Policy Solution

Energy efficient building codes

Incentive

Overview:

Summary: Setting more energy efficient building energy codes can drive the implementation of cooling strategies. Mechanical cooling often makes up a large portion of total building energy use. Adoption of more energy efficient designs and technologies such as passive cooling and sensor systems to measure usage can reduce overall heat gain by reducing waste heat and minimize the building's cooling load.

Implementation: Incentivize property owners and developments to meet more stringent (also known as "stretch") energy codes through property tax rebates, expedited permitting, and technical training.

Considerations for Use: This intervention will have the greatest impact in geographies anticipating increasing or continued growth with new development. Governing authorities without sufficient capacity or authority to adopt regulations could consider voluntary requirements. Energy efficient building codes are particularly impactful in hot and humid climates where mechanical cooling makes up a significant portion of energy costs.

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

    IncentiveFinancial and non-financial incentives to encourage stakeholders to implement heat risk reduction and preparedness solutions, including rebates, tax credits, expedited permitting, development/zoning bonuses, and more.
  • 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, Public Works,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents; Heat-vulnerable communities
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of complying buildings; Energy savings; Change in energy consumption

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    City
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    Medium; High

    Benefits:

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