Homes and buildings

Saving money and making our buildings more energy efficient

Taking action

The Government of Canada will work with the provinces and territories to:

  • Develop a “net-zero energy ready” model building code, with the goal that provinces and territories adopt it by 2030.
  • Develop a model code for existing buildings to help guide energy efficiency improvements during renovations, with the goal that all provinces and territories adopt it.
  • Develop tools to support the aim of requiring labelling of building energy use by as early as 2019.
  • Use funds from the $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund and green infrastructure investments to help interested provinces and territories expand their efforts to improve building energy performance.
  • Set new standards for heating equipment and other key technologies.
  • Support Indigenous communities and governments as they improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

We spend the majority of our lives in buildings. Our houses, offices, and community centres require heating, cooling, and lighting. In Canada, buildings produce 12 percent of our national emissions, mostly for space and water heating. If you add indirect emissions from using electricity, that share jumps to 17 percent. And in making them more energy efficient, they represent a big economic opportunity.

Construction is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Canada. When we make our homes and buildings more energy efficient – we also create more jobs. In Canada, every dollar the government spends on energy-efficiency programs can save Canadians as much as $3 to $5.

Our buildings will become much more energy efficient, use clean electricity, and even generate their own electricity. Well-designed, efficient buildings are comfortable and healthy – and they save Canadians money on energy bills.

The federal government will support improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings.

First, the Government of Canada will provide tools to make new buildings more energy efficient. It is feasible to design buildings that use as much energy as they could produce using renewable energy. These are known as “net-zero energy ready” buildings. Working with the provinces and territories, the federal government will develop a building code that, when adopted by provinces and territories and used by builders, could enable all new buildings to be built “net-zero energy ready” by 2030.

We will also work with the provinces and territories to develop a retrofit code for existing buildings and work towards energy labeling to support retrofits. A code for existing buildings will help guide energy efficiency improvements that can be made when Canadians renovate their homes and buildings. In 2030, 75 percent of Canada’s buildings will be buildings standing today, so we must work to improve their energy efficiency.

Energy use labeling will allow homeowners to increase the value of their homes by showing the improvement in energy performance that results from investing in better insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems.

The federal government will also set advanced efficiency standards for new heating equipment and other appliances, so homeowners save energy and money over time.

The $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund and the government’s green infrastructure investments will support the transformation of our buildings sector. Through these funds, we will work with interested provinces and territories to support their efforts to help homeowners and businesses become more energy efficient.

Finally, we will work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to enhance efficiency and combat climate change as we address the housing challenges in Indigenous communities. Together, we will make new buildings more efficient through improved building standards, while also increasing the efficiency of existing buildings. Indigenous Peoples have also identified the need to incorporate Traditional Knowledge and culture into building designs.

These actions will create good jobs, drive the development of new technologies, save Canadians money and help make homes, businesses and other buildings more comfortable, healthy and environmentally friendly. For Canada to thrive in the clean growth century, we need efficient and resilient buildings.

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