(zero-carbon operations & low embodied carbon materials)
Goal: By 2030, all new buildings achieve the top step in B.C.’s Energy Step Code, use only low carbon heating systems, and embodied carbon emissions drop by 40%.
While buildings that already exist today will be responsible for the vast majority of building sector emissions by 2030, it is still important to build new buildings to a high energy and climate standard. Local governments have greater authority for how new construction is developed. And many newly constructed buildings will still be around far beyond mid-century, when Whistler must be near zero emissions.
Whistler has shown early leadership by requiring highly energy efficient buildings. In 2019, Whistler adopted Energy Step Code level 3 to 4 for Part 93 buildings, higher than most other communities in B.C. and Canada. Moving forward, Whistler must broaden the coverage of Energy Step Code to Part 3 buildings, and set a path to adopt the top step of Energy Step Code by or before 2030, which will reduce energy consumption by approximately 80% below current energy code. While highest efficiency buildings might be initially more costly to build, the return over the building life cycle is positive and can be seen as a step toward addressing housing affordability during the occupancy of the building.
1. Adopt progressively higher steps on the BC Energy Step Code to address new building envelope improvements.
2. Collaborate with the Province on low carbon performance requirements and GHG emission limits for new buildings
3. Incentivize low carbon energy systems within new buildings by using regulatory tools such as allowing for higher density or lower step code
4. Provide financial incentives/rebates for testing air tightness during and after construction
5. Promote capacity building opportunities and develop outreach campaigns for step code and low carbon energy systems for the building industry, home buyers, and realtors
6. Discourage carbon-based heating of outdoor spaces such as patio heaters, fossil fuel burning fire pits, heated driveways, outdoor hot tubs and saunas, etc. through policy and/or permit changes
7. Encourage low carbon design (efficient use of materials and optimized spaces), low carbon material use (e.g. mass timber, lower GHG-intensive cement, recycled materials), and low carbon construction practices (e.g. limited construction site heating) of new buildings.
8. Develop roadmap to require embodied carbon calculations for Part 3 buildings as part of permit submissions
9. Build RMOW staff capacity related to embodied carbon emissions
10. Demonstrate RMOW leadership when it comes to new municipal building construction with the goal to develop guidance and inspiration
11. Streamline the municipal building permit process to minimize administrative burden for property owners, developers and RMOW staff due to the additional GHG related tasks
Climate and Environment