23,200 jobs are already associated with green building in British Columbia, and that number is growing. With a few simple policies, we can accelerate the number of jobs in the green building industry, tackle climate change and save money.
Retrofitting existing buildings will be key to meeting climate commitments and growing the green economy. A mixture of financing options, grants and rate incentives would allow for residential, business and industrial buildings to get more efficient. On-bill financing can allow for retrofits to be paid off over time, limiting the all-at-once financial impact, and encouraging owners to make larger investments, with grants underwriting particularly effective projects. Rate discounts for significant conservation would encourage more owners to invest in retrofits. These mechanisms will also enhance training and apprenticeship opportunities for workers in green trades, and provide steady work for those who already have experience.
We need to move to a net-zero requirement for new buildings by 2027. Government should lead the way by requiring new government buildings are built to net-zero. This would build a pool of workers and builders who are experienced with net-zero building, allow for different types of building approaches to be tested and measured in the real world, and put our government in a leading position on green building in British Columbia. A key part of this will be to invest in training for the workers who will build the next generation of buildings.
Some communities want to move faster than net zero in 2027. For these communities, the province should add a “stretch” building code that local governments can opt into.