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3.2. Build new buildings to be net-zero carbon, or build to transition to net-zero

Since most buildings are built to last, the choices made while constructing a building will affect energy needs in the community for decades to come. Constructing net-zero carbon buildings that don’t use fossil fuels, is easier than changing existing buildings to meet those standards. Therefore, when a new building is built, it needs to be designed to be highly efficient right from the start. However, the amount of carbon used in the building process and creating the building materials can be so significant that it takes decades to pay it back in operational carbon savings.

Policies that support sustainable building standards for new builds are critical to ensuring we meet our GHG reduction targets. This includes looking at the entire lifecycle of our buildings to address GHGs in the materials we use and where we source them. This applies to the development of all forms of homes (townhomes, multi-unit residential buildings, rural and urban single-family homes, etc.) and all industries/sectors (small business, commercial, education, industrial, healthcare etc.). This also presents opportunities to use planning development review processes to support and integrate net-zero carbon buildings into future developments.