By Brandon Harding, Vice President
New Westminster and Port Coquitlam fight against climate protection by restricting property owners from upgrading their buildings, says new data. A study released by FortisBC shows how minor improvements can lead to reducing emissions by the equivalent of 43,000 gas-powered cars. “The basic upgrades alone reduce domestic hot water energy use by an average of about 12 percent per year”, this has a significant impact on our ecological footprint. If the basic upgrades have substantial differences, then imagine the premium upgrades from a full building retrofit. Add up triple-paned windows, reinsulated walls, new high-efficiency boiler and hot water systems, LED lighting, watertight faucets and taps, and so much more that go into revitalizing a sixty-year-old plus rental building. What these municipalities fail to understand is that most of our existing rental stock was built pre rent controls, and every building component is old and inefficient. In most cases, the entire building is better suited to be stripped of all the original material and replaced with the latest environmentally sound product.
If communities want green cities, we need to support and aid the people working towards that goal. Tenants and leaders should be supportive of any owner looking to improve their environmental impact and not demonize them for causing a disruption for the work to occur. In recent climate marches, we have seen renters suing our leaders for their lack of action on climate change. On the other hand, they fight, appeal, shame, and victimize owners involved in making the necessary improvements to reduce emissions. We have seen councillors attend rallies fighting for properties not to be upgraded and left with existing inefficient components. Our building codes are at very high standards relative to other parts of the world. Any builder doing renovations must follow these building codes in order to get occupancy permits and be able to rent out their units after the work is completed. When you remove barriers and red tape, you allow these buildings to realize these critical enhancements. If leaders truly want to stop climate change, they need to ignore the rhetoric of hypocritical renters and move towards supporting property owners trying to upgrade to higher efficiency buildings.