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City of Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Plan

In July 2016, the City of Vancouver adopted a Zero Emissions Building Plan that requires most new buildings in Vancouver to have zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The plan calls for the return to electricity-powered baseboard and hot water heating and development of biomass (woodwaste) fueled district energy systems. This plan combined with the Renewable Energy Plan and the Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings will effectively eliminate natural gas in new buildings by 2030 and in existing buildings by 2050.

How this affects you

Reduced Choice – The City would require that most new buildings be built without natural gas. While they have suggested that biogas will replace natural gas, there is simply not enough supply. Even if we could provide renewable natural gas for the entire city, by the time we have enough available, you won’t find any homes with a gas range in the kitchen, a gas fireplace in the living room or a BBQ on the deck because the City will have had them removed.

renewable natural gas inforgraphic
renewable natural gas for Vancouver infographic

If renewable natural gas is the only natural gas allowed in Vancouver, where will it come from?

Today, we have about 108,000 customers in the City of Vancouver who use conventional natural gas. If the City of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy requires all of those customers to switch to renewable natural gas, we would need to produce about 26 million GJ of renewable natural gas.

Increased Cost - Natural gas is one-third the cost of electricity. The City of Vancouver’s plan to prevent regular natural gas and require you to adopt electrical heating will increase your heating and hot water costs by an estimated 11% - that is about $1,500 a year for a family of four.

The city-designated neighbourhood energy systems (biofuel) proposal will further result in reduced choice for residents and businesses. The BC Utilities Commission (the independent regulator) has ruled that such franchises are not in the best interests of British Columbians.

In addition, heating common areas of buildings will also increase. These costs will be passed on to the residents through increased strata fees or business lease rates.

We support energy choice and reducing greenhouse gas emissions - not restricting fuel choice and increased costs

FortisBC believes in helping our customers use energy more efficiently. That's why we've provided $80-million in incentives, through our energy conservation programs, to our residential and business customers across BC over the last three years. Within the City of Vancouver, our customers took advantage of $4.7 million of these incentives in 2014 and 2015. The result? Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 9,200 tonnes each year – the equivalent of removing about 1,920 cars from the road.

According to the City of Vancouver’s plan, by 2050 the City would force all 108,000 natural gas customers in Vancouver to transition to other energy sources. This could have a substantial impact on you by eliminating choice and costing you money to put in new heat and cooking solutions.

The combination of the plans proposed and already passed by the City of Vancouver results in reducing choice and increasing costs for Vancouverites by effectively banning natural gas.

Standing up for you

Given the potential negative impacts of this plan, we believe the policies adopted by the City of Vancouver are not in the public or our customers’ interest. It takes away choice and will cost you money.

Have your voice heard

If you agree, stand up and be heard. Here are a few options available to express your concerns.

•       Connect directly with the City of Vancouver and tell them how you feel about their plan to eliminate regular natural gas

•       Share your concerns on social media, using #vanpoli

•       Sign up to be updated on this issue

•       Contact the Office of the BC Ombudsperson

CKNW Energy Series: Phasing out non-renewable natural gas

Listen to CKNW's Energy Series as Janet Brown and Jon Hall speak with both Doug Smith, director of sustainability for City of Vancouver and Jason Wolfe, director of energy solutions at FortisBC.

Vancouver's vision is simply fossil foolery

Read Fabian Dawson's article in The Province on Vancouver's Renewable City Strategy claiming it to be ambitious, unrealistic and fossil foolery that will make the community unffordable to work and live in.

Vancouver’s renewable energy goals require bolder action: report

SFU’s school of Energy and Materials Research examined the City of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy. See their study.

Vancouver's Renewable City plan may be unworkable: study

Read Business in Vancouver's article on how the City's plan to be 100% renewable by 2050 appears unrealistic.

City's 'green' bylaw will add more costs to new homes

Read Business in Vancouver's article on how City of Vancouver's new green buildings rezoning policy will drive new home prices higher.

Energy efficiency updates to Vancouver's Building Bylaw and related additional changes

Letter to Mayor and Council regarding the updates to Vancouver's Building Bylaw being proposed for multi-family bulidings less than seven storeys, as well as the Green Policy for Rezonings.

City of Vancouver's plan to phase out non-renewable natural gas not good for local business: critics

Watch Global BC's news story featuring a local manufacturing business's response to the City of Vancouver's plan to eliminate all fossil fueled natural gas based products from new homes and buildings by 2030.

Motion to Commit to Affordable Energy in the City of Vancouver

Letter to Mayor and Council in support of the motion put forth by Councillor De Genova, which commits the City of Vancouver to affordable energy.

Updates to Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings

Letter to Mayor and Council expressing our concern of Green Building Policy for Rezonings changes implemented in a short time frame and are based upon the overarching Renewable City Strategy and Net Zero Buildings Plan.

Rezoning Applications

Letter to Mayor and Council with comments on November 15, 2016 6:00pm City of Vancouver Council public hearing.

Proposed Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings

Letter to Sean Pander, Green Building Policy Manager to voice our concern in supporting the proposed Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings to be implemented in 2017.

Zero Emissions Building Plan

Letter to Mayor and Council to express our concern of the proposed Zero Emissions Building Plan policy report under consideration which has the potential to increase costs for energy users in the city.