The Green Building Policy G-28 was adopted by Council on December 6, 2022.
Whistler's updated Green Building Policy is an important step toward Whistler's sustainability and climate action goals. The Policy is vital in addressing the climate change emergency and substantially reducing GHG emissions in Whistler. It is a tool available to municipal staff to aid in evaluating development applications through the lens of sustainability and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moving forward, the Green Building Policy may be regularly updated and refined based on experience and to address ever-evolving changes in technology and regulatory conditions.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) established a framework for requiring sustainability and green building measures in new development with the adoption of the previous Green Building Policy G-23 in 2008. Green building and sustainable design practices, technologies, and standards have evolved since 2008. British Columbia has adopted a new approach to energy efficiency in new buildings with the BC Energy Step Code and the provincial Carbon Pollution Standards. Whistler has also 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 Climate Action Implementation Plan. As a result, the 2008 policy was outdated and Whistler's green building requirements for new construction were no longer consistent with leading sustainability practices or the RMOW climate action goals.
The Green Building Policy is a guiding document that provides overall direction with implementation to be pursued through various municipal bylaws and permitting processes in relation to Council’s discretionary approval authorities. The primary tool for implementation is through the rezoning process and registration of development covenants establishing specific green building requirements based on the policy framework. For certain development permit and building permit applications, which are non-discretionary approvals, the Policy seeks completion of the Green Building Policy Checklist as part of the application submission.
The updated Green Building Policy G-28 proposes a flexible, performance-based framework that applies to new construction in buildings under Part 9 (houses and small buildings) and Part 3 (large and complex buildings) of the BC Building Code. The Policy encourages sustainable design approaches to reduce infrastructure demands and costs, environmental impacts, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and long-term building operating costs. The guidelines 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
Each section contains a description of objectives and intent, along with performance-based guidelines that include a mix of criteria, targets, and information submission requirements as considered appropriate to achieve the overall goals and objectives of the Green Building Policy.
The Green Building Policy includes a Green Building Checklist that describes supporting documents and reports that need to be submitted to demonstrate compliance with the Green Building Policy guidelines. The single checklist will provide clear guidance to applicants and streamline the application review process.
All rezoning applications must submit a Green Building Policy Checklist and sustainability narrative summarizing how the project addresses each section of the Policy. Per the RMOW’s practice, green building commitments are secured by covenant as a condition of adoption of the zoning amendment.
Submission of a Green Building Policy Checklist is encouraged for development permit applications involving new multi-family, commercial or industrial development in all Development Permit Areas, and building permit applications for new single-family dwellings over 325 square meters of total floor area. This provides an opportunity for applicants to describe how their proposals align with Whistler’s Green Building Policy and climate action goals. Green building provisions will not be secured through covenant for Development Permit and Building Permit projects as review and approval of these permits is not discretionary.
The updated Green Building Policy reflects significant input from Whistler’s building sectors. Staff developed and carried out two rounds of engagement, involving builders, architects, and designers as well as the municipal Advisory Design Panel.
For more detailed information about the engagement activities that were conducted and informed the development of the policy, please refer to Information Report No. 22-108.