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Warmer, quieter, and more comfortable homes

February 3 2017 City looking to update energy efficiency requirements for new buildings six storeys and under

Apartment building

We  will be seeking approval from Council next week to update the Vancouver Building Bylaw with better energy efficiency requirements for new low-rise buildings six storeys and under including townhomes.

Changes to the Vancouver Building Bylaw

If approved, these changes will match the existing requirements for single family homes and focus on:

  • Better insulation
  • Improved heat recovery
  • Efficient heating equipment which have delivered a 48% reduction in greenhouse gases while improving health and comfort and lowering monthly costs in 1&2 family houses

These changes will also mean a more streamlined process for developers and builders.

Natural gas can still be used

Builders and developers can still use natural gas in these new homes. These updates allow builders to continue to install gas appliances such as:

  • Fireplaces
  • Cooking ranges
  • Furnaces
  • Domestic hot water
  • Laundry dryers

High efficiency models will be required to save residents money.  

Largest multi-family passive house being built

Doug Wilson, President of Peak Construction Group is currently building what will be Canada’s largest multi-family passive house when completed.

The Heights   is an 85 unit rental building in Vancouver that is expected to be completed later this year. A super insulated passive house building or a building built to these new building codes will not affect rental or sale rates of suites.  Rental and sale prices are set by the market and not the cost of construction.  “These units won’t be any more expensive to rent for future occupants," said Doug. "But they’ll get to live in one of the highest quality and most comfortable homes whiles saving money on their monthly energy bills.”

Benefits of energy efficient measures

Better energy efficiency measures built right into the buildings from day one mean residents will automatically be using less energy and saving approximately $10 a month on their energy bills without having to change their daily habits. As a result, Vancouver residents will save more than $2.8 million over five years due to lower utility costs.  

Other benefits for residents include healthier homes with fresh air directly supplied to the bedrooms and living rooms making them more comfortable.  As well, better insulated walls and windows will mean quieter, more relaxing homes. 

These updates will reduce GHG emissions by 55% and reduce energy use by over 40% in new multi-family residential buildings.

Zero Emissions Building plan

These bylaw changes are part of our Zero Emissions Building plan – an action plan that lays out a phased approach to reduce carbon pollution in Vancouver and was adopted by City Council last year.  The plan establishes specific targets and actions to achieve zero emissions in all new buildings by 2030.

Have questions about these changes or the Zero Emissions Building Plan?

Matt Horne, our new climate policy manager will be hosting a live Reddit Ask Me Anything  on:

  • Monday, February 6, 2017
  • Between 12noon -1:00pm

Matt comes to us from the Pembina Institute and one of his many tasks will be overseeing our Renewable City Strategy, which commits Vancouver to deriving 100% of its energy from renewable sources before 2050.