Did you know that buildings, and the energy they consume, account for almost 25% of Ontario’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution? This is in part because many existing buildings were built before energy efficiency was a priority, and before climate change was a consideration. Increases in population and economic growth also continue to drive demand for more development and increased building floor space in both existing and new buildings. These factors contribute to a significant amount of GHG emissions in the building sector.
As a result, the Ontario government is targeting GHG emissions from buildings under its Climate Change Action Plan. On July 14, 2017, The Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA) released a series of proposed changes to Ontario’s Building Code that would come into effect in January 2019. The changes proposed include:
- Introducing new energy efficiency requirements for houses and large buildings;
- Promoting energy-efficient renovations in houses and large buildings;
- Incorporating electric vehicle charging in new multi-unit residential buildings; and
- Supporting adaptation to climate change (e.g., through the installation of hurricane straps and backwater valves in houses).
With these changes, the government hopes to begin to curb emissions and strengthen resilience in the building sector. This will help Ontario meet its climate change targets and better prepare for life in a climate-changed world.