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New fund to spur energy efficiency upgrades for buildings

February 3 2016

The City’s Building Energy Retrofit Strategy targets the buildings that will most help to reduce these emissions.

Vancouver City Council has approved the creation of a $1 million Building Energy Retrofit Fund to support and expand programs that result in energy efficiency upgrades for buildings. 

The fund will support proven programs and new approaches to engage, support, and provide incentives for building owners to invest in energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings, as outlined in the Building Energy Retrofit Strategy PDF file (6.3 MB) adopted by Council in 2014.

Buildings are responsible for 41% of Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions

The City’s Building Energy Retrofit Strategy targets the buildings that will most help to reduce these emissions. Implementation of the initial programs that the fund aims to support will result in an estimated 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) reduction annually.

The fund will boost energy grants and kickstart energy programs

The first commitment of the fund will be a $150,000 grant to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation for the continuation of the Pre-1940’s and Heritage Home Retrofit Incentive External website. This incentive was launched in September 2015 and is already 100% subscribed. Continuation of this incentive will catalyze homeowner investment in energy efficiency improvements to older homes, reducing their energy use as well as their greenhouse gas emissions while helping to preserve the character of Vancouver neighbourhoods.

The fund will also aim to initially support the following programs.

Home Energy Efficiency Empowerment Program

This new program will support 675 homes in the first two years by engaging homeowners to:

  • Evaluate energy efficiency opportunities
  • Provide coaching to support energy efficiency improvements
  • Take advantage of BC Hydro and Fortis BC Home Energy Rebate Offer (HERO) incentives

Green Landlord Program

Building off of the successful pilot, this program will be expanded to assist owners of apartment buildings and operators of non-market housing to reinvest in their buildings and reduce their energy costs. 

Building energy benchmarking and reporting

This program will develop a shared data management system for benchmarking and reporting of building energy use.

The fund will leverage $8 million in partner funding

The $1 million fund is anticipated to leverage an estimated $8 million in partner funding from Provincial programs, utility incentives, and private investments in energy efficiency in Vancouver.

The fund will help to:

  • Create green jobs
  • Preserve affordable housing stock by investing in older rental buildings
  • Preserve character homes
  • Maximize uptake of utility incentives for energy retrofits

The City has been retrofitting its own facilities

The City of Vancouver is already taking action to retrofit its own facilities for better energy efficiency. Dozens of the City’s largest facilities have already been optimized to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 23% below 2007 levels, despite a 20% growth in facility building square footage.

The new Building Energy Retrofit Fund will also help to support Vancouver’s efforts to:

  • Become the Greenest City by 2020
  • Meet its 33% GHG reduction goal
  • Make significant progress towards becoming a 100% renewable City by 2050

Supporting rapid change in the retrofit sector will also help Canada meet the recently agreed-upon target of ensuring that global warming does not exceed 2 C.