VANCOUVER – Residents of six buildings will soon benefit from renovations that will make homes safer, more energy-efficient, less polluting and more resilient to extreme weather.

Six design teams have been selected to develop retrofit designs for six low- to mid-rise social housing buildings in Kamloops, Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Vancouver and Victoria.

The announcement from the Province, together with BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC), the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and the Pembina Institute, marks the next stage in the Reframed Lab initiative, a building retrofit design program launched in June 2020.

The six design teams will exchange ideas on cutting carbon pollution (including technological solutions such as heat pumps, heat-recovery systems and low-carbon materials), driving down energy demand and improving climate-change resiliency, and will explore innovations in seismic upgrades and on-site solar generation.

The buildings’ tenants will not be displaced from their homes during renovations, as most of the work will be on the buildings’ exteriors. Work is scheduled to begin in fall 2022. David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing  said, “We are supporting these six projects using cutting-edge technology to provide a model for deep energy upgrades, starting with the retrofits of six social housing buildings in B.C. This work will improve air quality and energy efficiency, helping with tenant comfort and operator expenses.”

The design teams, selected through a request for proposals process undertaken in 2021, will create solutions for their assigned buildings with support from dozens of other construction-sector partners. The Province is supporting the design and capital costs of this project through funding from the Capital Renewal Fund, a 10-year $1.1-billion investment committed to preserving and improving B.C.’s 51,000 units of social housing.

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said, “By working together with different agencies, organizations and orders of government, we’re supporting innovative new ways to improve housing options for everyone. Through CleanBC, we’re investing in better, more energy-efficient social housing that will reduce climate pollution, support new job opportunities in the clean-buildings sector and improve resiliency so we’re better prepared for a changing climate.”

This initiative also received $460,000 from the Province’s CleanBC Building Innovation Fund (CBBIF). The CBBIF Fund has provided $9.65 million to manufacturers, developers, builders and researchers to demonstrate and commercialize new energy-efficient and low-carbon building technologies. Their objective is to increase the availability, affordability and acceptability of made-in-B.C. building technologies that can be scaled up to help achieve provincial climate targets, prepare the market for future building regulations and drive economic development.

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation  said, “By supporting made-in-B.C. innovation in our building sector, we’re increasing the capacity of the B.C. building industry to meet the goals laid out in CleanBC, while providing good, family-supporting jobs. Our objectives are to increase the availability and affordability of made-in-B.C. low-carbon building solutions that can be scaled up to help achieve provincial climate targets and drive economic development.”

The City of Vancouver will be providing technical and regulatory guidance to support the work, which aligns with the city’s climate and housing affordability goals. The cities of Kamloops, Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Victoria are also providing regulatory support for the projects in their communities.