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Achieving Affordable Energy Efficiency

Here are some key points for BC’s Climate Leadership discussion.

New housing is an outstanding performer in energy efficiency and one of the few sectors to achieve GHG emission targets agreed to in the Kyoto Accord.

A CMHC study revealed older homes are the source of exponentially more GHG’s.

Before renovations, there were between 10.6 and 43.8 air changes per hour. After renovations, these were reduced to 3.5 to 7.8 per hour. The annual savings to homeowners were between $1,460 and $1,813.

A Home Renovation Tax Credit would reduce demand for energy and cut GHG’s.

BC’s greatest challenge for new homes is affordability, not energy efficiency.

Five years ago a higher standard of energy efficiency – Energuide80 – was suggested for BC’s Building Code, but the costs were too high for average homebuyers.

Today, without mandatory regulation, builders working with programs like Built Green have achieved market acceptance and affordability for Energuide80.

Some climate action groups prefer to implement regulations first, regardless of affordability.

However, affordability must be the #1 priority in BC, the nation’s most expensive housing market.

If GHG reduction is the goal, retrofits to older homes have the most impact.

For new homes, Energuide80 is now achievable provided:

  1. Municipalities contribute to affordability by increasing zoning density and reduce permit fees, DCC’s, etc.
  2. Periodic reviews (5 years) are initiated confirming market acceptance and affordability prior to increases beyond Energuide80.

The above is the most effective way to achieve affordable, energy efficient homes and reduce GHG’s.

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This column appears in Wednesday’s Times Colonist.

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