The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), co-headquartered in Vancouver, applauds the Government of British Columbia for CleanBC, which demonstrates strong political leadership in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings. This plan not only moves British Columbia towards a low-carbon economy, it exhibits a clear commitment to fighting climate change.
“Taken together, these actions will help B.C. meet its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050,” said Thomas Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer of CaGBC. “We look forward to providing industry-ready solutions to the B.C. government as it implements the CleanBC plan and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
In particular, CaGBC recognizes the following initiatives:
Mandating zero energy new construction: While CaGBC commends the B.C. government for mandating that every new building be net-zero energy ready by 2032, it is critical to use carbon instead of energy as the key metric to measure zero emission buildings. The CaGBC has developed a national Zero Carbon Building Standard to show how it can be done. As our research has identified, every new building needs to be built to zero carbon today in order for Canada to meet its GHG emission reduction targets. We therefore recommend that the B.C. government recognize the importance of carbon alongside energy when moving toward its targets.
Supporting retrofits: Improving the performance of our existing building stock offers the greatest opportunity to reduce GHG emissions in the built environment. CaGBC is encouraged to see the B.C. government commit to adopting the National Energy Code for existing buildings by 2024, and allocate $400 million to support retrofits and upgrades for B.C.’s publicly funded housing.
The B.C government is well placed to go even further by initiating innovative policies to establish a strong provincial retrofit economy. This can include benchmarking that requires large buildings to report their annual energy consumption, and adopting instruments to reduce risk for investors and building owners, such as the Investor Confidence Project (ICP), a global underwriting standard for developing and measuring energy efficiency retrofits.
Strong government leadership: The B.C. government was the first in Canada to adopt the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standard for their own buildings, which resulted in more than 600 buildings certified in the Province and established a green building industry with high quality jobs. The Province is again taking national leadership by requiring schools, hospitals and other facilities meet LEED Gold certification. We commend the B.C. government for its commitment to LEED and encourage them to continue investing in green buildings with an enhanced target of zero carbon construction.
Encouraging workforce transition: By addressing the skills gap that exists in the construction trades when it comes to the delivery of high-performing, low-carbon buildings, the B.C. government is ensuring that the provincial workforce is ready for the future. Identifying the required skills and developing a CleanBC Labour Readiness Plan are steps in the right direction.
We thank the Government of British Columbia for the opportunity to consult and provide submissions on the development of this leadership plan. The CaGBC, its members and stakeholders look forward to supporting the implementation of these ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions from B.C. buildings, homes and communities.
This statement is endorsed by REALPAC:
“The Province of British Columbia is demonstrating true sustainability leadership through the release of the CleanBC plan,” said Michael Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of REALPAC. “It is clear that policy-makers, like leading industry thinkers, are committed to developing principles for an innovative and carbon-neutral built environment. We look forward to working with the Government of British Columbia on this very important objective.”