In a time of unprecedented financial pressures for families in British Columbia, the engineering community has an opportunity to facilitate significant utility bill savings through building energy efficiency upgrades. Furthermore, these measures can improve comfort, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower building maintenance costs, and are also synergistic with long-term capital asset renewal. A 40% reduction in energy demand is achievable for many of the over 12,000 existing multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) across the province. Over the life of every building, owners are required to periodically make decisions and take action, to maintain and renew the various components of their buildings. Ideally, energy efficiency upgrades of existing MURBs can be coupled with these normal renewal projects where components have reached the end of their service life and require replacement in order to maintain the building value.
These projects could include improvements to the building enclosure (roofs, walls, windows, etc), heating, ventilation and cooling systems, domestic water heating and lighting. Water efficiency measures can also provide energy savings to local government infrastructure. This article provides an overview of energy efficiency opportunities for existing MURBs, a review of market mechanisms and government measures to support an ambitious vision of a 40% reduction in energy demand across the sector and a description of a case study where such measures have been undertaken.
This article was featured in the APEGBC Innovation Magazine: October 2012.