Policy Solution

Building envelopes and materials

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: High performing building envelopes reduce heat gain as well as heat loss, lowering energy requirements. Materials commonly used to keep buildings warm in colder months also store heat in warmer months (e.g. concrete, tiles, brick, and stone).

Implementation: Establish zoning code or design regulations requiring efficient building envelopes.

Considerations for Use: This is most applicable to new developments. Improving existing building envelopes is often cost prohibitive, but owners can consider improving insulation and airtightness during major renovations.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
    Buildings and Built Form
  • Sectors:
    Buildings,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Property owners
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Decrease in building temperatures; Energy savings

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    Building
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Medium-term (3-9 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Private investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    Medium; High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Medium
  • Public Good:
    Low
  • GHG Reduction:
    High
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Save on utilities