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UDI Response to Zero Emissions Building Plan

July 12, 2016

Today, the Zero Emissions Building Plan (ZEBP) is being presented to council. The ZEBP targets “to reduce emissions from new buildings by 90% as compared to 2007 by 2025 and to achieve zero emissions for all new buildings by 2030 including intermediary time-stepped GHG emission and thermal energy demand targets”.

The Urban Development Institute (UDI) has been working extensively with the City of Vancouver staff on the proposed ZEBP. We are pleased that the City is adopting a stepped approach with standards increasing over time and with changes in the Rezoning policies leading to future updates of the Vancouver Building By-law.

City Staff have outlined critical matters that need to be resolved to achieve what they call “ambitious” and “aggressive” targets.  These high targets are achievable only if the issues noted below are addressed otherwise timeframes will have to be adjusted or affordability may be compromised.

From the industry’s perspective, some of the key matters noted in the ZEBP include: avoiding delays in the development review process, having appropriate catalyst tools for all building types, and having strong outreach and educational programming regarding the ZEBP. For a full list of the key matters please see the Zero Emissions Plan Letter to Council.

In addition to these issues we have a few recommendations such as: that the City reconsider the need for LEED for private sector projects when the Rezoning Policy for Green Buildings is reviewed; managed onsite renewable energy or other technologies be considered as another approach to meet Vancouver’s low carbon goals; existing buildings need to be more of a focus in the future; the stretch code needs to be considered when establishing future targets if it is adopted; and a lengthy transition period for air barrier testing.

The targets being proposed are ambitious, and a lot of work still needs to be done to achieve them. The UDI is very willing to participate in the City’s ongoing consultation processes to meet these important goals.

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