B.C. Building Sector Urges Municipalities to Embrace Carbon Pollution Standards for New Constructions

Prominent figures within the provincial and national construction sector aspire to have British Columbia take the lead in Canada in achieving zero-carbon status for all new buildings.

Vancouver horizon (Photo: Thom Quine via Wikimedia Commons)

Prominent figures in the provincial and national construction industry are advocating for British Columbia to take the lead in Canada by ensuring that all new buildings are zero-carbon.

The Pembina Institute has dispatched a letter endorsed by more than 30 industry stakeholders to mayors and councillors in various local governments throughout British Columbia. The letter urges them to vote in favor of adopting the province’s new voluntary Zero-Carbon Step Code (ZCSC). Notably, the call is not just for adoption but for early adoption, aiming for full implementation by 2025, rather than the previously slated target of 2030. This early adoption strategy is aimed at preventing future costly retrofits by ensuring that new homes and buildings are constructed to zero-carbon standards from the outset.

Local municipalities play a pivotal role in establishing more rigorous building performance standards, and the ZCSC provides a valuable tool for them to align with climate objectives by setting carbon emission standards for all new residential and commercial constructions within their jurisdictions.

The letter boasts signatories from over 30 industry leaders renowned for their expertise in constructing contemporary, energy-efficient buildings and residences in Canada and British Columbia. These signatories include prominent entities such as Bernhardt Contracting, Low Hammond Row Architects, BC Hydro, NAIMA Canada, and Fenestration Canada.

“We have the experience and know-how to build highly energy efficient low- and zero-carbon homes in communities across B.C. As practitioners, professionals and advocates in the buildings sector, we are urging local governments to recognize these capabilities and adopt the highest tier of Zero Carbon Step Code,” reads the letter, which also states that all-electric buildings can be designed and constructed with zero to minimal additional cost.

Upon its adoption, this code would guarantee that newly constructed buildings rely on energy-efficient equipment, such as heat pumps, for heating and cooling, as opposed to conventional furnaces and boilers. Simultaneously, it would establish stringent criteria for insulation and ventilation, leading to substantial emissions reductions. Furthermore, these standards would effectively curtail the energy consumption and expenses associated with maintaining occupant comfort and safety, particularly in the face of escalating extreme weather conditions.

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