Global Opportunities

Canada: Potential for Swiss know-how in green building sector

Global Opportunities: In order to meet its Paris climate agreement targets, Canada’s government recently announced a nation-wide carbon pricing plan. In July 2016, the city of Vancouver in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia adopted a new policy that will require zero emissions from new buildings by 2030. The province of Alberta just recently adopted changes to its building codes to make buildings more energy efficient that will go into effect in November 2016. These changes to policies and building codes in Western Canada offer tremendous potential for Swiss know how and products in the green building sector.

Canada: Potential for Swiss know-how in green building sector

Whereas any new projects that are owned by the city of Vancouver or managed by the Affordable Housing Agency must meet the stringent standards as of now, rezoned residential developments will have to comply by 2025 and other new buildings by 2030. As for existing buildings that haven’t been built according to zero-emission standards, they will have to undergo some form of retrofit before 2050.

Since British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in 2008, living in a zero-emissions house has its advantages. It means that a homeowner does not have to pay tax on the gas used to heat the home. The challenges remain with the builder though, as the higher standards will likely increase the costs in an already overheated housing market.

In Vancouver, buildings accounted for 56 percent of emissions in 2014, which is more than the contributions of transportation and waste combined. Therefore Vancouver has put the emphasis on thermal efficiency to reduce energy loss. Above all, the city is targeting the building’s envelope, which includes walls, roof, windows, and doors as well as the building systems, which include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems as well as hot water equipment. 

Vancouver is definitely at the forefront of the sustainable building movement in North America and has recently seen the rise of buildings whose structure is entirely made out of wood. In fact, the construction of the world’s tallest timber tower is currently underway in Vancouver and is set to be completed in the summer of 2017. 

The province of Alberta has also made changes to its building codes that were last updated in 1981, with the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These changes target the energy efficiency of windows, lighting, building envelope, insulation, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. 


Region: Quebec, Ontario
Industry: Cleantech, Construction
Time: 2016-2030
Project volume: n/a

Considering the changes that are planned or have already been implemented, the following segments offer good business opportunities for Swiss companies:

Building design, heating, ventilation and cooling systems, lighting solutions, building and sealing materials, exterior & interior finishes, high-performance doors and windows, home storage (batteries) energy efficient appliances 

If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities in the green building sector in Canada, we would be happy to meet with you at our Impulse Seminar on sustainable buildings in Yverdon on December 1st, 2016. Canadian architect Michael Green from Michael Green Architecture will be one of the keynote Speakers - a pioneer who is internationally known for his expertise in building with advanced wood products and technologies. Vancouver-based Swiss visionary and wood expert Bernhard Gafner from ACC Structural Engineers will also share his experience from building the highest wooden tower in Canada. Don’t miss this opportunity and register today at:

What’s more, Mr. Markus Reubi, the Head of the Swiss Business Hub Canada will be in Lausanne on November 28 and in Zurich from November 29 to 30. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss opportunities in the green building sector.

We look forward to seeing you there!



Vancouver Leapfrogs Energy Efficiency, Adopts Zero-Emissions Building Plan, retrieved on October 19, 2016 

City of Vancouver: Renewable Buildings, retrieved on October 19, 2016

Vancouver to eliminate emissions from new buildings by 2030, retrieved on October 19, 2016

Construction of the World's Tallest Timber Tower is Underway in Vancouver, retrieved on October 19, 2016

Alberta adopts building code changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, retrieved on October 20, 2016

Come vi possiamo contattare?

Premium Partner

Partner strategici

Partner istituzionale

Programma ufficiale