Canada needs a mission-based approach to decarbonize buildings, says Efficiency Canada

A new report outlines how to spark innovative approaches to building retrofits

Solar panels part of an energiesprong retrofit in the Netherlands. Photo by Fabrice Singevin

There is no pathway to achieving Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments that does not include retrofitting Canada’s millions of residential and commercial buildings.

Yet, at the current pace it will take 142 years to retrofit all low-rise residential buildings and 71 years to retrofit all commercial floor area. Current policies are focused on short-term results, and markets are segmented and uncoordinated.

The missing sauce for a booming retrofit market is an innovation-oriented approach, guided by an ambitious mission, according to a new report by Efficiency Canada, a policy advocacy and research organization housed at Carleton University’s Sustainable Energy Research Centre.

The report, titled Canada’s Climate Retrofit Mission, outlines a policy framework focused on triggering economies of scale and innovations to reduce costs, increase speed and enhance value. On-the-ground market development teams will coordinate the upgrading of several buildings at once, and introduce new retrofit models.

The report envisions Canada undertaking a mass retrofit of all buildings within a generation to eliminate fossil fuels, while also freeing up enough clean electricity resources to power 10 million electric vehicles.

“To meet climate goals we need to see increases in scale and decreases in cost for building retrofits that are similar to what we have seen in wind, solar, and battery technologies. A mission-oriented approach focused on transforming the retrofit process can accomplish this,” says author Brendan Haley.

Read the report at www.efficiencycanada.org/canadas-climate-retrofit-mission

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