The future of new Vancouver homes will be a little bit chillier since the Vancouver City Council approved mandatory mechanical air-cooling equipment in all new residences after 2025 in mid-May. All new projects and contracts will have to include a mechanical air-cooling system as part of a strategy to keep the city greener, as they will be zero-emissions buildings. These measures are expected to increase construction costs by 3.5%, and most new condos are already implementing them. The city staff estimated that the cost of these systems is between $8 to $10 per square foot. However, the prices will be lower since the cooling systems are part of a central heat pump terminal and are more energy-efficient comparing independent systems. Vancouver is not known for its hot and sunny weather, usually with comfortably warm weather and fresh breezes. It has always been one of the most enjoyable summers in Canada. However, recent events are concerning since last year’s summer heatwave, which caused hundreds of people to pass away in all British Columbia territory.
Ontario; similar to the other regions of Canada, already requires a cooling system due to its torrid summers. Most British Columbians are over-spending on poorly installed or incorrectly used, meaning they are not cooling down efficiently, causing high electricity bills and more waste of energy. BC Hydro estimates that some are spending at least $200 more on their summer energy bills than they need to.
Around 90% of people who use air conditioning systems set temperatures below the recommended temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, and one in three people have sat their air conditioners at 19 degrees Celsius unnecessarily. Other 30% use more than one portable air conditioning unit, which utility is the most inefficient by market.
According to BC Hydro, the use of air conditioners is increasing in British Columbia, and since 2001 it has tripled. One in ten residents of the Lower Mainland has at least three portable air conditioning units. 30% of people keep the air conditioning for their pets when there is no one home.
Along with the cooling requirements, the city has also approved new regulations for better ventilation filters, which will prevent more harm and effects of air pollution from vehicles, wildfires, and pollen allergy season, which is increasing due to climate change. The new air condition systems will provide both low-carbon heating and cooling. Hard-wired or plumbed air conditioning needs a two-directional electric heat pump engine. In that way, it can provide a green environment, causing zero emissions.
These changes are only for residential units taller than three stories high (residential units in Part 3 buildings) or that exceed 6458 square feet in area. They also need to be capable of keeping the whole structure at 26 degrees Celsius to keep residents of multi-family homes safe from the heat. In addition to that, home renovations from buildings that value around $250,000 must electrify all space with a heating system, including water, that way, they can reach the same standards as a new home. Other building design regulation changes include measures to provide support for owners of existing multi-family buildings, detached houses, and commercial buildings to install heat pumps.
They need to explore options to remove gas for cooking and fireplaces in new residential buildings; prioritise electrification over renewable gas in new and existing buildings. They also need to reduce carbon pollution from large existing office and retail buildings by 40% by 2030. It requires zero emissions by 2040 and creating a process to track and limit emissions from large existing commercial buildings. The new constructions expected to reach zero carbon pollution by 2025, and more than 90% compared the to mid-2000s. Additionally, all these measures and requirements will be a first for all of North America, which is now a new thing, is going to be a common thing in the future, limiting carbon pollution from materials and buildings, also reducing waste that goes to landfill. All buildings gradually will become more efficient, fewer polluters, greener, less expensive bills and more usable energy.