Why Are We Doing This?
Because impacts of climate change are undeniable and action needs to occur immediately. Proven climate change mitigation technologies exist and barriers to adoption need to be removed.
Climate change, driven largely by fossil fuel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has been studied, debated, undermined, lobbied against by powerful interests over the past 30+ years, and yet persists and now demonstrates the potential – and incontrovertible evidence – of negatively impacting our environment and society without urgent action. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said we have less than a decade to cut emissions by 50% if we are to remain within the target of 1.5° C of global warming.
Despite the confluence of these two developments and their mutually reinforcing nature, energy conservation and fuel-switching retrofits remain fringe strategies in existing commercial buildings and new builds. With perhaps the exception of LED lighting, window glazing and building automation few building owners invest in retrofits or choose to space heat with other than natural gas simply because the paybacks are too long. Yet as recently reported by the new Institute for Sustainable Finance at Queen’s University the building sector, representing 11% of emissions, is “Canada’s lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to low-cost GHG reductions…the only sector where, in certain scenarios, reducing carbon emissions is less expensive than maintaining them”.