Skip to content

Metro, Delta aiming for buildings in GHG targets

The regional district says swiftly adopting and implementing Metro’s proposed ‘Big Moves’ can significantly accelerate progress toward the regional GHG reduction targets
According to the City of Delta, approximately 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the city are a result of energy used in buildings. Sandor Gyarmati photo

Metro Vancouver wants to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large buildings, a goal the City of Delta is also hoping to achieve.

A recent staff report to the regional district’s Climate Action Committee outlined the next steps in a series of “big moves” to meet Metro’s Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050 strategy, including, among other initiatives, developing and adopting a regional GHG emission regulation for existing large buildings.

“Buildings are the second-largest source of regional GHG emissions, yet there are no regionally applicable regulations for reducing emissions from existing buildings. Of the total approximately 450,000 buildings in the region, two-thirds will still be in use in 2050. Upgrading buildings can reduce health-harming air contaminants, reduce over-heating in summer, and create safer, more comfortable spaces that cost less to heat and cool,” the report notes.

The Climate 2050 Buildings Roadmap would propose a regulation to reduce GHG from existing large buildings that would be implemented through the Metro board’s adoption.

“Affordability is being addressed by focusing on the largest, professionally-managed retail and office buildings first, and providing support and resources for building owners and managers, including the Retrofit Accelerator, a partnership with the Zero Emissions Innovation Centre. Retrofits can also provide a return on investment through energy savings and health benefits. The proposed regulation would complement pending federal and provincial regulations and programs, as well as a bylaw recently enacted by the City of Vancouver, and establish a regionally consistent approach,” the report adds.

The report also notes that, according to preliminary analysis, full and rapidly-scaled implementation of a comprehensive regulation for existing large buildings could reduce the sector’s emissions by approximately six per cent (85,000 tonnes per year) by 2030, and by 21 per cent (approximately 300,000 tonnes per year) by 2050.

The City of Delta, meanwhile, is currently working on updating its Community Energy and Emissions Plan. The plan, among other things, will help identify priorities for the most appropriate and effective climate action decisions for the city and community.

The plan is to include revised targets for energy-efficient and low-carbon new buildings as well as retrofitting existing city buildings, making them more energy efficient with low-carbon heating systems.

The last round of engagement asked residents’ input on their views on such “big moves”.

A previous staff report also notes that many successful retrofits of Delta’s buildings and measures implemented over the years within the city’s fleet resulted in the achievement of a 20 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels.

However, more needs to be done to continue to improve energy efficiency and further reduce GHGs within Delta’s facilities, the report notes.

The city planned to undertake feasibility studies on several existing municipal facilities including the South Delta Recreation Centre, Ladner Leisure Centre, Sungod Recreation Centre, North Delta Recreation Centre and Tilbury Arena.

According to the city, approximately 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Delta are a result of energy used in buildings. To take action on climate change and help Delta reach its greenhouse gas reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030 from 2007 levels and net zero emissions by 2050, buildings will need to be more energy efficient and built differently.

The B.C. government last announced changes to the province’s building code to ensure cleaner, more efficient buildings.

The province said that effective May 1, 2023, the BC Building Code will require 20 per cent better energy efficiency for most new buildings throughout the province.