In order for the City of Vancouver to achieve its vision for “all new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2020”, a methodology is required by which energy and carbon emissions associated with buildings are supported by meaningful and defensible performance targets.
This study addresses “mid-rise” multi-family residential buildings which typically comprise three- to six-storey condominium or apartment buildings. Mid-rise residential buildings in Vancouver are typically constructed from either concrete, wood or, very rarely, steel. As such they offer an opportunity to go beyond the realm of operational energy and, for the first time in Canada, consider the impacts associated with the materials selected for construction in a regulatory context. Experience from Switzerland, a global leader in low carbon building, shows that as operational energy consumption goes down, so embodied energy becomes increasingly important. Ultimately, embodied energy can form the greater portion of the energy/carbon “footprint” of a highly operationally efficient building.