Annex: Homes and buildings
Canada has over 15 million residential buildings and over 480,000 commercial and institutional buildings, including offices, retail and warehouses. Canada’s homes and buildings account for 13% of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, due to the combustion of fossil fuels for space and water heating; electricity use for cooling, lighting and appliances brings the total to 18%. The buildings sector includes varied businesses, many of which are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), including home and building construction, high-efficiency equipment and appliance manufacturing, sale and installation, and management of energy use. The buildings material industry has annual revenues of $46 billion, directly employing over 135,000 Canadians across the country. Over 39,000 companies employ more than 285,000 Canadians to conduct energy efficiency-related work in the construction industry (e.g. installation, contracting), and nearly 5,500 companies offer building services such as energy management, energy auditing, recommissioning, engineering and architecture. Investing in energy efficiency and fuel switching in Canada’s building stock now will result in immediate benefits and will help set the stage for a resilient buildings sector composed of net-zero carbon buildings powered by clean electricity, and more green jobs. Continued support for innovation will provide an important complement to building codes, to ensure that energy efficient technologies continue to reduce costs and emissions. This includes ongoing work related to embodied carbon to help bring the buildings sector toward net-zero emissions.
Key measures to date
- Published world-leading standards to improve the efficiency of fossil-fuel burning space and water heating equipment.
- Developing increasingly stringent model building codes, so that new buildings will use up to 60% less energy than those built under today’s codes, and a model “retrofit” code to drive efficiency improvements in the existing building stock.
- Providing up to $247 million to provinces and territories to support 21 energy retrofit programs for homes and buildings, through the Low Carbon Economy Fund.
- Provided $1.01 billion to the Green Municipal Fund, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to support increased energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and multi-unit buildings.
- Financing 12 RD&D projects including net-zero energy ready new construction, innovative deep energy retrofits, and national tools to accelerate highly energy efficient construction.
- Investing $2 billion to support large-scale building retrofits through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
- Established stringent targets for Government of Canada buildings as part of the updated greening government strategy.
- In July 2020, Canada joined the global Three Percent Club, an international coalition of governments, businesses, and other organizations, committed to working together to help drive an annual three percent improvement in energy efficiency.
- More than 30% of Canada’s commercial and institutional building floor space (over 25,000 properties) are captured in the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool.
- Nearly 60 provincial, territorial, municipal, utility, and industry partners use the EnerGuide Rating System for residential energy efficiency programs.
- The EcoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program has helped 640,000 homeowners save over $400 million on their annual energy bills.
- Over 10,000 new homes have been labelled with EnerGuide, ENERGY STAR® for New Homes or R-2000, saving 20-50% more energy than typical new home.
A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy contains new measures for the buildings sector
- Providing $2.6 billion over seven years, starting in 2020-21, to help homeowners improve their home energy efficiency by providing up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy-efficient improvements to their homes, up to one million free EnerGuide energy assessments, and support to recruit and train EnerGuide energy auditors to meet increased demand.
- Investing $1.5 billion over three years for green and inclusive community buildings through retrofits, repairs, upgrades and new builds, which would support good jobs and local economic growth, contribute to climate objectives and serve disadvantaged populations.
- Requiring that at least 10% of this $1.5 billion in funding be allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.
- Conducting Canada’s first-ever national infrastructure assessment, starting in 2021, to help identify needs and priorities in the built environment, and undertake long-term planning towards a net-zero emissions future.
- Continuing to work with and build on successful provincial and territorial low-income retrofit programs, to increase the number of low-income households that benefit from energy retrofits.
- Outlining details of a low-cost loan program that integrates and builds on available energy audits and grants, and which can be easily accessed by Canadians.
- Working with provincial and territorial partners and with industry to advance technology and uptake of the next generation of low emission, high-efficiency space and water heating equipment and windows, building on the Market Transformation Roadmap.
- Working with the building materials sector and other stakeholders to develop a robust, low-emissions building materials supply chain to ensure Canadian, locally-sourced products are available, including low-carbon cement, energy efficient windows and insulation.
- Continuing to work with provincial and territorial governments to develop a new model “retrofit” code for existing buildings by 2022, with the goal of collaborating with provinces and territories to have this code in place by 2025.
- Accelerating work with provincial and territorial governments to develop and adopt increasingly stringent model building codes, with the ultimate goal of a net-zero energy ready model building code by 2030.
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