Buildings represent a massive, unavoidable challenge in responding to climate change. Nearly 40% of global emissions are related to our homes, offices, and other indoor spaces. Because of Canada’s cold climate, our buildings need even greater inputs of energy than the global average.
In order to meet its Edmonton Declaration pledge, the City of Edmonton must stay within a carbon budget of 155 Mt CO2e. Up to 20% of Edmonton’s greenhouse gas reductions must come from Emissions Neutral Buildings, and housing is a large segment of the current and future building stock.
Housing dramatically impacts climate change in three ways:
- the carbon emitted during its construction,
- the carbon emitted for operations (heating and electricity) over its lifetime,
- and the carbon emitted by its occupants for transportation due to the house’s location (centrally-located homes generally result in shorter trips and more trips suitable to cycling or walking).
In Edmonton, there is an opportunity for a type of house that will dramatically reduce all three types of carbon emissions: a carbon-negative, net-zero backyard house.