The City of Vancouver has endorsed an initiative to achieve zero-emission buildings by 2030.
The plan has four components, and the first of these is the setting building code requirements with greenhouse gas and thermal energy limits for each building type, The Georgia Straight reports.
Starting this year, new multi-unit low-rise buildings (four to six stories) will need to be built to standards that reduce emissions by nearly 50 per cent compared to current regulations. New building bylaws will require high rises will have even higher standards–they will need to achieve 64 per cent fewer emissions.
Office buildings and other building types will be required to have better envelopes and shift to renewable energy sources for their heating.
Other plan components include:
- All new city-owned and –managed buildings will need to conform to the highest energy efficiency standards.
- The city will create a three-year, $1.6-million program to help developers build energy-efficient detached and row houses.
- The Centre of Zero Emission Building Excellence will be established as a non-profit to facilitate the development of zero-emission building expertise.
The Zero Emissions Building Plan was formulated by city staff in co-operation with several partners like the Pembina Institute, a think tank on energy and climate change issues.
Karen Tam Wu, director of the buildings and urban solutions program with the Pembina Institute , said the initiative will benefit city residents.
“These include improvements to the quality of the homes and buildings in which Vancouver residents live and work, the creation of green jobs and increased innovation in the supply chain,” Tam Wu wrote.
“Pursuing solely carbon neutrality will not result in the magnitude of reductions in the time frame we have to meet our national and international climate targets,” Tam Wu wrote. “Simply put, we need to look for all opportunities to reduce consumption of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The Zero Emissions Building Plan will become a model for many other jurisdictions in Canada and North America.”
The city plans to introduce new single family home building bylaws around 2020 to achieve greater energy efficiency.
Image of Vancouver green house under construction by Stephen Hui, Pembina Institute