While speaking before the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on the effects of transitioning to a low carbon economy, Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) CEO Kevin Lee focused on housing affordability, saying that cost must be reduced despite adding energy-efficient innovations.
Lee’s statements will become a part of the committee’s study about how shifting to a low carbon economy can impact sectors such as electricity, oil, gas, transportation and buildings. The report mandated by the federal government is due in spring of 2018, after the committee is finished examining Canada’s built environment throughout fall of 2017.
“It is time for federal priorities for housing and the environment to pursue a single simple but extremely important goal: let’s build better houses for the same price or less,” Lee said, forecasting that Canada has about 12 years to figure out how it can build energy-efficient homes equipped with modern modifications without inflating housing prices.
To keep sustainable housing affordable, Lee encouraged the federal government to invest in research in development. He believes that is only “page 2” as a solution needs to be found before regulations can be implemented.
He also brought up voluntary programming, claiming it will enable homeowners to choose higher levels of performance on a voluntary basis and still move the housing market forward without affecting affordability of entry-level homes.=
Lee pointed out that Canada used to be a “world leader in housing energy efficiency” through the 80s and 90s, and that there is still an opportunity for the country to return to international leadership.
“The government needs to focus on Canadian solutions, and build on them. Canada’s excellent systems such as the National Building Code, Canada’s standards endorsed by the Standards Council of Canada, and NRCan’s the EnerGuide Rating System and its other initiatives should be the initiatives supported by the Federal Government,” Lee said.
Moreover, Lee pushed for a “permanent, refundable home renovation tax credit” through the EnerGuide Rating System.