OTTAWA — The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is commending the Ontario government for its commitment to the Climate Change Action Plan in the 2017 budget.
The CaGBC views investments in improving building energy efficiency as key to moving toward a low-carbon economy and meeting Ontario's emission reduction targets of 15 per cent by 2020 and 37 per cent by 2030, indicates a release issued by the council.
The 2017 budget provides greater detail on the province's plans to transition to a low-carbon economy, adds the release.
The CaGBC outlined several specific budget investments, including:
$377 million through the Green Ontario Fund to make it easier for households and businesses to adopt low-carbon technologies;
$200 million for schools to improve energy efficiency and install renewable energy technologies;
$85 million to support retrofit activities in social housing apartment buildings; and
$55 million through a Cleantech Equity Fund to invest in clean tech firms.
Investments in clean technology are of particular importance as a new era of innovation in the building sector is required to achieve zero carbon performance, said the CaGBC.
According to the release, there are areas where investment is needed in order to make an immediate impact, beyond the investments earmarked for social housing.
Building retrofits present a massive opportunity to maximize emission reductions while boosting the economy. They have the potential for a solid return on investment due to the significant energy savings they represent, the release states.
Large-scale upgrades to existing buildings will also create jobs, drive the demand for clean innovative technologies and could contribute $32.5 billion in total GDP impacts by 2030 and reduce 19.4-million tonnes of GHG emissions.
"These commitments and recent climate leadership policies by the Ontario government show strong intent toward incentivizing innovation and bolstering a low-carbon economy," said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the CaGBC, in the statement.
"The urgency of climate change demands ambitious and accelerated deployment of solutions that can make a tangible impact now, and in the future."