Medicine Hat News

Federal government unveils $1.5B plan to boost green building


Infrastruc­ture Minister Catherine McKenna has announced a $1.5-billion program designed to spur green building through retrofits, upgrades and new constructi­on of public institutio­ns.

The five-year plan aims to save energy and cut costs and pollution while creating jobs, with potential projects ranging from environmen­tally friendly community centres to energy-efficient library windows.

“We need to be tackling climate change and buildings are 20 per cent of our emissions,” McKenna said in an interview Wednesday.

Community centres, sports facilities and cultural spaces account for 28 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in municipall­y owned facilities, according to the Federation of

Canadian Municipali­ties.

McKenna said the program, which she hopes will dovetail with $2.75 billion in short-term transit spending announced last month, will invest in projects that meet a minimum threshold for energy efficiency and boost inclusion, particular­ly in highneeds communitie­s.

“It has the potential to positively impact remote, rural and marginaliz­ed Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And these are the communitie­s that are most often impacted by climate change, and will be in the future,” said Akua Schatz, a vice-president at the Canada Green Building Council.

The federal cash will also complement $2 billion for large-scale energy-efficient building retrofits set aside by Canada’s infrastruc­ture-financing agency.

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