Ontario targets buildings in climate action plan

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ontario will commit up to $8.3 billion for its five-year climate change action plan, which features 28 key measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will ultimately grow a workforce for the low-carbon buildings sector.

The funds will stem from the province’s recently finalized cap-and-trade program, expected to generate up to $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion per year. Various action areas are targeted in the 85-page plan, from buildings and homes to land use planning.

On the building front, 2017 updates to the Building Code will require net zero carbon emissions for all small buildings built after 2030.

The plan will offer more incentives and tools to help businesses and homeowners install or retrofit clean-energy systems like solar, battery storage and advanced insulation and heat pumps.

Funds will also be allocated for existing schools, hospitals, universities and colleges to install renewable energy technologies and improve energy efficiency. Technology could include building automation systems, energy-efficient windows, solar thermal and geothermal systems.

In addition, Ontario’s Green Button program will be expanded provincewide. This program allows building owners and managers to access and share their data on electricity, water consumption and natural gas in a standardized, secure electronic format.

Actions will also be taken to prioritize climate change in amendments to the Ontario Planning Act and setting green development standards through new bylaws.

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