Saanich opening door to more energy-efficient building standards

Saanich has joined a movement to support the province in creating better building efficiency standards

Coun. Dean Murdock and Saanich council are hoping B.C. will be a leader in climate action in the building sector. Uptown is among the many new commercial buildings in Saanich that include LEED Gold standards of energy efficiency.

Saanich has joined a movement to support the province in creating better building efficiency standards, particularly within the existing B.C. housing stock.

Housing energy efficiency needs to be addressed through action on climate change, said Saanich Coun. Dean Murdock, who brought the recommendation to council on Monday.

“The province is in the midst of updating its climate action plan [climate leadership team], doing consultation and have come up with ambitious initiatives that are available to the public for comment, hopefully by spring,” he said.

Council endorsed the recommendation to support the province’s climate leadership team in updating the climate action plan, particularly in the building sector.

Saanich has a history of asking developers to go the extra mile in terms of sustainability, he added.

The call to action for climate change in the building sector is being centralized by the Pembina Institute, based out of Vancouver.

According to Pembina, Saanich has joined a list of larger municipalities endorsing a bolder climate leadership plan in B.C., such as Victoria, Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond, along with dozens of organizations and associations.

“It’s existing housing stock that’s probably the biggest culprit of greenhouse gas emissions, provincially and nationally we need to put together programs to upgrade existing houses, and be more assertive and aggressive in that regard,” Murdock said.

Despite the successful advent of new energy efficient LEED Gold commercial buildings or Built Green residential homes in B.C., it’s a small percentage of all the housing stock.

One of the problems is a lack of financial incentives.

Companies such as the Lee brothers’ Tri-Eagle developments build predominately in Saanich and have adhered to a commercial LEED Gold or condo Built Green standard for about a decade.

The Lees built a pair of buildings across the highway from each other in Royal Oak, the Glen Eagle in 2001 and the Raven in 2009. Both are about 27,000 square-feet, but the LEED-Gold Raven building’s energy costs are 50 per cent less, president Travis Lee said.

“We have two buildings in the same environment, same neighbourhood, but one is 50 per cent less to operate, and yet the savings are wiped out by higher taxes.”

In Lee’s view, a discounted property tax rate for green buildings would encourage builders to spend the extra money.

“The government needs to come to terms on how to create incentives,” Lee said. “If you’re reducing use for services but you’re paying more tax, it should be the other way around. Once we do, that will be the incentive for people to invest more to reduce emissions from their homes.”

Murdock also hopes provincial and federal programs can be developed that will reward energy-efficient retrofits for older residential buildings.


Just Posted

Bike sharing program rolls into Saanich

According to staff, U-Bicycle plans to make between 75 and 100 bicycles available in Saanich.

Two puppies snatched from East Sooke home

Anyone with information asked to contact Sooke RCMP

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Moving Trans History Forward conference aimed at more than LGBTQ community

UVic’s Aaron Devor: “We’re all here to learn from each other”

Large fire destroys home on McClure Street in Victoria

Fire crews dispatched to the 1100-block shortly before noon Monday

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Mayor says it could take “years” to replace EDPA

Mayor Richard Atwell said it will take Saanich “years” to replace a… Continue reading

Murder charges upgraded for B.C. man accused of killing wife and daughters

Crown approved new information on Jacob Forman’s file

Janet Austin announced as B.C.’s new lieutenant governor

Austin has served as YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO since 2003

Ex-French president Sarkozy in custody on Gadhafi claims

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in custody as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing

Hockey pioneer Kwong dies at 94

Vernon’s Larry Kwong was the first player to break NHL colour barrier in 1948

How Facebook likes could profile voters for manipulation

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data-analysis firm worked for Trump’s 2016 campaign

Uber suspends self-driving car tests after fatality

A woman walking outside a crosswalk in Phoenix was killed when she was hit by a self-driving car

Police divers to resume river search for missing Montreal boy

Police divers and a helicopter search the shores of the Riviere des Prairies for missing 10-year old boy Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Most Read