National Yards buidling

Renewable buildings

Our strategy is to target building energy—primarily in space heating and hot water use.

Buildings are the largest source of emissions in Vancouver—56% of the city’s total emissions in 2014.

The majority of non-renewable energy used in Vancouver buildings is used to produce heat—typically through burning natural gas. A zero-emission building emits no greenhouse gases form the energy it uses.

Our strategy is to target building energy use—mainly for space heating and hot water—to have the largest carbon reduction impact.

Imagine a city where homes and offices have clean and comfortable environments, are less expensive to heat and cool, and use only renewable sources of energy.   


Renewable energy options for buildings

Energy Sources Chart

Reducing building energy needs by 2050

By reducing demand, increasing renewable energy use, and increasing renewable energy supply, we can meet Vancouver's building energy needs in 2050.

Parts of a building we will target

We are targeting a building's envelope and building systems as areas where a building's energy can be reduced.

How we can influence a reduction in building emissions

We can influence the reduction in building emissions through the following methods.


Require new buildings to emit zero emissions

Require older buildings to implement zero emission retrofits

Expand existing neighbourhood renewable energy systems

Transition industrial facilities to renewable energy

Develop on-site renewable energy generation

Increase renewable grid electricity supply

Zero-emission building priorities

Short-term actions that we will implement to reduce building energy.

B.1 - New buildings to be zero-emission by 2030

B.2 - Retrofit existing buildings to perform like new construction

In 2014, Vancouver City Council approved the Building Retrofit Strategy that is now being implemented and enhanced.

B.3 - Expand existing and develop new Neighbourhood Renewable Energy Systems

In 2012, Vancouver City Council approved the Neighbourhood Energy Strategy and Energy Centre Guidelines that are now being used to guide the development of neighbourhood renewable energy systems in the city.

B.4 - Ensure grid supplied electricity is 100% renewable

Initiatives that are helping us reach our goal and targets

Zero Emissions Building Plan

This plan will eliminate emissions from new buildings by 2030 through energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is the next step to advance the Renewable City Strategy.

Building Retrofit Strategy - 2014

Learn how we plan to save Vancouver residents and businesses over $90 million and 160,000 tonnes of GHGs per year by 2020.

Neighbourhood Energy Strategy

The Neighbourhood Energy Strategy will help develop additional neighbourhood energy systems throughout Vancouver.

Renewable energy options for buildings