ACCA report supports the case for deep retrofits, ICP

Rating System/Standard
Green Building

Today Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Advisory Council on Climate Action (ACCA) released a report examining ways Canada can accelerate the transition to sustainable, resilient buildings and transportation. The report states that transportation and the built environment sectors account for over a third of Canada’s GHG emissions. While emissions are projected to decline in these sectors by 2030, the pace is not aligned with Canada’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Reviewing the report, it’s heartening to see how much of the ACCA’s recommendations validate the Canadian Green Building Council’s own focus on the need for deep retrofits to meet Canada’s carbon reduction targets, with tools such as the Zero Carbon Building Standard helping create a pathway for both new and existing buildings to reach zero carbon. Our recent initiative, The Disclosure Challenge, invites building owners to share their portfolio’s energy performance for better visibility into how investments in green building are paying off. And our Investor Confidence Project (ICP), which the report references, is a global underwriting standard for developing and measuring energy efficiency retrofits, offering investors a consistent roadmap for assessing risk and expected outcomes from deep retrofits.

While the ACCA report is not a comprehensive roadmap for policy, it does identify promising opportunities for GHG reductions in the built environment. Their recommendations include:

  • The Government of Canada should ensure that tools to support standardized building labelling are available for adoption by provinces and territories, and maintain these tools on an ongoing basis.
  • The Government of Canada should lead by example and publicly disclose energy use ratings for all federal buildings.
  • The Government of Canada should accelerate the pace of deep retrofits in its assets and communicate the results of these projects, including through an open database with project-level information on performance.
  • The Government of Canada should ensure that standardized tools and approaches to measure the expected and actual performance of retrofit projects are broadly available. The Canada Infrastructure Bank should be operationalized with expertise to disseminate these best practices, and to build and aggregate pipelines of local retrofit projects.
  • The Government of Canada should consider implementing a performance-based incentive for retrofit activities in the form of an accelerated capital cost allowance, similar to that of the United States
  • Based on an assessments of needs, the Government of Canada should increase investment in capacity-building activities, including to promote energy literacy and technology demonstration.