We’ve all heard about the staggering number of building retrofits required to meet B.C.’s 2030 GHG target for the building sector – 59 – 64% less than 2007 levels. But what kind of retrofits are required? Do all single-glazed curtain walls need to be replaced with triple-glazed curtain walls? Do all buildings need to be retrofitted with a thick layer of exterior insulation? This really depends on whether the retrofit prioritizes emissions or energy.
We’re fortunate to have access to a near-zero emission electricity supply in B.C. and this provides a less onerous retrofit strategy – one centred on electrification with a side order of energy conservation measures. This is exactly what Golden Properties did with their office tower located at 1177 West Hastings in downtown Vancouver. They incorporated a decarbonization plan, centred on electrification, into their capital plan, and over the course of approximately ten years, they reduced their emissions by an impressive 70%, all while operating a fully occupied building. This is the kind of retrofit approach that B.C. needs – a studied, holistic and methodical approach of incorporating GHG-reduction measures into a long-range capital plan.
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