Prescriptive path follows the prescriptive requirements of Subsection 9.36.2, 9.36.3 and 9.36.4. Generally the easiest compliance path to follow, however may not 'fit' all buildings as ALL PARTS of 9.36 are required to be met. If this will be unobtainable, a different method should be selected. Please submit this Prescriptive Summary with the building permit application.
Trade-off path allows for more flexibility, as it allows a trade of elements in the building envelope (above ground) as long as it can be demonstrated to be an equal level of performance without meeting all prescriptive requirements set out in 9.36.2. The trade-off path does have limits and rules regarding how to calculate what may be traded off. The limits are set out in Section 126.96.36.199.
If you are looking at the trade off compliance path, please reference this trade off calculator. A print out will be required with your application.
Performance Path allows for the MOST flexibility. Subsection 9.36.5 speaks to this approach and is only applicable in houses and buildings intended for residential occupancies. One must be able to demonstrate the proposed design won't consume more energy than the same house built to the prescriptive path. This can be done by using approved building energy simulation tool. If the performance path is chosen, it can allow for trade-offs between building systems and may be the only path that is practical for certain buildings.
National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 is more complex for a typical house or small building, however it is permitted as a means to demonstrate compliance with Section 9.36. Note, no parts of 9.36 can be combined with requirements of NECB.