VANCOUVER — The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has taken a major step toward achieving Canada’s climate change commitments with the launch of the country’s first Zero Carbon Building Standard.
The standard was formally unveiled at a press conference in Vancouver at the future site of Firehall 17 — a CaGBC pilot project consisting of a 22,600 square foot municipal fire hall that will be upgraded to be a zero carbon building. The standard assesses carbon use in commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings in Canada. In order to achieve large-scale market transformation, it was designed to be broadly applicable for many types of new and existing buildings across the country, states a media release issued by CaGBC May 29. It is also the only program of its kind to make carbon reductions the key indicator for building performance.
The standard's focus on carbon is crucial, as the most important factor in the carbon footprint of a building is often not energy performance, but the carbon intensity of the local electrical grid and the fossil fuels used, adds the release. Recognizing these differences is therefore critical to accurately assessing impacts and guiding investments in energy efficiency, heating technologies, and renewable energy.
"While there is no doubt that Canada's building sector has been dramatically transformed over the last two decades, the time has come to be bolder and more ambitious. The CaGBC's Zero Carbon Building Standard brings focus to carbon emissions reduction, and defines new levels of building performance," says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the CaGBC, in a statement. "This Standard will help the building industry to show leadership in eliminating emissions from buildings and contribute to shaping of Canada's climate future."
According to the release, the Zero Carbon Building Standard is part of a larger CaGBC Zero Carbon Building Initiative that was created to champion the move to lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings in support of Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
It was developed by CaGBC and Integral Group, in extensive consultation with representatives from over 50 industry organizations, utilities, governments and companies across Canada. CaGBC is also working with 16 of Canada's most sustainable projects in the Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program. The participating projects will inform further development of the Standard and accompanying resources and education.