Global Opportunities

Green building technologies gaining momentum in Canada

Recent government initiatives, such as a proposed nationwide carbon tax to meet Canada’s emission targets as part of the Paris Agreement, have resulted in growinginterest among Canadians in energy efficient and sustainable buildings. In a country where energy is relatively cheap thanks to electricity from readily available hydropower, government initiatives are crucial to create incentives for energy efficient buildings.

Vancouver enhances green building technologies
Vancouver enhances green building technologies

British Columbia at the forefront of green innovation

Within Canada, the province of British Columbia (BC) has long been at the forefront of green innovation, and is poised to become North America’s hotbed for cleantech marketdevelopments. According to a 2016 report by the Toronto-based organization Corporate Knights Inc,, which publishes the business magazine Corporate Knights and includes a research division that produces rankings based on corporate sustainability performance, the province was home to Canada’s six greenest buildings, compared to four buildings in Ontario, one in Quebec and Nova Scotia. BC was also home to Canada’s first Passive House, built for the 2010 Winter Olympics. In Vancouver, which is known for its tall glass high-rises that dominate the cityscape, a project featuring the world’s tallest Passive house building has recently been proposed. Interestingly, the Vancouver Sun, which reported on the proposal, cited sourcing materials that do not yet exist as one of the biggest challenges.

In 2017, BC was home to 20,100 green buildings. Pembina Institute, a Canadian think tank, has published a map that shows the types (LEED certified, Passive Houses, etc.) and location of the buildings. The green economy is also a big driver for BC’s economy: In 2017, Pembina reported 31,700 jobs in BC’s green building sector, an increase of more than 36% compared to 2015.

BC’s government initiatives accelerate the adoption of green building standards

BC’s booming green building sector is mainly a result of its favorable governmentinitiatives, such as its provincial carbon tax or the BC Step Code. Canada has a nationalenergy code for buildings, however it only comes into effect when a province enforcesregulations related to the code. A province can choose to adapt the code or even enactstricter regulations. BC’s Step Code goes beyond the provincial building code to furtheraccelerate the adoption of green building standards. It was introduced with the aim tomake buildings net-zero energy ready by 2032. Instead of prescribing how to build, thecode sets an energy efficiency target and lets the builder decide on how to achieve it.In addition to government initiatives, a well-trained workforce of architects, engineers,designers and construction workers that know how to build according to these newstandards are indispensable. In order to ensure better training, exchange of knowledgeand collaboration in the green building space, the city of Vancouver inaugurated a ZeroEmissions Building Exchange (Zebx) in July 2018. Zebx, a non-profit organization islocated at Simon Fraser University’s Segal Building in downtown Vancouver.

Increasing demand for green building products and services

As the examples above illustrate, innovative products and know-how in the green building sector are increasingly sought after. Therefore the Swiss Business Hub Canadais currently in the planning stages of facilitating a Swiss presence at Buildex Vancouver for Swiss providers of green building products and services who want to expand their business in Canada. Our partner on site will be Dudoc Vancouver, which has great experience in organizing events and programs for innovators in sustainable buildings and design coming from Europe.

Buildex Vancouver – Canada’s largest tradeshow for the building industry

Buildex Vancouver, which will take place on February 13 and 14, 2019, is Western Canada’s largest tradeshow and conference for the Construction, Renovation, Architecture, Interior Design and Property Management industries. With over 600 exhibits, and more than 80 educational seminars Buildex attracts over 14,000 attendees annually.

Are you interested in attending BUILDEX alongside other European providers ofinnovative green building products and services? Would you rather focus on makingcontacts with local distributors, partners and business contacts and not worry about thelogistics of setting up your own booth? Then contact Annina Bosshard, Consultant for the US and Canada at Switzerland Global Enterprise, or the Swiss Business Hub Canada.

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