A coalition of 14 BC building companies and organizations think the BC government’s plan to invest in more efficient homes and commercial buildings as part of CleanBC, it’s new climate plan, will provide a big boost to the building sector.

The CleanBC strategy, released last week, outlines an ambitious suite of measures projected to cut carbon pollution from the built environment by 40 per cent by 2030.

Scott Sinclair, CEO of SES Consulting, says the program is the start of an “existing building revolution.”

“Technology retrofits with ultra efficient lighting, low carbon heating sources, and automated cloud connected controls with data analytics will transform everything,” he said in a press release.

“Decarbonizing will be a byproduct of the renewal of virtually every structure in our society with energy efficiency technology, fuelling job growth, savings, and entrepreneurial opportunity.” 

Through the BC Energy Step Code, the Province is the first in Canada to define a clear path for all new buildings to be net-zero energy ready (ultra energy efficient) by 2032.

The Province is investing in training for BC trades workers and professionals, and in new incentives to upgrade our homes and businesses to make them less polluting, according to Wayne Hand, dean of the School of Construction and the Environment, British Columbia Institute of Technology.

“BCIT’s School of Construction and the Environment supports the needs of industry in advancing the state of practice in sustainable construction through education and trades training. We look forward to working with the Province to advance the CleanBC vision of a zero carbon building sector,” he said.

The climate plan, however, leaves some critical questions unanswered, particularly with respect to preparing our existing homes and buildings for the clean future, according to the non-partisan think tank Pembina Institute.

It’s estimated 70 per cent of buildings standing today will still be in use as of 2050.

“By 2050, we need to eliminate carbon pollution coming from buildings. Between now and then, we will have only one or two can’t-miss opportunities to retrofit each of these buildings,” Pembina said in a release.

“Today, we’re calling for more clarity in Phase 2 of the climate plan, expected next year, on the roadmap for buildings beyond 2030 and all the way to 2050 — particularly concerning electrification, fuel choices, and the role of utilities in this transformation.’

Pembina also called for new financing tools and a sustainable source of public funding, such as green bonds, to avoid the boom and bust of incentive programs.