On February 10, Rob Bernhardt, our Policy and Projects Advisor, gave a presentation to the Buildings Working Group of the FCM Climate Caucus on how local government can accelerate Passive House. The Buildings Working Group of the FCM Climate Caucus supports local government in understanding what is required of buildings to achieve climate goals, provides resources supporting implementation of effective policies and advocates for change where required. Rob’s message was that the first step is to ensure local government understands why Passive House levels of operating efficiency are required regardless of the carbon intensity of the energy supply.
With that understanding in place, the next step is to create the confidence within local government and related agencies to commit to Passive House performance for their buildings – to lead by example. Without public sector leadership, it is difficult to expect the private sector to deliver such projects. Widespread public sector adoption of Passive House and more is sufficient to trigger market transformation given the scale of publicly funded construction planned with stimulus funding, housing strategies, etc. That market transformation is needed to lay a foundation for future regulations.
Rob identified the third step as implementing policies and practices supporting Passive House in the private sector to expand the scope of projects being delivered prior to adoption of effective building codes. Local government has a limited, but wide, range of options to incentivize the buildings they want. Measures such as density bonuses, zoning power, expedited permitting, permitting and inspection staff training, elimination of barriers in zoning bylaws & design guidelines and advocacy for removal of code barriers all help to accelerate Passive House projects.
The members of Passive House Canada play an important role in adoption of the standard by giving their projects profile in their community and being available to speak at public events to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of such buildings in their community. We often connect local government with our local members so please step forward when the opportunity arises. Your voice can make a real difference!