A new report published by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) sets out a series of comprehensive actions for industry, non-profit organizations and governments to build a world-leading retrofit economy by 2030 that improves the performance of existing buildings and creates new economic opportunities for Canadians.
CaGBC’s A Roadmap for Retrofits: Building Strong Market Infrastructure for the Retrofit Economy, was released Feb. 26 in conjunction with a roundtable policy discussion hosted by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, CaGBC and Econoler in Ottawa.
The report says that the environmental and economic potential of Canada’s retrofit economy cannot be developed by governments alone – it requires industry leadership and innovative market-based mechanisms to generate and sustain results. The roundtable convened a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss how to develop the policy, financing, human capital, business practice, and information market infrastructure to build and sustain a robust retrofit economy.
“Through Canada’s national energy dialogue, Generation Energy, Canadians made it clear that the transition to energy-efficient buildings is necessary for Canada’s low-carbon future,” Carr said in a statement.. “Together with industry and the provinces and territories, we developed Build Smart: Canada’s Buildings Strategy. This strategy involves working with organizations like CaGBC to turn big ideas into real actions Canadians can take and we look forward to working together on climate change, through significant, long-lasting improvements to the buildings sector, both now and for the future.”
The report calls on private financiers, pension funds, insurers, and other financial intermediaries to develop retrofit lending products (like the Investor Confidence Project) and standardized commercial contracts that foster building owner and financier confidence in deep retrofit projects. The report encourages building owners to proactively disclose building energy and carbon performance, and to share data on the performance of their retrofit projects in order to help the retrofit economy evolve.
“The CaGBC’s report recommendations are unique in endorsing a move away from a solution based on government grants and rebates, and instead focuses on leveraging market-based mechanisms developed through private, public and nonprofit collaboration,” says CAGC president and CEO Thomas Mueller. “In following this market-driven approach, Canada has a chance to be the first in the world to put into place the requisite policy and market infrastructure to implement a retrofit economy and reap the environmental and economic advantages.”
The report calls on governments at all levels to leverage their own significant building portfolios to demonstrate the value of retrofit projects, co-invest in education and training with industry to build skills, and undertake smart regulatory and program interventions to attract private-sector capital to projects.