Exchanging Ideas on Climate
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
Exchanging ideas on Climate

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Geared for Change: Energy Efficiency in Canada?s Commercial Building Sector



Bob PageAs Chair of the NRTEE, I am pleased to introduce Geared for Change: Energy Efficiency in Canada?s Commercial Building Sector, which presents a viable carbon emission and energy efficiency policy pathway for the commercial building sector.

This report is the culmination of a collaborative research project undertaken by the NRTEE and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), and was based on a perceived need for sound policy targeted at increasing energy efficiency in the commercial building sector. By capitalizing on the policy and technology knowledge and expertise of the NRTEE and SDTC in the development of the report, we conclude that it is possible to achieve substantial emissions reductions from this sector.

Our conclusions are the product of our own research and the informed input that we received from Canadians. This report provides clear policy recommendations for the Government of Canada in addressing Canada?s emission reduction targets for 2050 and is consistent with our other reports on this target. As energy consumption in existing commercial buildings and demand for new buildings continues to increase, it is clear that the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive policy pathway for energy efficiency is crucial for Canada?s success in reducing carbon emissions and energy use from this major economic sector.


David McLaughln For Canada to meet its deep, long-term emission reduction targets, every sector of the economy must do its share. Geared for Change provides, for the first time, a detailed analysis that will help governments make the right policy choices enabling the commercial building sector to deploy the technologies necessary to achieve substantial energy efficiency gains and make a real contribution to Canada?s climate policy goals.

Combining SDTC?s technology and market expertise with the NRTEE?s policy advisory role and convening authority, we have together generated a comprehensive path forward for the federal government to bring about significant energy efficiency achievements in Canada?s commercial building sector. Through original economic modeling, extensive stakeholder consultation, and national and international policies assessment, this report sets out a clear energy efficiency policy pathway for Canada, to ensure this important economic sector contributes strongly to greenhouse gas emission reductions and moves us all towards a cleaner, healthier environment.


Vicky SharpeCanada has the potential to lead the way in reducing the environmental footprint of its growing commercial building sector. Across the country, energy efficient technologies that could make a real difference by reducing both costs and greenhouse gas emissions are being developed, although they face many obstacles on the path to industry-wide adoption.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) funds promising energy efficient technologies in their development and demonstration stages to help them make it to the market. However, funding alone is not enough. There also needs to be strong commitment by all levels of government and concrete, sector-specific action to make sure that these technologies are adopted. The result will be that Canadians can enjoy the significant environmental and economic benefits that they bring.

Conveying this message to policy makers is crucial and requires input from key players working on all aspects of the environmental sector. By collaborating to write this report, SDTC and the NRTEE built on each other?s expertise to determine the steps that must be taken by governments to establish and implement a policy pathway for energy efficiency in the commercial building sector. SDTC?s SD Business Case? on Eco-Efficiency in Commercial Buildings, released in November 2007, established the industry?s vision for the future and the technical and non-technical needs that should be fulfilled in order to achieve this vision. Teaming up with the NRTEE allowed the technical information contained in the report to be taken one step further. It contributed to the development of concrete recommendations that will be made directly to policy makers, which SDTC could not have done alone.

These recommendations, if followed, would ensure that municipal, provincial and federal governments take targeted actions to reduce the environmental impacts of the commercial building sector, which contributes to 13% of the country?s carbon emissions. Also, they would ensure that the technological solutions that exist in Canada to reduce these emissions are adopted and their environmental benefits maximized. This will reduce the cost of business within office buildings, hospitals and schools, just to name a few.
Strong policy is needed to pull through ready and waiting technology.

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