Moving forward together A message from Canada Green Building Council president and CEO, Thomas Mueller
This year’s spring Ontario Focus issue is an excellent reminder that we are slowly moving toward better weather and hopefully closer to a new normal. While vaccines bring new hope, there are still many miles to go before we can put the pandemic behind us. Like so many others, our sector continues to reassess and adjust as we navigate these unprecedented times. On a positive note, construction continues unabated in most regions, and climate change remains at the forefront for Canadian policy-makers and, increasingly, business.
Many commercial owners are now looking at how they can transform their portfolios to zero carbon, including Kingsett, which was recently awarded ZCB Standard certification for 40 King St. W. in Toronto.
Over the past year, CaGBC has used the pandemic slow-down to make significant changes. Among other things, we re-invented how we deliver services to our members. We adapted our structure to provide greater market support and more opportunities for engagement across the country.
RAMPING UP BUILDING RETROFIT Last year the Canada Infrastructure Bank announced $2B to finance large-scale retrofits. Financing through CIB has long been a CaGBC recommendation to spark the retrofit economy and put Canada on a decarbonization path. GBCI Canada helps remove investment risks for financing for energy efficiency retrofits through its Investor Confidence Project. With two Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certifications now complete – including Efficiency Capital’s Woodgreen Community Housing projects in Toronto – it is clear that interest will grow in the Arc performance platform and IREE certification.
Recent successes have us feeling optimistic for 2021 and beyond. Over the last few months, many federal announcements have recognized the work we are doing to move the needle forward. Among our focus areas: positioning green buildings as the carbon solution that will help reignite Canada’s economy, create skilled jobs for a low carbon future, and transform Canada’s building sector to provide solutions to the challenges caused by climate change. Now that momentum is turning toward green building as a catalyst for positive change, 2021 will see us double down on three areas critical to Ontario’s recovery. ZERO CARBON AS THE NEW BASELINE Our Zero Carbon Building Standard is gaining momentum with new registrations and certifications. The federal government has bet big on zero carbon in its Greening Government Strategy.
Many municipalities are also moving toward zero carbon buildings. The Toronto Green Standard will include zero carbon as a tool to help the city reach its carbon targets, and cities like Guelph are committing to reach zero carbon by 2050. Zero carbon performance can be achieved with readily available knowledge, skills and technology; however, a proposed increase in carbon pricing will make the argument for zero carbon even more compelling.
WORKFORCE TRANSFORMATION Last year we joined with stakeholders in Ontario to launch Workforce 2030, a broad coalition of organizations representing employers, educators, and workers to help the building sector adopt the skills needed in a low carbon economy. Recent announcements indicate that the federal government is earmarking investment for workforce development. Such moves highlight how critical it is to ensure the workforce has the low-carbon skill sets needed to deliver zero carbon retrofits and new buildings at scale. I believe this issue of Ontario Focus showcases the growing momentum for green, low-carbon building innovation, and that each story demonstrates how together we are making “every building greener.” I hope you will enjoy this issue – I know I have. Yours, Thomas Mueller
SPRING 2021 Ontario FOCUS