Climate Emergency

In January 2019, the City of Vancouver officially declared a Climate Emergency.

In doing so, it proposed 6 Big Moves with serious and significant implications for the Buildings and Development industries that have yet to really sink in.

Consider Big Move #4…

By 2025, all new and replacement heating and hot water systems will be zero emissions.

The implications of this statement are at once obvious and startling. Less than 6 years from now our industry will not be able to install a natural gas boiler or hot water heater or ventilation unit.

Do you have alternative solutions in mind for your projects? Do you know which are best?

Prior to the declaration of the Climate Emergency, we had been considering these questions in our drive to provide the best energy retrofit recommendations possible, including zero emissions solutions (full electrification) of major building systems.

For new construction, there are a host of zero emissions options that provide benefits from an installation, performance and cost perspective. There is really no excuse today to be installing anything but zero emissions systems on these projects.

The challenge with existing buildings on the other hand is staggering.

This is primarily because we are most often limited by existing space heating terminal units that have typically been designed around very hot water temperatures produced by natural gas equipment (think hot water baseboards for example).

Some buildings are now finding that they require cooling with the change in climate, which makes the conversation around replacing terminal units easier to accept.

However, in order to keep retrofit costs at a reasonable level for the vast majority of buildings, existing terminal units will need to remain in place. This means that we will need more and better technology particularly in the air source heat pump space. Heat pumps that cost less, are more efficient and that produce hotter water temperatures.

There are examples of this type of technology in use in Japan where CO2 refrigerant is available which provides for much hotter water temperatures and which comes with the side benefit of lower global warming potential if released into the atmosphere.

This technology can’t arrive in British Columbia fast enough.

We encourage everyone to review the impact of the 6 Big Moves on their projects.

And if you’d like to chat more about zero emissions solutions or any other project, feel free to give us a call or email. We love to chat.