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A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada

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A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canada: Charting a path forward for large buildings


This report by Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s demonstrates the critical role that existing buildings play in realising Canada’s low carbon future. The document aims to empower government and industry with recommendations that drive uptake in building retrofits, introduce a carbon perspective on building performance, and enable the growth of Canada’s clean economy.


Findings include (among others):


  • Buildings including office buildings, shopping malls, universities, and arenas constructed between 1960 and 1979 across all provinces represent the age class with the largest opportunity for total carbon emissions reductions
  • Alberta and Ontario currently emit the most carbon and therefore have the greatest potential for reducing emissions. This is due to the carbon intensity of Alberta’s electricity grid and the number of large buildings in Ontario.
  • All provinces need to prioritise recommissioning for large buildings (between 25,000 and 200,000 sq.ft) and deep retrofits for older buildings (over 35 years old) in order to meet the target. These two actions will reduce emissions by a collective total of 4.1 MT CO2e, providing 62% of the reduction activity needed.
  • Fuel switching must be completed in 20% of buildings over 35 years old across Canada. Currently, fuel switching is particularly attractive in provinces with clean electricity grids such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. In these regions, significant effort should be put into increasing the adoption of highly efficient heat pump technology. This will reduce emissions by 1.6 MT CO2e, or 25% of the reduction activity needed.
  • In provinces with carbon intense electricity grids, specifically Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, 30% of buildings will need to use renewable energy in order to meet the target. This will reduce emissions by 0.9 MT CO2e, representing 13% of the reduction activity needed.

To download the report, please click on the link below.