Learning How to Cut Emissions From Canada

10/26/2017 |

The strategy from the Canada Green Building Council provides insight for greener retrofits

There might be a few lessons the U.S. can take from its neighbors up north, specifically in the realm of green buildings and sustainability.

A new report from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) provides a detailed strategy plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings like office towers, recreation centers, hospitals, arenas and schools. 

The report highlights the crucial responsibility that existing buildings play in a sustainable future and provides recommendations to retrofit large buildings that will contribute to achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of at least 30% (or 12.5 million tonnes) by 2030, with the potential to reach 51% or 21.2 million tonnes.

"This report makes it very clear that targeted strategic investments in existing buildings represent a massive opportunity for significant carbon reductions across the country," says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of CaGBC. "We are showing how each region can contribute to meeting Canada’s climate change goals through a targeted approach to building retrofit and clean energy. Governments at all levels are encouraged to develop progressive policies and programs to guide investment and support for establishing a robust retrofit economy in Canada."

The report also identifies the buildings with the largest carbon reduction potential and recommends provincially-specific retrofit pathways that include a combination of recommissioning, deep retrofits, renewable energy and fuel switching actions.

Key findings of the Roadmap for Retrofits report:

  • Attaining a 30% building emissions reduction by 2030 is possible by focusing on a targeted number of buildings that have the greatest potential to reduce carbon.
  • Buildings including office buildings, shopping malls, universities, and arenas constructed between 1960 and 1979 across all provinces represent the age class with the largest opportunity for total carbon emissions reductions..
  • All provinces will need to prioritize recommissioning for large buildings (between 25,000 and 200,000 sq. ft.) and deep retrofits for older buildings (over 35 years old) in order to meet the target. These two actions will reduce emissions by a collective total of 4.1 MT CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), providing 62% of the reduction activity needed.

For information about CaGBC’s report, you can find it at its website here. 

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