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New partnership to make homes safer, more energy-efficient, less polluting


June 26, 2020

VANCOUVER – The Province, through BC Housing, and the City of Vancouver, the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and the Pembina Institute, are working together to find ways to make homes safer, more energy-efficient and less polluting, while reducing heating costs for residents.

The partners are launching an initiative called the Reframed Lab to do retrofit demonstration projects on up to five multi-unit residential buildings.

“The way our homes are built has a direct impact on our health and well-being, and the environment,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “That’s why it’s so important we work together to find new ways to make buildings work better. This partnership will help us take significant action on climate change, while protecting and improving the safe and affordable homes that people need.”

While new homes in B.C. must be built to high health, safety and environmental standards, there are significant opportunities to make existing buildings better places to live and reduce the energy they use. Building retrofits also create good, long-term jobs for people in the province and support the growth of B.C.’s sustainable economy.

This summer, BC Housing will issue a request for proposals for partners to join the Reframed Lab. Partners from all corners of the construction sector, including architects, contractors, engineers and manufacturers, will come together to create innovative and integrated ways to retrofit existing buildings. Selected teams will be invited to join a six-month exploration lab to learn and share ideas.

Teams will prepare designs for a specific building, with support from experts on climate change, energy and health. Their goal will be to demonstrate next-generation solutions that integrate seismic and fire safety, energy efficiency and climate-adaptation upgrades, while dramatically reducing the buildings’ carbon pollution.

BC Housing will support the retrofit of the selected buildings with funding from the Capital Renewal Fund, a 10-year, $1.1-billion investment to preserve and improve B.C.’s 51,000 units of social housing.

This initiative received $250,000 from the Province’s CleanBC Building Innovation (CBBI) Fund. The CBBI Fund has provided $1.65 million to manufacturers, developers, builders and researchers to accelerate the availability and affordability of advanced building designs, construction methods and technologies that are super efficient and have minimal greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime.

The City of Vancouver will be providing technical and regulatory guidance to help support this work, which will help advance the city’s climate goals as well as housing affordability.

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.'s emission targets.

Quotes:

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“People’s lives improve immeasurably when they live in well-designed, energy-efficient homes. We are expanding housing options and improving the way those homes function through innovation and design. As part of CleanBC, this program will help build skills and approaches that lead to lower emissions, less pollution and reduced heating costs, among other benefits.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources –
“This new initiative is a great example of how made-in-B.C. innovations, expertise and technology are putting us on the path to a cleaner, better future. Through CleanBC, our government is working to make buildings more energy efficient, reduce carbon pollution and support local communities.”

Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver –
“To keep Vancouver liveable, we need to decrease our emissions, as well as focus on housing affordability. This initiative is a strong example of how the city is collaborating with other levels of government and external organizations to advance our climate goals, while prioritizing the improvement, resiliency and comfort of residential buildings.”

Jill Atkey, CEO, BC Non-Profit Housing Association –
“The community housing sector plays a critical role in addressing the climate crisis. Through initiatives like this, we can create sustainable homes and help reduce the energy poverty facing those British Columbians who are disproportionately impacted by climate change.”

Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director, Pembina Institute –
“We need to transform the renovation of residential buildings in order to eliminate carbon pollution from housing operations, protect tenants from earthquakes and extreme weather, and support affordability. Working together, we can shift the retrofit ecosystem and open the door to healthier, more comfortable, low-carbon homes.”

Learn More:

To find out more about the Reframed Lab, visit: https://reframedinitiative.org/lab/
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Media Relations
250 213-5561

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org