Strategies for a Low-Carbon Economic Recovery
Almost half the households in Canada have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, catalyzing a severe recession that will be hard to get out of. Typically, infrastructure and building projects create vital jobs that aid recovery, but the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is calling on the Canadian federal government to be selective about what kinds of projects it encourages. If that happens, “the economic recovery this health crisis has precipitated could be the tipping point we need to transition Canada toward a sustainable and low-carbon economy,” says a report from the organization.
The report offers three core recommendations for catalyzing that transition:
- Workforce development should focus on sustainable construction skills and professional development. The report calls for funding existing green training programs (like those offered through CaGBC, Passive House Canada, and other organizations) as well making big investments to create new programs—like a sustainability certificate for construction workers.
- Retrofit investments should include incentive programs for deep energy retrofits through various financing instruments.
- New construction using federal funds should be required to move toward zero-carbon operations, and the federal government should offer grants for both private- and public-sector buildings to help cover the average 8% first-cost premium on low-carbon buildings. A percentage of the grants should be reserved until one year of performance data demonstrates that projects achieved their energy goals.
“As a foundational sector of any economic recovery, the construction industry can be quickly mobilized with shovel-worthy projects that will generate jobs, create healthy places for Canadians to live and work, and help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change,” the report concludes.
For more information:
Canada Green Building Council
Melton, P. (2020, June 19). Strategies for a Low-Carbon Economic Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/strategies-low-carbon-economic-recovery