2.1.3 Buildings

Most of today’s housing stock will still be standing in 2040, the date we target to have achieved an 85% overall reduction in Canada’s carbon emissions, so retrofitting Canada’s existing stock of buildings for energy conservation is critical.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Develop a national energy retrofit standard designed for a post-carbon economy that will reduce energy use in existing buildings by an average of at least 80% below that of 2009 average structures;

  • Develop timelines and targets for raising existing building stock to the new standard with the goal of retrofitting 100% of Canada’s buildings to a high level of energy efficiency by 2030;

  • Promote the adoption of this high efficiency standard by:

  1. Restore the EcoENERGY program and provide revolving federal loans for retrofits to homeowners, as well as create cooperative programs with other orders of government, aimed at retrofitting the majority of homes across Canada in the coming decade;

  2. Dedicate $250 million/year for five years for a low-income retrofit grant program (propose 50% cost sharing with provinces aiming to retrofit 50,000 homes/year, assuming an average cost of $10,000/home);

  3. Funding a nation-wide program to upgrade all low-income rental housing on a phased year-by-year basis to be completed by 2030, as Germany is doing;

  4. Identifying the barriers to sustainable energy retrofits and eliminating them;

  5. Providing refundable tax credits for all energy retrofit costs, based on before-and-after EnerGuide or infrared heat tests for residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings;

  6. Promoting tax-deductible Green Mortgages for homeowner energy retrofit costs;

  7. Introducing a national program of energy retrofits to public sector buildings such as universities, schools, museums, and hospitals;

  8. Establishing a 100% Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for all businesses for energy retrofit costs;

  9. Providing revolving federal loans for residential or business energy retrofits;

  10. Instituting mandatory energy audits of buildings that become available for sale and requiring that the audit results be made available.

  • Work with provinces and territories to develop and implement within two years, and update annually after that, a new national building code that:

  1. Reduces overall energy demand to 15% of current conventional structures;

  2. Minimizes the use of fossil fuel based heating and cooling systems;

  3. Considers the embodied energy of construction materials;

  4. Results in structures, where possible, that produce more energy than they consume;

  5. Promotes structures that harvest, reuse, and purify their own water;

  6. Is performance-based, opening the way to innovation and unlocking barriers to green design;

  7. Require mandatory installation of solar hot water systems and pre-wiring for solar PV on all new buildings;

  8. Provide grants of 50% of the cost of solar thermal roofs or walls including solar hot water, as in Sweden;

  9. Promote Green Mortgage loans for the remainder of the cost;

  10. Establish free energy audits;

  11. Provide GST credits for all materials used in buildings that are LEED® Silver or better.