Low-Energy Homes Mean Thousands of New Jobs


From The Tyee – Jan 27, 2011

by Monte Paulsen

Thirty-two years elapsed between the invention of the Saskatchewan Conservation House and the erection of Austria House in Whistler (structures this series profiled in the previous two stories).

Canada’s second certified Passivhaus was
completed just a year later. And a dozen more Canadian Passivhaus
projects are underway.

Passivhaus buildings — which include
schools, offices, apartments as well as a growing number of renovated
structures — use 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling than
conventionally built buildings. Since buildings consume up to half of
all energy in North America, the prospect of a 90 per cent reduction
poses what green building advocates believe is the most affordable way to reduce energy costs and slash the emission of greenhouse gasses.

Europe has embraced the idea. The continent
already has more than 25,000 Passivhaus certified buildings. And by
2020, every new building in the European Union must be a “near zero
energy building.” With that shift has come a steep rise in new green
construction jobs.

Given that both the City of Vancouver and
the Province of British Columbia have committed to cutting greenhouse
gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020, it’s worth asking: Is B.C. ready
for Passivhaus building codes?

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.