Article Courtesy of Pembina Institute
Heat waves fuel urgency to retrofit homes and buildings.
In late June 2021, the peak, or ridge of a “heat dome” stalled over the Pacific Northwest creating a high-pressure that trapped hot air beneath it and blocked the oncoming jet stream from pushing the weather system on. Poorly insulated homes became “ovens” reaching internal temperatures of over 35C.
VANCOUVER — A new report by the Pembina Institute concludes that a national renovation wave of deep retrofits could generate more than $48 billion in economic development, while creating up to 200,000 jobs and significantly lowering carbon emissions. Home retrofits would also reduce heat wave-related deaths and protect people from other extreme weather events caused by climate change by cooling and better insulating homes.
Canada’s Renovation Wave: A plan for jobs and climate details how a massive public investment of $10 to $15 billion per year is urgently needed for housing infrastructure and $6 billion for non-residential buildings, to protect the climate and Canadians. This investment will pay for itself more than twice over in job creation, GDP growth, and increased tax revenues, the analysis finds.
To put this in perspective, Canadians invested $80 billion in renovations in 2019. Canadian utilities, provinces and the federal government currently provide less than $2.5 billion per year of funding for energy renovations. Canada’s buildings account for 17.5% of Canada’s overall emissions, which includes 12.5% from direct combustion of fuels in buildings and another 5% from the production of electricity used in buildings. Paired with a rapid decarbonization of our electricity grids, retrofits could decarbonize most of Canada’s buildings by 2040.
Retrofits replace fossil fuel heating systems with heat pumps and other technologies to eliminate carbon pollution from buildings, and improve the health of residents.
Article courtesy of Pembina Institute