for the lesser value of the tall wall by improving the insulation in the regular wall or improving the thermal performance of the ceiling.

NOTE: It is important to note that the trade-off path has limitations and rules on how to calculate what may be traded off. These limitations are found in Section


For the most design flexibility, you should choose to use a performance compliance path.  This approach is found in subsection 9.36.5 and is only applicable to houses and buildings containing residential occupancies.

For the performance compliance path, you must demonstrate that the proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to prescriptive requirements, using an approved building energy simulation tool (computer software).  Performance compliance can allow for trade-offs between building systems, and might be the only compliance path that is practical for certain buildings.

National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2017

While this may be considered overly complex for the typical house or small commercial building, it is permitted to use the NECB as a means of demonstrating compliance with Section 9.36.  If you choose this path, it is important to understand you must use the NECB fully.  There is no way to use parts of 9.36 and the NECB in combination to show compliance.

Energy efficiency checklist - residential and limited small commercial projects

Printable checklist (227.3 KB)


Frequently Asked Questions

More information

Planning and Development Services
Phone: 780-464-8080
Fax: 780-464-8142

Last updated: Friday, April 28, 2023
Page ID: 49803