VANCOUVER – Deep retrofits could not only generate billions in economic activity, they could protect Canadians from heat-related deaths, a new study from the Pembina Institute argues.
The report, titled Canada’s Renovation Wave: a plan for jobs and climate, states a national renovation wave of deep retrofits could create more than $48 billion in economic development, lead to 200,000 new jobs and curb carbon emissions.
Researchers also found that home retrofits could also protect people from heat related injury or death by increasing insulation performance.
“This report provides ‘proof of concept’ that public investment in retrofits makes good sense for the economy, the environment and the health of Canadians,” said Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénéclauze, director of buildings and urban solutions with the Pembina Institute. “To meet climate targets, we need to eliminate carbon pollution from homes and buildings before 2050 by phasing out fossil fuels and powering buildings with clean energy. Heat pumps will also reduce the impact of deadly heat waves, as they cool homes, in addition to heating them.”
The paper calls for massive public investment of $10 to $15 billion for housing infrastructure and $6 billion for non-residential buildings. Pembina’s analysis shows the spending will pay for itself more than twice over in job creation, GDP growth and increased tax revenues.
According to Pembina, Canada’s buildings account for 17.5 per cent of Canada’s overall emissions, which includes 12.5 per cent from direct combustion of fuels in buildings and another five per cent from the production of electricity used in buildings.
“Paired with a rapid decarbonization of our electricity grids, retrofits could decarbonize most of Canada’s buildings by 2040,” stated the group in a press release. “Retrofits replace fossil fuel heating systems with heat pumps and other technologies to eliminate carbon pollution from buildings and improve the health of residents.”