On July 13, 2016 the Vancouver city council voted to pass the Vancouver Zero Emission Building Plan. This Plan lays out four action strategies to require the majority of new buildings in Vancouver to use 100% renewable energy and have no operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and that all new buildings achieve these outcomes by the year 2030.
One of the keys to this initiative is to start building all new City-owned and Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) projects to the Passive House standard or alternate zero emission standard, and use only low carbon sources of energy.
On July 11, 2016 the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) voiced their objections to this plan in an open letter to the City of Vancouver. The CGA views this initiative as extremely shortsighted, as the effect of the recommendations will be to eliminate natural gas, currently the most cost-effective energy choice, from the list of energy options for Vancouver buildings.
CIPH became aware of this issue shortly before the city council vote and CIPH also forwarded a letter to the City of Vancouver on July 13, 2016, supporting the position of the CGA, and expressing our concern with the limited and limited viewpoint the city is demonstrating within the plan. CIPH applauded the efforts of the city to be a leader in energy management, but felt the prescriptive measures in terms of defining how targets will be met are too restrictive and seem likely to have significant consequences.