Whether it’s a tiny cabin or a sports arena, the places where people live, work, worship and play require energy. Heating our homes and buildings is the second greatest source of carbon pollution. Reducing or eliminating carbon pollution from buildings saves money for building owners and operators and will be critical for reducing the risks of global warming.
By 2050, the West Kootenay will be home to efficient, renewably powered, high-performance buildings.
The plan includes two strategies to transition our communities’ buildings to 100% Renewable Energy:
- Improving Existing Buildings to make them more energy efficient by a third and transitioning from non-renewable energy sources will save energy and money and eliminate carbon pollution from buildings
- Gradually raising the energy efficiency standard for New Buildings will ensure that new buildings can operate on energy produced with on-site solar collectors
Better Existing Buildings
- Increasing energy efficiency in existing (residential) buildings is the second biggest opportunity for transitioning to renewable energy.
- Better insulation, air sealing, and other efficiencies save money in the long term regardless of what fuel is used (wood, propane, natural gas, electricity).
- Cold-climate heat pumps make electric heat more efficient, less expensive, and cleaner than oil, wood, and even natural gas.
- People with limited resources need the most assistance and gain the most from efficiency improvements.
- Health: Upgrading existing buildings to be more energy efficient can improve indoor and outdoor air quality, which can help prevent related diseases. Lowering the cost of heating and cooling a home can reduce financial stress and increase comfort levels.
- Economy: Less money spent on energy bills means more money for other needs. Short term investments in energy efficiency pay off for many years. Retrofit process creates local employment opportunities.
- Community Resilience: More efficient buildings mean less energy use, especially in abnormally hot or cold years. Less renewable energy used for building heating and cooling means more local renewable energy available for other needs.
Better New Buildings
- BC will mandate several steps of increased modest increases in energy efficiency for all new buildings across the province by 2024 through the Step Code
- BC will
- Local governments have the option to accelerate Step Code adoption, which will start saving energy and pollution sooner.
- High-efficiency new buildings make up for higher construction costs within a relatively short time (3-7 years)
- Home buyers are increasingly sensitive to the energy costs of buildings
Health: More efficient new buildings have better air quality.
Economy: Less money spent on energy bills means more money for other needs. Short term investments in energy efficiency pay off for many years.
Community Resilience: More efficient buildings mean less energy use, especially in abnormally hot or cold years. Buildings that use less energy than they can create means they can generate local renewable energy for other needs.
Making existing buildings more efficient and raising the efficiency standard of new buildings can save about 400,000 tonnes of carbon pollution between now and 2050.