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Dear Premier Clark

I read with interest your climate team’s recommendations for a Climate Leadership Plan. They include increasing building code regulations to promote energy efficiency in new homes.

We know the following to be true about new homes. From 1990 to 2006, Canada’s housing area grew by 33.6% while energy use increased by only 4.8%. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from housing actually decreased by 8.1%.

Canada’s housing stock grew more than six times faster than the total amount of energy used in homes. This was prior to the many new building code regulations promoting energy efficiency introduced since 2006.

New housing has been one of the few sectors achieving GHG emission targets agreed to in the Kyoto Accord.

New homes built under the Built Green program, supported by our association, are reasonably energy efficient with 2 to 3 air changes per hour.

On the other hand, a CMHC study revealed older homes are the source of exponentially more GHG’s. Before home 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 major retrofit program such as a Home Renovation Tax Credit would significantly reduce demand for energy and cut GHG’s.

Adding building code regulations to reduce air changes in new homes offers diminishing returns in an already high-performing sector. They also add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost, making homes unaffordable, especially for young families.

I encourage your government to focus its resources on a retrofit program having real impact on climate change, and work with us to promote Built Green for new homes combining energy efficiency with housing affordability in BC.


Maurizio Conforti, President

Victoria Residential Builders Association

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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