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City response to BC Liberal statement on natural gas

April 29 2017

Vancouver City Hall

Today, BC Liberal Candidate Andrew Wilkinson announced that, if elected, his government would bring in an amendment to stop the City of Vancouver from banning natural gas. The City wishes to clarify that it is not banning the use of natural gas in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s rezoning changes align with the provincial government’s introduction of the BC Energy Step Code, as an amendment to the BC Building Code, announced on the morning of April 11, 2017. The government’s changes brought in new energy efficiency codes for buildings in BC, bringing them in line with Vancouver’s codes, which other municipalities can now adopt.

The BC Building Code and Vancouver’s building code rezoning policies have the same outcome – they were both designed to encourage the construction of buildings that are more energy efficient and less polluting.

The City’s new rezoning policy (the Green Building Rezoning Policy which comes into effect May 1, 2017), sets energy efficiency and emissions targets for new buildings only, and only if a developer seeks a rezoning. How a developer meets those targets is up to them; it can involve a mix of better insulation, thicker windows, and better design, as well as opting for renewable energy. Developers can choose to build new buildings with natural gas, provided they can meet the energy efficiency and emissions targets (50 per cent decrease in GHGs).

Vancouver’s policy was adopted by City Council six months ago (November 29, 2016), and was based on industry and provincial staff consultations that began a year before that as part of the City’s Green Building Policy Update.

Attached is a letter of support from the Urban Development Institute (UDI) received by Vancouver City Council when the policy was passed, as well as the email from the BC government announcing the BC Energy Step Code.

Making buildings more efficient is part of Vancouver's work to reduce GHGs, support a world-leading green building sector, and make energy costs more affordable.

The province states that the Vancouver region will need to invest over $10 billion in preparing and adapting to climate change to due to sea level rise and increased storms and droughts. Only by reducing GHGs today can we ensure this number does not increase.