Pembina Institute says reducing pollution from existing buildings is “essential” to meeting climate goals in Canada

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Today Pembina Institute and The Atmospheric Fund released a paper highlighting how Canada’s existing buildings hold the key to meeting climate targets.

In a press release they say governments at all levels in Canada are moving toward requiring new homes and buildings to be constructed to low-carbon by 2030, however, Pembina says not enough is being done to reduce emissions for current buildings.

They say Canada currently lacks a strategy to achieve significant reductions in carbon pollution from existing buildings.

Karen Tam Wu, director of the Buildings and Urban Solutions Program at Pembina Institue, says it is “essential” for governments to work together to solve this issue.

“Significantly reducing carbon pollution from our existing buildings is essential to making good on Canada’s climate commitments. We need the federal and provincial governments to work together to set out a clear and ambitious pathway to deep emissions reductions in the existing building stock.”

For every $1 million invested in energy efficiency, Pembina says it will result in $3-4 million in economic growth.

If energy was reduced through building codes, they say it would result in reduced operating costs for homeowners due to lower energy or maintenance costs.

Bryan Purcell, director of policy and programs at The Atmospheric Fund, says emission goals are needed for current buildings.

“While the federal government has set economy-wide emissions targets, it has yet to define the carbon reductions expected from each sector, including the building sector. Establishing targets for Canada’s existing building stock is needed to guide a comprehensive retrofit strategy for Canada — one that includes the development of stronger building codes and regulations.”

According to Pembina Institute, energy use in buildings is currently accounting for nearly a quarter of Canada’s carbon pollution.

The full paper, which is called Energy Regulations for Existing Buildings, can be found here.