City of Vancouver – Carbon Pollution Limits for Buildings

  • In July 2022, the City of Vancouver released its Annual Greenhouse Gas & Energy Limits By-Law, No. 13472.
  • Establishes greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and heat energy intensity limits for large existing buildings.
  • Goal of reducing carbon pollution from buildings by 50% by 2030 and 100% before 2050
  • Carbon Emissions Operating Permits for larger commercial buildings come into force in 2026.

City of Vancouver – Climate Emergency & Action Plan

In 2019, City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C , which sounded the alarm on the catastrophic global impacts that will occur if global carbon pollution doesn’t decrease rapidly. The city responded by creating the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) with two key targets:

  • Reduce carbon pollution by 50% by 2030.
  • Become carbon neutral by 2050.

To meet these targets, the city has released new carbon emissions reporting & heat energy limit requirements. By 2026, certain Building Owners are required to apply and obtain an annual carbon emissions operating permit.

Source: City of Vancouver

Energy & GHG Emission Limits

In July 2022, the City of Vancouver released its Annual Greenhouse Gas & Energy Limits By-Law which establishes greenhouse gas emission and heating energy limits for existing buildings located within the City of Vancouver. The By-Law also mandates energy and carbon reporting for existing large commercial and residential buildings. This By-Law does not apply to residential buildings that are less than 4-storeys tall.

Energy and Carbon Reporting Requirements

  • Annual Energy & Carbon Reporting requirement will commence in 2024.
  • In 2024, this reporting requirement will be limited to Commercial Buildings greater than or equal to 100,000 sq.ft. and will be expanded over subsequent years to include smaller commercial buildings and multi-family buildings.  
  • In 2027, the Greenhouse Gas intensity (GHGi) limits will commence and apply to commercial and retail buildings.

Building Operational GHG Emission & Heat Energy Limits

  • Starting 2026, total GHG emissions from metered natural gas and district energy used in a calendar year shall not exceed 25 kg CO2e/m2 of GFA for D Major Occupancies & 14 kg CO2e/m2 of GFA for E Major Occupancies
  • From 2040, total annual GHG emission allowance will be reduced to 0 kg CO2e/m2.
  • Building owners to pay a fee of $350 per tonne of CO2e for the annual GHG emissions that exceeds the limit (from 2027 onward)
  • Over the period 2040-2050, GHGi limits of 0 kg CO2e/m2/year will apply to commercial and multi-family buildings > 4,645m2.
  • Starting 2040, the total heating energy (by natural gas) consumption in a calendar year shall not exceed 0.09 GJ/m2 for D & E major occupancy buildings larger than 100,000 sqft.

Contact our Team of Experts

Our team are experienced in creating decarbonization plans that can help chart a path to achieving the City of Vancouver targets.

It is important to begin decarbonization planning sooner than later, to reduce the risk of making capital investment decisions that could need to be reversed to meet the City of Vancouver limits.

Reach out to our team for advice on decarbonization planning, and on incentive programs that could help assist in the creation of a decarbonization plan.