Green Retrofit Economy Study
Supply chain readiness in a low-carbon world
CAGBC and the Delphi Group’s new study, Green Retrofit Economy Study profiles key pathways that will equip the green building ecosystem with insights into the workforce and supply chain needs across Canada’s retrofit economy. Through green retrofits, Canada’s buildings can contribute to net-zero climate targets, make buildings more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events, and provide rewarding job opportunities while strengthening the domestic supply of low-carbon products and services.
Growing the low-carbon economy is a key component of the federal government’s plan to generate economic growth while mitigating the worst impacts of climate change and reducing environmental impacts. Over $3.6 billion has been committed to finance energy efficiency upgrades and low-carbon retrofits for large buildings as a way to meet GHG emission reduction targets. This historically significant investment will require the green building workforce to triple by 2030 to meet the demand for sustainable building construction and renovation.
To realize the opportunities that exist from this investment, Canada will need to lean heavily on a skilled, qualified, and growing workforce, as well an accessible and affordable supply chain of relevant low-carbon products, materials, and equipment.
The report anticipates that Canada will see a shortage of skilled workers in the near term, even without an increase in retrofit projects. These include carpenters, HVAC trades, plasterers and drywall installers, and mechanical engineers and technicians. Enhancing expertise and knowledge across the retrofit spectrum, including among decision-makers, designers, financing experts and consultants, will help to address the complexity and capital constraints associated with retrofit investments.
Investments in a robust, accessible, and an affordable supply chain are also needed to drive innovation and secure access to the products and services needed to complete green retrofits at scale. The report identified more than 25 technologies and products that are directly relevant to low-carbon retrofits, including building automation systems, heat pumps, heat and energy recovery systems, wall recladding systems, thermal bridging technology and integrated photovoltaics.
Governments, employers, and educators must be focused on reskilling existing workers and growing the workforce by removing the stigma associated with trades and reaching underrepresented groups. We need to think ahead to ensure we have the right resources and supports in place as retrofit activity accelerates in the face of the rising cost of carbon.
President and CEO, CAGBC
Canada already has many of the technologies needed to accelerate retrofits at scale. This study offers insights into where stakeholders need to collaborate and focus to remove barriers to retrofits and, in the process, modernize Canada’s built environment and meet its climate targets. It is essential reading for the new retrofit economy.
CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank
Canada’s building sector must be able to meet demand in the right locations and at the right time to capitalize on the green retrofits opportunity. Ensuring there are enough skilled workers to accommodate growing retrofit projects as well as an accessible and affordable supply — including the products, materials, and technologies needed to service the retrofit economy — will be critical.
Director, Green Economy, Delphi Group