Governments simply cannot go it alone and ratcheting up public/private participation will be central to advancing Canada's climate change efforts, realizing the environmental and economic potential of its retrofit economy and meeting built environment greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals.
So suggests the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in its new report, A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada II: Building Strong Market Infrastructure for the Retrofit Economy. A call to action to create a world-leading retrofit economy by 2030, it endorses moving away from government grants and rebates in favour of market-based mechanisms developed through private, public and non-profit collaboration.
The built environment is expected to be a significant contributor to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change goal of reducing GHG emissions by 30% over 2005 levels by 2030. While positive that Canada is seeing wide adoption of green building approaches, practices and technologies for new buildings, less positive is that underinvestment in retrofiting existing building stock is a speed bump that threatens to stall efforts to drive energy and GHG reductions.
“CaGBC’s research demonstrates that national targets can only be reached by reducing the emissions of the millions of square feet of existing institutional, commercial and residential buildings across the country,” the report contends. Correcting that underinvestment demands having a strong retrofit economy in place.
While the United States and Europe are experimenting with new policies and new market-based solutions, no one jurisdiction has identified a definitive roadmap. “Canada has a chance to be the first in the world to put into place the requisite policy and market infrastructure to implement a retrofit economy and reap the environmental and economic advantages,” CaGBC President and CEO Thomas Mueller said.
Among other things, stakeholders can contribute by doing the following:
- private financiers, insurers and other financial intermediaries can lead with “green” underwriting practices and provide project financing approaches for retrofit projects and risk management products that foster building owner/financier confidence in managing risk
- building owners can proactively disclose building energy and carbon performance, and share data on the performance of retrofit projects, to help the retrofit economy evolve.