Canada releases a framework for Net Zero Energy refurbishments

05 October 2017

Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC) has announced the release of foundational research for large-scale Net Zero Energy refurbishments in collaboration with Energiesprong International. The research examines models for industrialized manufacturing processes and financial conditions to provide Canada’s social housing sector with a long-term, self-financing opportunity to elevate and maintain the building stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency.

The process integrates building level solar photovoltaic electricity generation to drastically reduce energy and lifecycle operating costs. Utility bill savings serve as an investment mechanism to offset the capital cost for the retrofit, providing a cash flow neutral solution to deeply refurbish the building stock.

10.000 jobs

The report also examines technical and policy issues for achieving market transformation for a sector in need of innovative approaches. The report notes that government investment is critical to create early market momentum and economies of scale in production, which in turn drives the price of participation down. The investment not only brings low energy outcomes to the sector; it also generates local solutions and local jobs. SBC estimates that up to 10,000 new jobs might be created through an initial deployment of 5,000 units.

SBC consulted major housing providers

The report notes that Ontario’s carbon pricing mechanism (Cap and Trade) managed by the Ontario Green Bank is an ideal funding partner. SBC consulted with major housing providers in Ontario to better understand how the Energiesprong model could address their challenges. Margie Carlson, Deputy Executive Director of the Ontario Nonprofit Housing Association notes, “ONPHA supports the efforts of SBC and their partners in their proposal to adapt the Energiesprong approach to Ontario. As an early proponent, ONPHA has been engaged in the initial outreach, research, and the workshops and recommends that governments at all levels adopt the recommendations of the summary report.”

Canada: a very realistic opportunity for Net Zero Energy housing

“This report shows that Canada has a very realistic opportunity to implement such a model and to transform its affordable housing stock, future proofing it against uncertain energy prices and creating comfortable, modern spaces for residents”, notes Jasper Van den Munckhof, Director with Energiesprong International. “SBC has demonstrated to Energiesprong the viability of such a model in Canada and we are delighted to support them in this effort.” SBC is currently presenting these findings to federal and Ontario government representatives and encourages industry stakeholders to join the network of professionals who see the benefits of this opportunity and want to help.

About Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC)

Since its inception in 2002, SBC has educated, supported, and empowered building professionals and policy makers across Canada. SBC’s acclaimed Design Charrettes showcase architectural and operational principles and help transform the building industry to achieve higher levels of environmental performance. Since 2005, SBC has hosted the annual Green Building Festival, Canada’s most comprehensive conference on green building design, operations, technologies, and materials. Along with its members and partner organizations, SBC furthers sustainable building practices by increasing coherence among fragmented industry activities and linking green commercial buildings and houses to green communities.

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One of the projects examined was a four unit, two storey attached townhouse block owned by Toronto Community Housing Corporation.


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