City unveils strategy to tackle emissions from existing buildings

Last updated: November 1, 2023

Existing buildings account for 39% of Burnaby’s GHG emissions—and represent one of the biggest opportunities for emission reductions.

The City of Burnaby has unveiled a comprehensive strategy that will help property owners understand the process of retrofitting their homes for energy efficiency and to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and explain how the municipality is designing policies and actions to help them through this process. The Burnaby Zero Emissions Building Retrofit Strategy aims to establish a pathway for supporting large-scale adoption of energy efficiency upgrading and low carbon fuel switching in Burnaby’s existing buildings, and to accelerate a complete transition to zero-emission heating, cooling and hot water systems.

The Building Retrofit Strategy sets 4 objectives that the City sees as key to overcoming the barriers homeowners may face in conducting retrofits: Education and Outreach, Policies and Bylaws, Incentives, and Advocacy. The Strategy also lays out the steps homeowners would need to take when retrofitting their homes—from learning about potential benefits and identifying opportunities, to designing, financing and implementing the upgrades. 

The Retrofit Strategy was developed based on the recommendations of the Zero-Emission Building Retrofit Task Force, which were accepted by Burnaby Council in the fall of 2022.

“Many homes and other buildings in our community were built long before energy efficiency and climate resiliency were top of mind,” says Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley. “Developing and implementing strategies to lower emissions from new and existing buildings will be critical to us achieving our goal of becoming a carbon neutral community.”

In response to Burnaby Council declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019 the City adopted a Climate Action Framework, which set carbon reduction targets of:

  • 45% reduction by 2030
  • 75% reduction by 2040
  • Carbon neutral (no longer contributing to the emissions that accelerate climate change) by 2050

Reducing operational emissions from existing buildings is a key component of the Climate Action Framework, and the development of a retrofit strategy is a major step forward in addressing that challenge. The retrofit strategy will be implemented in parallel with updates to our building requirements for new buildings to align with the new Provincial Zero Carbon Step Code and higher steps of the Energy Step Code. The Energy Step Code lays out the requirements for energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings, while the new Zero Carbon Step Code focuses on operational emissions reductions from those same buildings.

Learn more: Zero-Emission Buildings - Retrofits

Media Contact:
Chris Bryan
Manager, Public Affairs
Public Affairs Office
604-570-3616 | [email protected]

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