B.C. to spend $1.1 billion to retrofit social housing for safety, energy savings

The British Columbia government says it will invest $1.1 billion over the next decade to make social housing in the province more energy efficient, less polluting, safer and cost efficient.

Premier John Horgan says the $400-million retrofit component of the initiative will focus on increasing the use of cleaner energy in 51,000 units of publicly funded and owned social housing.

The NDP government of British Columbia is investing substantial funds to improve the condition and energy-efficiency of the province's social housing stock, while hopefully also reducing long term energy costs. Photo by Weixi Zeng via Panoramio.
The NDP government of British Columbia is investing substantial funds to improve the condition and energy-efficiency of the province’s social housing stock, while hopefully also reducing long term energy costs. Photo by Weixi Zeng via Panoramio.

Horgan says by retrofitting how those homes are heated, greenhouse gas emissions in some buildings could be cut by 50 per cent and residents would save on their heating bills.

The initiative includes upgrades that would improve building efficiency and reduce energy use, like boiler and electrical upgrades, replacing doors and windows and repairing building envelopes.

Horgan says in addition to building more housing, there’s a need to take better care of the social housing already available.

The Pembina Institute, a clean energy advocate, says in a statements the investment is an affordable and energy efficient way to help some of our most vulnerable people.

“It will also stimulate innovation in the retrofit market, making it easier to upgrade the rest of the housing stock,” says Tom-Pierre Frappe-Seneclauze, director of building and urban solutions at the institute.

“Preparing all of our existing homes and buildings for the clean future will be B.C.’s next megaproject, creating jobs in all communities,” he says.

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