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Modelling High‐Impact Local Government Measures to Reduce Energy Use and GHG Emissions for New and Existing Buildings in BC’s Lower Mainland


Community Energy Association

Publication Date: June, 2010

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This study is an essential element in the 15‐month Build to Zero initiative that is designed to help local governments in BC’s Lower Mainland prepare selected policies and strategies to a near‐state‐of readiness for implementation. Build to Zero supports local governments in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, through a regional and sub‐regional approach, to mitigate climate change by implementing high‐impact bylaws and policies that encourage the creation of low‐energy buildings. This initiative encompasses both new and existing buildings. While this initiative is envisioned as potentially being replicated in other regions of BC, its initial phase focuses on 34 local governments within the Lower Mainland.

Build to Zero has the following objectives:

  • Increase local government capacity to develop and implement municipal bylaws, policies and
  • practices that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in new and existing buildings.
  • Set the framework for a collaborative approach to encourage low‐emission buildings throughout the
  • Lower Mainland of British Columbia (31 municipalities and three regional districts).
  • Support local governments in overcoming existing barriers to action on high‐performance buildings.

This report deals primarily with the potential impact of key policy measures available to BC local governments. However, technical approaches, such as emissions inventories and modelling, are required to provide important feedback to the local government workings groups as they seek to understand the potential impact of various Build to Zero actions. As such, Section 4 of this report provides detail on proposed GHG emission reduction modelling approaches for four high‐potential measures. These measures are deemed suitable for modelling GHG emission reductions based upon strong local government interest as well as the potential to make a difference over a short period of time. For each of these measures, a methodology for estimating the magnitude of GHG emission reductions has been proposed.

Existing Buildings ‐ Financial Incentives and Program Funding

  1. Explore use of energy retrofit financing mechanisms such as local improvement charges and service area bylaws to foster retrofits in single family dwellings and to foster district energy at the neighbourhood scale.
  2. Identify and promote retrofit financing mechanisms for Multi‐Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs).

New Buildings – Improved Regulatory Approaches

  1. Improve enforcement of the BC Building Code by ensuring that existing energy related standards within the building code are achieved.
  2. Working with the Province of BC, develop model bylaws requiring solar ready and district energy ready homes.

A methodology for estimating the magnitude of GHG emission reductions possible from each of these measures has been proposed, and a thorough review of existing modelling tools in BC is provided. Models reviewed in this report include:

Name of Modelling Tool (if any) Proponent
CEEP-Lite BC Hydro (with Community Energy Association)
No formal name HB Lanarc (now HB Lanarc - Golder)
CIMS and GEEM (known by their acronyms) MK Jaccard and Associates (MKJA)
Spatial Community Energy Carbon and Cost Characterization (SCEC3) model Natural Resources Canada
SHIFT Accelerator Developed through a collaborative effort by a variety of BC organizations and independent professionals with an interest in energy sustainability and climate action
Community Energy and Emissions Model (CE2) Stantec (formerly the Sheltair Group)
No formal name Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG)
No formal name University of British Columbia (UBC)


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