Content courtesy of Pembina Institute
Retrofits and extreme weather adaptation need to be part of Canada’s climate strategy.
Retrofits play a role in not only decarbonizing buildings, but adapting them for increasingly extreme weather, including the process of installing high-performance windows to existing buildings so that energy consumption and emissions are reduced.
In order to ensure the climate-resilience of Canada’s privately owned homes and buildings, they need to be explicitly included in the National Adaptation Strategy.
The first iteration of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, released in November 2022, outlines a plan for more climate resilient infrastructure, communities, economy and workers. It includes funding for public buildings and maintaining more resilient public infrastructure like roads, bridges and sewers. All important components of adapting our communities to withstand increasingly more extreme weather.
But missing in this plan are strategies to adapt the buildings where Canadians spend 90 per cent of their time from extreme, heat, cold, flooding and forest fires.
Canada’s Green Buildings Strategy is being developed to chart a buildings decarbonization pathway that includes homes and buildings. And while making them climate-resilient is part of this strategy, it is not the primary priority. By not explicitly addressing market housing and buildings in the National Adaptation Strategy, it misses the opportunity to ensure holistic integration of strategies to adapt the places where Canadians live, work and play.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, extreme weather events in 2021 were the worst Canadians have endured in the 26 years the agency has been reporting Canada’s top 10 weather events. The events of 2021 cost Canadians and the economy billions of dollars.
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