Report: Canada needs a mission-based approach to decarbonize our buildings

A new report outlines how to spark innovative approaches to building retrofits

June 23, 2021

News | PR-Buildings | PR-FedPolicy | Press Releases

June 23, 2021 (OTTAWA, ON) — There is no pathway to achieving Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments that does not include retrofitting Canada’s millions of residential and commercial buildings. 

Yet, at the current pace it will take 142 years to retrofit all low-rise residential buildings and 71 years to retrofit all commercial floor area. Current policies are focused on short-term results, and markets are segmented and uncoordinated.

The missing sauce for a booming retrofit market is an innovation-oriented approach, guided by an ambitious mission, according to a new report by Efficiency Canada, a policy advocacy and research organization at Carleton University. 

The report titled “Canada’s Climate Retrofit Mission” outlines a policy framework focused on triggering economies of scale and innovations to reduce costs, increase speed and enhance value. On-the-ground market development teams will coordinate the upgrading of several buildings at once, and introduce new retrofit models.

The report envisions Canada undertaking a mass retrofit of all buildings within a generation to eliminate fossil fuels, while also freeing up enough clean electricity resources to power 10 million electric vehicles.

“To meet climate goals we need to see increases in scale and decreases in cost for building retrofits that are similar to what we have seen in wind, solar, and battery technologies. A mission-oriented approach focused on transforming the retrofit process can accomplish this,” says author Brendan Haley.

Interview opportunities

  • Brendan Haley, PhD — Report lead author & Policy Director at Efficiency Canada
  • Ralph Torrie — Report co-author & President Torrie Smith Associates 


About Efficiency Canada

Efficiency Canada is the national voice for an energy efficient economy. We envision a future where Canada uses energy efficiency to its fullest potential. This means maximizing the benefits of energy efficiency resulting in a sustainable environment, a productive economy, and a just and equitable society.

Efficiency Canada is housed at Carleton University’s Sustainable Energy Research Centre, which is located on the traditional unceded territories of the Algonquin nation. 


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