CEO Letter – August

Welcome to the dog days of summer, normally, but things have been anything but normal this summer. The global heating emergency has unfolded dramatically this summer, amplified by an unprecedented El Niño event, causing an unprecedented heat wave in the southern hemisphere, extreme weather causing flooding, fires and storm damage across Canada and the globe.  

Unprecedented Wildfire Season  

This year has been a devastating wildfire season for Canada – already a record-breaking year for the most land ever burned in Canada. The early season has caused front-line casualties, so far killing a pilot and three firefighters. The death of a nine-year-old British Columbia boy has been attributed to an existing medical condition aggravated by wildfire smoke.  

My condolences to the loved ones of all who died fighting these fires — or because of them. 

The BC Coroners Service recently issued a public safety bulletin warning of the risks of wildfire smoke. Experts now say smoke from wildfires could account for thousands of premature deaths across Canada each year and an annual health care cost between $4.7-billion and $20.8-billion.  

Climate change is impacting our natural environment and our health. It is devastating our wildlife population. Those in the passive house world know buildings play a major role in our wellbeing. We must ensure the places we live, work, and play are healthy, breathable buildings. This is central to why staff at municipalities like the City of Vancouver are making recommendations to extend passive house incentives to new multiplex buildings and simplify existing passive house regulations.  

National Adaptation Strategy Released 

We are also encouraged by the efforts of the federal government, pushed by climate change adaptation policy leaders, including Passive House Canada, is taking action. The federal government released the National Adaptation Strategy last month with a goal of building strong and resilient communities to combat climate change and help protect Canadians from extreme weather. PHC supports the federal government efforts to reduce climate related disasters, improve health and well-being, protect and restore nature and biodiversity, build and maintain resilient infrastructure and support the economy and workers.  

Harmonized National Building Code 

We are pleased that Passive House Canada has been asked to sit on the Advisory Committee to the Canadian Board for Harmonized Construction Codes(CBHCC). We’ve asked repeatedly over the years for a seat at the table and now we have a voice. I am delighted to chair a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee focused on buildings and climate change mitigation, and to sit on two other sub-committees focused on buildings and climate change adaptation, and performance-based building standards. The CBHCC has given the Advisory Council a roadmap and asked for input this Fall. It is broad and gives us lots of room to make input. I applaud the Board for this transparency and asking for input before it makes policy decisions, rather than after decisions have been made. As a result, you’ll find the roadmap open-ended in many areas. It’s an invitation for us to make strong input without being hemmed in. I’ll post a public link to the roadmap and meeting dates as soon as they become available.