This paper On Use Of The Reference Building Approach in Modern Building Energy Codes has just been published in Energy & Buildings. Although the data used in the study is for homes in British Columbia, Canada, the use of the reference building approach to code compliance is widespread in Canada, the US and Australia in addition to being permitted by some rating systems in those countries and New Zealand. The findings of the study illustrate the importance of using outcome based, whole building performance metrics to achieve policy goals, as recommended by GlobalABC, the UN Framework Guidelines and other sources.
Established practices die hard, even when they fail to deliver results. The use of the reference building approach continues in Canada and elsewhere, with Canada planning to continue its use in the national model ‘net-zero ready’ building code for 2030. Please note, as explained in the paper, the phrase ‘reference building’ has a different meaning in the EU context, enabling the EU to avoid the performance gap identified in this paper.