Climate change could mean warmer homes, and lower winter heating costs.
In Vancouver, a warmer climate with more frequent extreme events and rainfall will have implications as to how much we heat, cool and protect our homes.
Warmer winters may result in less heating needs for our homes. Warmer summers may increase how much cooling we need. Incorporating green surfaces, vegetation and trees can help keep homes and neighbourhoods cooler while helping infiltrate anticipated heavy rains.
We are continuing to work on guidelines for homeowners and developers to ensure homes are resilient to the changing climate.
What we're expecting
Urban Heat Island Effect
Rising temperatures contribute to the “Urban Heat Island Effect” - where dense urban areas with more impervious surfaces like concrete and tall buildings are hotter than surrounding areas. These areas are hotter because materials like concrete soak up and retain heat unlike trees, soil and other permeable surfaces.
Actions: how we're responding to changing heating and cooling needs
- Our Climate Change Adaptation Strategy outlines how we are continuing to include climate change adaptation measures in the Vancouver Building Bylaw (VBBL) and zoning regulations
- In 2014, we updated the Building Bylaw to include floodplain standards and requirements for floodplain areas
- As sea levels rise, we are protecting future developments and making them more flood resistant.
- We support Certified Passive House standards in new homes to reduce the need for mechanical systems for heating, ventilation and cooling and increases the use of energy from naturally occurring phenomena.
- Passive House buildings can be designed to deal with increasing solar heat.
- Passive Houses have lower carbon footprints, reducing their contribution to climate change.
- Passive House buildings address overheating, which may become a problem as temperatures rise.
- We amended the Zoning and Development Bylaw in the RS-1 District Schedule and developed Passive House Guidelines for RS-1
- We are committed to expanding renewable energy systems across the city through neighborhood energy systems that provide heat to homes more efficiently and with a lower carbon footprint than natural gas.
What you can do
- Have a backflow check valve installed on your sewer connection to prevent sewer backflow during flooding and clean it regularly. This helps reduce home flooding during a storm event.
- Clean your ventilation system. A clean ventilation system delivers better quality air, improves comfort and reduces the energy needed to deliver heat.
- Flooding may become more common with climate change, so read a handbook on reducing basement flooding.
- If you have a Heat Recovery Ventilator or furnace, clean the filters annually to maintain its efficiency and keep indoor air clean for your health.
- If you live in an older home with no insulation, have cellulose insulation blown in to walls and the attic. Insulation prevents heat loss, improves comfort, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.