rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Update to Vancouver's Green Buildings Policy key step toward zero-carbon future

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Passive House building tour at The Heights

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
V5Y 1V4

Dear Mayor and Council,

RE: Updates to the Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings

We are writing in support of the proposed changes to the Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings as a key step in implementing the city's ambitious Zero Emissions Building Plan. This policy will enable a new generation of high-quality buildings that are low emissions. The policy prescribes a simple approach that focuses on the building envelope -- an airtight design, super insulation and good ventilation. As a result, these buildings use very little energy and will be more affordable to heat and operate. Such buildings will have moderated indoor temperatures, high indoor air quality and soundproofing, and are more durable.

The internationally recognized Passive House standard, the leading-edge standard for energy efficient buildings, inspired the changes to the Rezonings policy. Passive House construction is already common in Europe, where new construction in EU member countries must meet net zero energy by 2020. A boom in construction to the standard in Vancouver is already happening, with over 600 units currently in construction around the city that are targeting Passive House certification. We are seeing the future of low-carbon buildings already being built today; this demonstrates that the requirements for homes and buildings under the Zero Emissions Plan is achievable, which will make low-carbon buildings the norm. It's also important to note that the green building sector is a major employer in the local clean low-carbon economy, and the Zero Emissions Plan will encourage continued growth in this sector.

The Zero Emissions Building Plan positions Vancouver as the first city in North America with a roadmap for eliminating emissions from new homes and buildings by 2030. Vancouver's leadership demonstrates how to move from ambition to action. This should serve as an important blueprint across Canada as we collectively work to curb emissions to meet our 2030 and 2050 climate goals and stimulate the low carbon economy across the country.

Yours sincerely,  

Karen Tam Wu

Director, Buildings and Urban Solutions Program

Pembina Institute


Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Photo: Stephen Hui/Pembina Institute

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.