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Meeting Vancouver’s New Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits with AME’s BEST

Sep 19, 2023 | News

(3-minute read)

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 As the world continues to deal with the effects of climate change, every industry has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most significant contributors to these emissions is from the existing stock of commercial and multi-family buildings. Recognizing this, the City of Vancouver has established a new bylaw #13742 Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits, which addresses a path forward for existing buildings, capping their emissions and encouraging the transition to renewable energy and technologies. AME’s Building Energy Services Team (BEST) is here to help clients meet these requirements with practical, building-specific solutions that are best suited and financially viable.

Reporting Requirements:

The City of Vancouver’s Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits bylaw will roll out in a phased approach, starting with mandatory reporting. This mandatory reporting schedule is currently planned to roll out through 2025, as the following shows:

City of Vancouver Blog Table

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Limits:

The next step in Vancouver’s Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits bylaw begins in 2026 with limits on GHG emission limits. The first two building typologies impacted will be large ( 9,290m2 [100,000ft2]) commercial office and retail buildings (D and E Major Occupancies) or mixed-use buildings (MUB) that are ≥50% of either of the Group D or E occupancies.

The current limits that will be implemented are:

  1. 25 kgCO2e/m2 of GFA for Group D Occupancies
  2. 14 kgCO2e/m2 of GFA for Group E Occupancies

For buildings that exceed these limitations, an additional permit fee of $350/tCO2e will be included to the annual carbon emissions operating permit.

As the City continues its reduction of carbon emissions in existing buildings, these limits will reduce to 0 kgCO2e/m2 effective January 1, 2040.

“… if not addressed, this could lead to an additional ~$65,000 in operating permit fees per year for GHG emissions beginning in 2026 and ~$800,000 in operating permit fees due to heat energy surplus beginning in 2040.

Heat Energy Limits:

After GHG limitations come heat energy limits in 2040, with the initial parameters being for ( 9,290m2 [100,000ft2]) commercial office and retail buildings (D and E Major Occupancies) or mixed-use buildings (MUB) that are ≥50% of either of the Group D or E occupancies. The heat energy limits are defined as being the total gas used in a building operation, including district heat that is consumed within a building (excluding the electricity portion). For the initial limits that will be implemented, they will be as follows:

  1. 09 GJ/m2 of GFA for Group D Occupancies (with or without connection to district energy utility provider)
  2. 09 GJ/m2 of GFA for Group E Occupancies (with or without connection to district energy utility provider)

For buildings that exceed these limitations, an additional permit fee of $100/GJ will be included to the annual carbon emissions operating permit.

 

Case Study:

For example, BEST recently reviewed an 18-storey office building from the early 1970’s. 

This building has seen equipment replacement throughout the life of the building, improving its overall efficiencies with current technologies for the time. The building operates a high-temperature heating water system, that serves terminal units and domestic hot water production.

 Even with the upgrades in efficiency, the building currently exceeds the City of Vancouver’s new limits.

As the graph shows, if not addressed, this could lead to an additional ~$65,000 in operating permit fees per year for GHG emissions beginning in 2026 and ~$800,000 in operating permit fees due to heat energy surplus beginning in 2040.

CoV Case Study Graph

Conclusion:

To put it lightly, the City of Vancouver’s new Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits will have major impacts on the existing building stock. If you would like to talk to our Building Energy Services Team about how Vancouver’s bylaw will affect your building, contact Mike Kasuya, Scott Stewart, or Charles Lankester. AME’s BEST can help develop plans to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, support capital equipment replacements to ensure the best equipment is being chosen, and assist in finding suitable incentive funding to facilitate these major projects.

AME’s BEST takes yesterday’s buildings, bringing them up to today’s code, for a better tomorrow.

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