Climate investment: Vancouver renews grant for passive house training at BCIT

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      The City of Vancouver will continue to support the training of builders of energy-efficient homes.

      Councillor Adriane Carr calls it an “excellent investment” in the fight against climate change.

      In a council meeting Wednesday (February 13), the Green councillor noted that inefficient buildings account for 59 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

      Council voted to renew a grant to enable the British Columbia Institute of Technology or BCIT to offer training courses at a discount for trades involving passive homes.

      Through the use of better insulation and tighter building envelope, passive homes are energy-efficient structures that do not require furnaces for heating.

      The previous council approved a $95,000 grant to BCIT, matching contributions of companies and trades people working in Vancouver.

      The money went to cover tuition discounts for courses in 2017 and 2018.

      The new $95,000 grant approved by council on February 13 this year will support discounted tuition rates from 2019 to 2021.

      “This training is one piece in a suite of tools that will contribute to Vancouver reaching its goal of zero emissions from new buildings by 2030,” states a staff report to council.

      The Pembina Institute has done a lot of studies regarding energy-efficient buildings.

      In 2016, the think tank released a paper titled ‘Accelerating Market Transformation for High-Performance Building Enclosures State of market, policy developments, and lessons learned from the Passive House movement’.

      “Commercial, institutional, and residential buildings are responsible for about a third of carbon pollution in the U.S., and about a fifth of carbon pollution in Canada, constituting the largest source of emissions in North America,” according to the document.

      The paper also notes that buildings developed to passive house standard have 40 percent to 90 percent less heating energy requirements compared to typical buildings.

      “As the climate warms, passive strategies can be used to reduce cooling loads in conditioned buildings and reduce the risk of overheating in free-running buildings,” the Pembina Institute paper states. “These solutions can play a role in avoiding increased penetration of air-conditioning systems in regions where they historically had not been needed.”