Canadian municipal building stock is in ‘unique position’ to impact country’s climate targets: report

A report by The ReCover Initiative and QUEST Canada provides a tool for the completion of deep retrofits in municipal building stock.

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A recent report from The ReCover Initiative and QUEST Canada, provides a resource for completing deep retrofits in municipal building stock and aims to offer a guide, drawn from advice gathered by experts in the field, to assist municipal staffers in getting this work off the ground in their municipality.

The research for the report, called Getting the Most out of Your Retrofits, began with a jurisdictional scan of Canadian organisations and entities that operate in the municipal energy space, which fed into a literature review (Appendix A). The literature review revealed five key themes. These include the need for linkages between initiatives, holistic building/system approach, government involvement and municipalities opportunities, consideration of benefits beyond financial and data collection.

The report emphasises that incorporating other community priorities into retrofit work will help get everyone’s attention and get local citizens on board. The deep retrofit space is growing, and creating jobs, which is a key avenue to reaching Canada’s net-zero targets. Municipalities can support this work by exploring alternative and new approaches to design and procurement.

“Canadian municipalities are in a unique position to impact Canada’s climate targets,” said Emma Norton, co-researcher and co-writer with Gemma Pinchin of the report.

“Intended for staff of small-to-medium-sized municipalities tasked with significantly reducing energy and emissions,” said Norton, “the research and report offers guidance drawn from advice gathered from experts in the field, to assist municipal staffers in getting deep retrofit work off the ground in their municipality.”

The report was produced with funding from Natural Resources Canada, the Atmospheric Fund, and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, and began with a jurisdictional scan of Canadian organisations and entities that operate in the municipal energy space, research which fed into a literature review.

“A key takeaway from the expert interviews,” said Pinchin, “is the need to include people from across the municipality. Deep retrofit projects should include everybody involved in the facility from the beginning, including a broad project team, and an integrated approach to reduce some of the traditional implementation struggles.”

Ultimately, as climate change continues to put stress on municipalities, the authors of the report agree, deep retrofits offer an opportunity to “consider municipal buildings differently.”

Additionally, because of municipalities’ unique position to impact Canada’s net-zero climate targets, Norton and Pinchin said, “their commitment to enhancing energy efficiency through the deep retrofitting of their building stock is right now, quite simply crucial.”

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