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Low-energy building design can contribute to dramatically reduced energy usage and can be applied to all new building projects. This paper explores the potential in Canada of applying available energy efficient building technologies in cost-effective applications. The objective was to determine the degree of energy reduction that can easily be achieved in new building design and the associated costs. The reference energy level was that specified by the minimum (or prescriptive) requirements of the Canadian Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) 1997. Costs and savings evaluated include energy, capital and maintenance. The results indicate that significant energy savings (greater than 50% reduction compared to the base case design) with attractive economic returns are possible through careful selection and application of existing technologies. The 50% energy reduction relative to the MNECB is considered as the high performance building threshold. It is possible to achieve 25% reduction compared to the base case building with no incremental cost. With careful selection and application of efficient building technologies at the early stages of design, and adjustment of equipment sizing to account for reduced demands, many designs result in energy savings of 30 to 40% with no incremental cost.

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