Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) staff received direction from Council to proceed with an update to the municipality's Green Building Policy in January 2022. Staff developed and carried out two engagement rounds involving builders, architects, and designers as well as the Advisory Design Panel. Preliminary industry and community consultation took place in February 2022. The second round of industry consultation was undertaken in May 2022.
In August 2022, staff presented a draft updated Green Building Policy to Council including the results of the community and industry engagement that have been completed and that have informed the draft Green Building Policy. Following Council review, staff will consider further revisions based on feedback received before returning to present a final Green Building Policy to Council for consideration of adoption.
Since the Green Building Policy was adopted in 2008, green building and sustainable design practices, technologies, and standards have evolved. Whistler has identified updated sustainability and climate action goals and targets captured in the Community Energy and Climate Action Plan, the Official Community Plan, and the Big Moves Strategy, and provincially, British Columbia has adopted a new approach to energy efficiency in new buildings with the introduction of the BC Energy Step Code.
The updated Green Building Policy will advance municipal policy implementation and will align with provincial and municipal guidelines and industry best practices while improving and simplifying the process for applicants. The update focuses on modernizing current guidelines and requirements, at the scale of individual buildings and their sites, to achieve higher sustainability standards as a condition for rezoning applications. It will help staff and council evaluate rezoning and development applications through a sustainability lens.
What is changing?
With Whistler's adoption of the BC Energy Step Code, the building emissions and energy component of the current Green Building Policy will be implemented through the municipality's Building Bylaw. The scope of the Green Building Policy will be revised to reflect this change and the updated policy will provide a holistic approach to sustainability and green building priorities focusing on water conservation, construction and demolition waste reduction, increasing the use of locally sourced and low-emitting building materials and finishes, and ecosystem/site protection.
Scope of Policy
This policy addresses new construction at the scale of individual buildings and sites. it establishes performance targets and guidelines for new construction in buildings under Part 9 (houses and small buildings) and Part 3 large and complex buildings) of the BC Building Code. the guidelines and requirements are grouped thematically and organized in six sections:
- Energy and Emissions
- Building Materials
- Sustainable Site Design
- Green Mobility
- Water Conservation and Rainwater Management
- Solid Waste
Considering that the RMOW's most significant opportunity to require specific commitments in respect of sustainability features is through its discretionary authority to enact and amend zoning bylaws, the policy focuses on establishing guidelines and requirements to achieve higher sustainability standards as a condition for rezoning applications.
Renovation and expansions to existing buildings that do not trigger a rezoning are encouraged to implement relevant sections of the policy where possible.
The first round of engagement with industry, key stakeholders, and the community happened in February 2022. This first sector-specific workshop was used to identify opportunities and constraints and the feasibility of proposed targets, metrics, strategies, and requirements. This input informed refinements to the policy.
Key stakeholders have been approached to share thoughts on the proposed approach and guidelines. Stakeholders that have been targeted for engagement include:
- Members of the construction and development industry; and
- Relevant non-profit organizations.
Following the preliminary consultation in February, staff has prepared a draft update to the Green Building Policy. To refine this policy further, a second round of industry and community consultation was undertaken in May 2022. Participants were asked to review the draft policy and provide feedback on the scope, objectives, areas of focus, and targets and metrics.
Stakeholder engagement was conducted simultaneously on the Green Building Policy and Demolition Waste Diversion Bylaw because of the interconnectedness of the two projects. All feedback received will be reviewed and incorporated into the final policy and bylaw as appropriate.
- Council Direction to Proceed - January 2022
- 1st Stakeholder & Community Engagement - February 2022
- Benchmark & Develop Policy Objectives - March-April 2022
- 2nd Stakeholder & Community Engagement - May 2022
- Draft Green Building Policy - August 2022
- Final Green Building Policy - September 2022