The Energiesprong approach fully captured the interest of The Pembina Institute in British Columbia. In 2017 they took the bull by the horns and gained funding from NRCan to undertake a viability study, working in partnership with BC Housing, the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, and the City of Vancouver.
The goal of the Affordable Housing Renewal project is to see net-zero carbon retrofits delivered at scale across Canada, as part of the transition to a carbon-neutral residential sector by 2050.
B.C.’s affordable housing stock is in need of repairs, and thus offers an opportunity for such an aggregated approach. Over half of the stock was built before 1990, and most of the stock has a higher-than-average energy use intensity. Around 38,000 units of social housing apartments and townhouses were built before 2000; their average energy use intensity is almost twice the provincial average.
Together, these apartments and townhouses use 2,700 terajoules (TJ) of energy per year and emit 50,000 to 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year; accelerating their conversion to low-energy, low-carbon units offer significant opportunities for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.
Representatives of 30 organisations took part in the Affordable Housing Renewal: Retrofits at Scale workshop, hosted by the Pembina Institute in October 2017. Together they explored how the Energiesprong approach brought retrofits to scale in the Netherlands, and envision how a structured market development approach could be used in B.C.