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New report recommends federal policies for low-carbon buildings

Posted on October 12, 2017

The Pembina Institute and Équiterre have released a blueprint for how the federal government can rapidly implement the buildings strategy laid out in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

According to the report, homes and buildings represent nearly 12 per cent of the country’s overall carbon pollution, and more than one-quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Low-carbon buildings are both a climate mitigation and a wealth creation opportunity. A suite of policies can support a transition to a low-carbon building stock, with energy efficiency leading the way.

The report makes several recommendations, including:

  • Set a Pan-Canadian target of 30 per cent less energy consumption in the existing building stock below 2005 levels, by 2030, with recognition of the need to achieve complete decarbonization of the building sector;
  • Set a Pan-Canadian target that all new construction be net-zero energy ready by 2030. (The Pan-Canadian Framework calls for a net-zero energy ready National Energy Code for Buildings by 2030);
  • Launch and manage a large-scale loan guarantee program to backstop investments in key building retrofit initiatives;
  • Develop and release the net-zero energy ready energy code as early as 2020, to incent early adopters, and consider funding net-zero certification schemes;
  • Fund the third-party publication of a scorecard that assesses the performance of Canadian provinces and large municipalities against key metrics (buildings policies and results); and
  • Strike an explicit partnership with the provinces to adopt and report on these goals. Access to federal funding for building renewal should be contingent, in part or in whole, on provincial governments implementing the necessary policies.

The report, Federal Policies for Low-Carbon Buildings, is available in both English and French. The report can be downloaded at: http://www.pembina.org/pub/federal-buildings-blueprint.

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