Local governments can reduce emissions from new residential and commercial buildings through building code and development policy that encourages more energy efficient design and the use of low carbon energy.
Improving energy efficiency and switching to low carbon energy systems (e.g., district energy, electric heat pumps, solar, renewable natural gas) can reduce greenhouse gases from buildings. Trees can be used to reduce the energy required to heat and cool buildings.
Actions taken today to reduce building GHG emissions will have a long-term impact because buildings are long-lived assets; many that exist today will still be here in 2050.
Governments, utilities, and building owners need to consider how climate change will impact building design and energy use, and in response, modify policy and planning for energy demand, and building management. Increased risk of flooding due to climate change needs to be considered in the design and siting of new buildings and the retrofit of existing buildings
Local governments can influence building energy efficiency and the use of low carbon energy systems by adopting the BC Energy Step Code. They can also deliver programs that encourage building and home owners to improve energy efficiency and switch to low carbon energy sources.
"When we talk about policies, like the Step Code, we need to talk about benefits for residents; buildings that are energy efficient are also comfortable and have good air quality due to good heat exchange; it’s about framing the policy lens towards individuals."
-- Municipal Staff forum, June 26, 2018
Local government policy and industry leadership has resulted in several buildings in the region achieving net zero certification, meaning these buildings produce as much energy as they use.