As local and federal authorities are struggling with this coronavirus outbreak, the future of environmentally-friendly building in Canada is improving. The government already covered billions of dollars to support the oil and gas industry. We agree that financial aid is required for employees throughout the nation right now.
However, we can not enable the COVID-19 crisis to make us blind to other enormous environmental challenges that we faced before this pandemic began and will still exist after its over, such as combating climate change, stopping plastic contamination, keeping our water clean, and eliminating toxic chemicals from the products we use.
We still need to act. And if we begin to create plans and finance them today, we can build an economy and society stronger and more resilient than before the crisis started. Here are some ways that the federal and local authorities can make investments that will boost employment, improve society’s capacity to withstand future threats, and assist the transition to a cleaner market.
Retrofitting Buildings Generates New Jobs And Combats Climate Change
Governments own many big buildings, and lots of these are old with inadequate insulation and leaky windows. A profound energy retrofit program can boost the heating and cooling efficiency of those buildings and employ thousands of workers to build and install new insulation, windows, and heating/cooling systems. It would also create a healthier and more comfortable workplace and will actually cover the renovation costs over the long run through the massive energy savings they make.
These same buildings have very large roof areas that produce an excellent house for solar energy installations. Each retrofit should cover both electricity and hot water generating solar panels to help these buildings become more electricity independent.
Similar programs could be encouraged in the private sector. Governments can make available the funds for all these renovations and be repaid over time by building owners through the energy savings that they achieve.
For homeowners, authorities can directly support renovations and promote energy efficiency programs run by gas and power utility companies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save people’s money. Governments should require that utilities reach all cost-effective energy savings potential through new and existing consumer programs. These programs can help rapidly boost energy-efficient tankless water heaters, high-efficiency gas stoves, and solar hot water heaters.
It’s Time To Make A Switch To Greener, Cleaner Transportation
We also know that transportation is the primary source of polluting emissions. To decrease these emissions, we will need to change from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles to zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs). We will have to build better public transport systems that enable individuals to avoid using their cars more frequently to get to school or work. As well, we will need to encourage more active transport such as walking and biking.
To help with the EV adoption, our governments will need to mandate EV sales goals, such as Quebec, California, and many European nations. This necessitates auto companies to market a set and increase a portion of the sales as electric vehicles. Governments should also provide incentives to make EVs more affordable once you make your next buy.
Public transportation jobs are large employment generators. Projects like high-speed rail between major cities (consider fast trains between Edmonton and Calgary or Montreal and Toronto), Light Rail Transit in cities, and new specialized bus lanes in reduced population density regions also help get people moving and working. The buses and trains on these and current systems should be electrical, which is possible now.
Building the bridges, rails, and vehicles for all of these systems will offer abundant high-quality jobs for tens of thousands of individuals.
Additionally, building more biking lanes and prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists over cars won’t only promote more active transportation that’s good for one’s health but also make roads safer for all users–such as motorists.
More Focus Should Go Towards Developing Geothermal Power
Canada has a substantial geothermal power production potential. Geothermal power takes advantage of this natural heat generated under the earth’s surface. Much of the potential is concentrated in Alberta, BC, and NWT/Yukon. There’s also potential as far east as Saskatchewan.
Our American neighbors are already growing this source and have built plants that are now generating more than 3400 megawatts of electricity–enough to power 3.4 million homes! Research has demonstrated that among the barriers to creating this clean, renewable energy source is having access to accurate information regarding where especially the deep wells to achieve hot stones are best located.
The provincial and federal governments should invest in the research required to offer this information. They should also work together with the geothermal industry to eliminate the barriers to creating new clean, renewable energy supplies that will be required to quickly electrify heating and transport throughout North America and replace polluting power from fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal.
A significant additional advantage of this industry is that it may employ lots of the people who now work on drilling for gas and oil and building pipelines.
A Chance For Us To Build A Circular Economy
We know that currently, over 90 percent of the plastic we use is going to landfill. We also understand that we could significantly expand economic and employment benefits to society by increasing the re-use and recovery of these plastics. Jobs would be offered to collect, sort, and re-use of the plastics and create the new collection and sorting machines, new recycling procedures for the plastic, and new uses for this material that previously went to landfill.
This strategy will also reduce the collection costs for towns and cities and lessen the amount of plastic contaminating our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Greener Chemicals Mean Safer Food, Medicines, And Consumer Products
Green chemistry retains huge promise to replace the thousands of poisonous chemicals used in agricultural, consumer goods, and production. Green Chemistry is the composition of chemical products and procedures that reduce or eliminate the use and/or generation of toxic substances.
These substances do the same acts as synthetic chemicals but follow nature’s best approaches to solve human difficulties. Some common examples include cleaning solutions, hair dyes, and pharmaceuticals. These chemicals represent a fast-growing international market and (over 30 fold increase as 2011), and Canada can have the advantages of a leadership position in this region.
In the oil and gas sector, there’s a need to make sure that regulations that effectively prevent methane leaks are passed. These can ensure more employment for workers checking and fixing leaks and will lead to more gas to sell, rather than being wasted. Additionally, it is significant that abandoned and no-longer working wells be cleaned up, and asphalt sands tailings ponds are addressed. These are also designs that could employ thousands.
Investing in Preserving the Great Lakes Can Help Improve the Economy
By investing in water and wastewater treatment infrastructure and environmental restoration projects on the Great Lakes, Canada can create jobs, boost the economy, and protect our water sources for the long run. In the USA, by way of example, stimulation funding for Great Lakes restoration projects, in response to the 2008 fiscal crisis, led to $3.35 US of additional economic activity for every dollar invested through to 2036 and has generated or supported over 5,000 jobs up to now. We can make the same opportunity in Canada and support our economy while protecting and restoring the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Governments Need To Spend Wisely For A Better Future
Finally, government investments and new laws mustn’t prop up the expansion of fossil fuel, plastics, and traditional chemical businesses. Their voices will be loud and powerful as they seek to have enormous government tools to re-building the old economy. However, science tells us that a number of these industries must get smaller over time and other, cleaner, industries employ more individuals now and are poised for success as the world shifts to build a cleaner and more sustainable economy.
Suppose we take care of ourselves, family, and friends and invest in a cleaner and more employment rich future. In that case, we could emerge from this tricky situation with renewed energy and a strategy for Canada’s future.
Increased natural disasters of late- such as flooding and wildfires- have prompted Canada’s construction code rewrite. The new laws are poised to take effect in 2025.
As climate change intensifies, the possibility of disruptive environmental fluctuations will get a larger risk unless concrete carbon-reducing strategies are executed nationwide. With no modifications, damages connected to natural disasters could cost Canada $300 billion over the next ten years.
An official report published this month advocates for a new layout infrastructure to protect citizens from intense climate warming. These include directions on how cement is mixed, roofing criteria, and construction materials.
The new law is the “first substantive” move towards a more eco- friendly building code.
- New green design rules for buildings will become standard by 2025.
- Roofs will have to be certified for protection against extreme weather events.
- The concrete sidewalk will have to improve to mitigate flood.
- New measures will be executed for basement flooding protection.
- New weather snap for existing stormwater systems will be developed.
Provincial and territorial authorities will determine if specifics of the National Building Code are applied in their jurisdictions.
Actions Against Flooding
Natalia Moudrak, manager of weather resilience at the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre, writes in the report that flood is the biggest challenge for homeowners in Canada.
When floods hit Toronto town in 2018, the average cost to affected residents was $43,000.
The construction industry may face changes in the code, like obligating backflow preventers in new houses and building constructions outside of flood plains or adding new shingles to the roof.