Dec. 6, 2016
Imagine living in a home so energy efficient that the utility bill could be slashed by up to 80 percent.
That will be the reality for residents of low-carbon, ultra energy efficient buildings, such as The Heights, under construction in Vancouver, British Columbia. The six-story, 85-unit, market-rental apartment project aims to be Canada’s largest building certified to the internationally recognized Passive House standard, reports the Canadian Architect.
Vancouver is poised to implement its new Zero Emissions Building Plan, and the B.C. and federal governments have signaled changes are coming to building and energy efficiency regulations and policies as part of each jurisdiction’s plans to slash carbon pollution. The changes will result in ultra energy efficient buildings becoming the norm by 2030, which will reduce the cost of utility bills for British Columbians.
“In less than 10 years, near-zero emission homes and buildings will be commonplace in Vancouver and elsewhere. Recent government initiatives — including Vancouver’s Zero Emissions Building Plan and B.C.’s climate plan — call for new buildings to achieve near-zero emissions by 2030,” said Karen Tam Wu, director of the buildings and urban solutions program, Pembina Institute. “We expect the federal framework for clean growth and climate change to complement this objective. These forward-looking policies will protect our communities, support job creation, and strengthen our low-carbon economy.”
The Pembina Institute has launched an in-depth report, Accelerating Market Transformation for High-Performance Building Enclosures. It tracks the rapid growth of Passive House buildings, assesses their costs and benefits, and sheds light on how public policy can encourage their adoption.
The report notes the number of Passive House units in North America has quadrupled in the last year, from 500 to more than 2,000 units. A quarter of the units (600) are in Vancouver, making the city a hotbed for the North American expansion of these green buildings that dramatically reduce carbon pollution and energy use, enhance comfort and durability, and boost the clean economy.
“Once projects in development are completed, the number of Passive House units in North America will have quadrupled, and a quarter of these are in Vancouver alone,” said Dylan Heerema, analyst, Pembina Institute. “As industry capacity develops and more builders get on board, we can expect the added cost of building to near-zero emission standards to fall or even disappear. Factor in lower bills for energy and maintenance, and green buildings will increasingly become an affordable housing option.”
To read the report, click here.