Accelerating to Zero

Canada’s built environment is a significant contributor to GHG emissions, with 17% of GHGs coming from residential, commercial and institutional buildings.


The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) issued a report on Wednesday Feb 20, coinciding with their Accelerating to Zero Summit, that is the first of its kind in Canada.

Entitled “Making The Case For Building To Zero Carbon,” it confirms that Zero Carbon Buildings are financially viable today, with a positive financial return over a 25-year life-cycle, inclusive of carbon pollution pricing, and requiring only a modest capital cost premium. The economic case for Zero Carbon Buildings is reinforced over time with the rising cost of carbon, increased resiliency, and by avoiding costs such as future retrofits.

Infographic from Ottawa CaGBC – view original here.


“The cost of not adopting Zero Carbon Buildings grows with each passing day. This study shows us definitively that Zero Carbon Buildings can be achieved with existing market-ready technologies and approaches for most building types, and that operating cost savings will cover the needed investments,” says Thomas Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer at CaGBC. “The Canadian building industry and governments now have proof to make the changes needed to create Canada’s low carbon building stock and avoid creating buildings that will become a liability in a carbon constrained economy.”

The report was officially launched at a well-attended “Accelerating to Zero” event held at

Figure 1 from the Executive Summary of the report from CaGBC.

the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa, which included remarks from both the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources. Funding for the CaGBC (nearly half a million dollars through the Climate Action Fund) was announced at the beginning of the event, which quickly delved into the technical and financial aspects of how feasible a transition to zero carbon actually is in seven different cities across Canada with different climate demands. The short answer is that Zero Carbon is feasible right now, but for more details read the publicly available report here – and the executive summary is available here.

To learn more about other Accelerating to Zero events, click here.

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