LC3 Case Studies
The City of Vancouver’s 2016 Zero Emissions Building Plan plotted a path to make almost all new buildings in Vancouver zero-emissions buildings by 2030. Part of the plan included supporting the local building industry with a Centre of Excellence.
The Zero Emissions Building Exchange (ZEBx) was launched in July 2018 and is Canada’s first Centre of Excellence focused exclusively on decarbonizing the building sector. ZEBx collaborates with governments and the building industry to facilitate knowledge exchange, disseminate information, showcase excellence and grow a community of practice with an aim to accelerate action for effective market transformation, specifically, decarbonization of the building sector.
What started as a Centre of Excellence for Vancouver focused on reducing operational emissions in new buildings has now become a Centre of Excellence for B.C. as a whole, including northern communities, focused on reducing operational and embodied emissions in new and existing buildings. ZEBx operates in a rapidly evolving building sector with some of the country’s most progressive municipal and provincial green building policies, regulations and climate emergency action plans.
In April 2022, ZEBx joined the Metro Vancouver Zero Emission Innovation Centre (ZEIC). ZEIC is part of a network of seven Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) urban decarbonization hubs. Seeded by a $21.7 million federal endowment, ZEIC is a purpose-built organization with a mandate to catalyze, accelerate and scale up market transformation across the region and make an important contribution to the zero-carbon economy across the province. ZEIC will advance urban climate solutions in the green building, transportation and renewable energy sectors through capacity-building, policy innovation, research, projects, impact investment, granting, partnerships and collaboration.
Working with diverse private, public and social sector players, Metro Vancouver ZEIC will advance strategic priorities that help meet the ambitious 2030 and 2050 emissions-reduction targets of local, regional, provincial and federal governments and work with Indigenous Nations to support climate action priorities and initiatives.
The Centre will focus on strategic agendas that align with the Province’s CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, Metro Vancouver’s Climate 2050 Roadmap for Buildings and the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. Equity, affordability, community health and well-being, environmental protection and economic development will be integrated into climate action programming. It is well-positioned to support effective solutions that reduce emissions from the built environment, thereby mitigating climate change.
Among many valuable offerings, such as case studies, playbooks, videos, podcasts and technology demonstrations and the BC Green Building Calendar, one of ZEBx’s most popular capacity-building initiatives is its monthly Decarb Lunch webinar. What started as an in-person series in 2020 is now a well-attended webinar often with an audience of over 200. This series showcases leading, low-carbon projects, policies and emerging technologies with the intent to accelerate the building sector’s advance towards cost-effective building decarbonization. Each event is a collaboration with another influential industry association or organization, which exemplifies ZEBx’s collaborative spirit and establishes it as a quintessential hub for zero-emissions buildings. Drawing an audience from all of B.C. and beyond, this series has facilitated knowledge exchange between those at the leading edge of green building development, design, construction and regulations, as well as the green building community-at-large. It is by far our most popular offering, having attracted over 2,900 attendees this past year.
For each webinar, ZEBx gauges the impact of the webinar on the attendees’ efforts to advance building decarbonization. Over the last year, 89% of attendees responded that the event will change how they work. The impact of ZEBx’s extensive work to build capacity, confidence and a community of practice is difficult to quantify in terms of emissions reductions. Nonetheless, our work influences numerous professionals in the development, design, construction and government sectors and as a result, has a very widespread impact on building decarbonization.
Program Growth – B2E
Recognizing that building electrification is the most effective strategy to decarbonize new and existing buildings in provinces with low-carbon electrical grids like British Columbia (BC), ZEBx created a dedicated program area. In September 2021, the Building to Electrification Coalition (B2E) was launched in BC to support a market transformation by reducing barriers to electrification. B2E’s vision is that “by 2030, all new and most replacement space heating and domestic hot water systems in BC’s buildings will be affordable, high-efficiency and low-carbon with electric systems being widely used across all market sectors.”
B2E is a member-driven coalition that has grown to over 70 organizations and includes relevant building electrification stakeholders: industry experts and professionals, manufacturers, vendors, housing providers, financial institutions, various levels of government, and utilities. Community members benefit through collaboration opportunities with industry leaders, early access to the latest building electrification updates, and recognition as a leader in building decarbonization.
B2E’s Leadership Council consists of influential leaders who meet quarterly to provide strategic oversight to the building electrification movement. They draw from expertise within each of their industry sectors to identify high-impact actions. Three subcommittees have been formed to focus on key priority areas including communications, industry capacity and technology. Through the council and subcommittees, B2E generates project ideas and develops resources that respond to current challenges and take advantage of opportunities to accelerate a transition to a low carbon economy.