Skip to main content Skip to footer

Green Building Information

New buildings and homes in Ontario must meet minimum energy efficiency standards set by the Ontario Building Code.  

The following information outlines energy efficiency strategies and programs for new builds. If you are interested in financial assistance to renovate your home to make it more energy-efficient and climate-friendly, check out our Better Homes Kingston Program.


Encouraging green buildings for a better future!

We cannot make building permit applicants exceed energy efficiency minimums but we do encourage builders to consider better standards like ENERGY STAR, EnerGuide, or LEED. These green building ratings prioritize high performance, energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and eco-friendliness.  

Rating systems like LEED challenge designers to surpass basic codes, improving building performance, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness while reducing environmental impact. 

They provide guidelines and scorecards, promoting holistic solutions to various concerns rather than prescribing specific technologies. 

Since April 2004, we have adopted the LEED rating system for large municipal projects, placing Kingston at the forefront of sustainable development. These systems offer a structured approach to assess sustainable practices, ensuring fair project comparisons. While not all require third-party verification, it enhances confidence in meeting higher energy standards. 

Designers are pushed to consider long-term impact and cost-effectiveness, involving interdisciplinary teams from the project's inception. 

We currently operate one ground-mounted and 14 rooftops Solar Photovoltaic installations at our facilities. Most of these installations were established under the now-discontinued Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) and Micro Feed-in-Tariff (MicroFIT) programs by the Ontario Power Authority. New installations now follow Net Metering through local distribution companies. 

Several microFIT (10 kW) installations are now operational, contributing to clean renewable energy generation at various locations, including Fire Hall One on Joyceville Road, Fire Hall Two on Brewers Mills Road, Fire Hall Three on Gore Road, Fire Hall Seven on Woodbine Road, and many more. 

Additionally, Feed-in-Tariff installations are generating clean energy and revenue at the John Counter Boulevard campus, covering the Kingston Transit garage, 1211 John Counter Blvd., and the Utilities Kingston garage, as well as a 130-kW installation at the Ravensview Water Treatment Plant. 

The ENERGY STAR for New Homes initiative is a set of voluntary guidelines for new homes to achieve approximately 30 per cent greater energy efficiency compared to the minimum building code standards. To achieve these standards, licensed builders can incorporate various options: 

  • Enhancing attic insulation. 
  • Installing ENERGY STAR labelled windows and patio doors. 
  • Increasing wall insulation to reduce heating, cooling costs, and noise. 
  • Applying full-height basement insulation. 
  • Adding extra insulation in exposed floor areas (e.g., above garages, under bay windows). 
  • Installing an ENERGY STAR labelled high-efficiency furnace. 
  • Using a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) unit to exchange fresh air while retaining heat. 
  • Ensuring sealed ductwork for efficient airflow. 
  • Utilizing high-efficiency lighting. 
  • Equipping the home with ENERGY STAR labelled appliances to lower electrical costs. 
  • Installing water-saving toilets, showerheads, and clothes washers. 

After building a qualified home, an independent ENERGY STAR evaluator checks compliance. Upon successful verification, Natural Resources Canada issues a labelled certificate, often placed on the electrical panel, including a regional service organization seal for authenticity. 

Besides being an ENERGY STAR qualified home, a house can also get an EnerGuide energy rating label to show how much energy it uses. An energy advisor checks building plans and looks at the finished house to give it a rating from zero to 100. 

The advisor provides a label and report showing how energy-efficient the house is. Most new houses get a rating of 68 or higher, but ENERGY STAR homes in Ontario usually score 80 or more. 

LEED, led by the Canada Green Building Council, promotes environmentally responsible building design. 

Our policy requires all major municipal projects to follow LEED standards. This ensures our buildings focus on energy efficiency, indoor quality, and minimize environmental impact and costs. 

LEED Canada for Homes is a rating system focused on designing and constructing highly sustainable green homes. It evaluates a home's performance across eight categories: 

  • Innovation and design process 
  • Location and linkages 
  • Sustainable sites 
  • Water efficiency 
  • Energy and atmosphere 
  • Materials and resources 
  • Indoor environmental quality 
  • Awareness and education 

LEED sets a minimum performance level through prerequisites and rewards improved performance in each category. The performance levels are certified, silver, gold, and platinum, based on the points earned. 

Our LEED-certified facilities 

Our new facilities aim for at least a LEED silver rating, targeting a minimum of 40 per cent energy cost savings. Notable certified buildings include the Kingston Police Headquarters (LEED gold in 2008), Public Works Staff and Operations Building (LEED gold in 2015), Kingston Transit Garage (LEED-certified in 2015), and Utilities Kingston building (LEED silver in 2017). 

We have found that the costs to achieve LEED certification are offset by energy savings and efficiencies in certain buildings over time. The LEED rating system, initially introduced by the USBG in 1994, is now used in over 30 countries. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

This website uses cookies to enhance usability and provide you with a more personal experience. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy statement.