green buildings

Green buildings can re-ignite Canada’s economy

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has released “Ready, set, grow: How the green building industry can re-ignite Canada’s economy” to offer recommendations for Canada’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

As Canada prepares for an economic recovery, increased spending and investment by the federal government will impact construction and infrastructure projects and CaGBC has provided its industry perspective to key federal ministers.

The document presents guidance on how strategic investment in green building could play a significant role in re-igniting Canada’s economy while also helping to meet climate goals.

To help advance both the goals of climate action and strong economic recovery, CaGBC recommends the federal government prioritize investments in buildings—both public and private.

Recommendations include:

Workforce Development

  • Invest $500 million for workforce development and training to grow Canada’s low-carbon workforce;
  • Allocate up to $1000/employee to access existing low-carbon training programs through existing providers

Retrofit Economy

  • Allocate $50 million to stimulate the development of shovel-ready projects through 0 per cent financing of energy audits (e.g., ASHRAE Level 2 and 3);
  • Allocate $10 billion through the Canada Infrastructure Bank towards a first loss loan reserve allowing qualified lenders to recover 80 per cent of the principal and accrued interest on loans supporting deep retrofit projects in the event of default;

Zero Carbon New Construction

  • Require all federally funded, owned or leased building projects to move towards zero carbon. This requirement would include all newly built, owned, or leased federal buildings as well as the existing building stock, along with municipal corporate investments (i.e. Libraries, firehalls, community centres, etc.);
  • The federal government should grant up to 10 per cent of the development costs for public and private sector buildings to build to low carbon. Funding should be scaled based on the emission reduction potential of the new construction design (at a graduated scale of 75%, 90%, or 100%) and with a portion being granted for actual performance one-year post-occupancy.

According to CaGBC, “the economic recovery this health crisis has precipitated could be the tipping point we need to transition Canada toward a sustainable and low-carbon future.”

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