2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Costs of Green Residences in Canada: An Economic and Environmental Analysis of Developing Renewable Powered Building Clusters

Dr. Hirushie Karunathilake, University of British Columbia, Canada (Presenter)
Mr. Tharindu Prabatha Hewa Godella Waththage, University of British Columbia
Dr. Kasun Hewage, University of British Columbia, Canada
Dr. Rehan Sadiq, University of British Columbia, Canada

The interest in renewable energy as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels has grown in recently, in response to the environmental and economic concerns of energy use. Energy Step Codes are now mandating net-zero energy buildings, to facilitate the emissions reduction targets of Canada at provincial and federal levels. While net-zero energy buildings can deliver emissions benefits, the additional costs of implementing energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable generation is a major problem to the construction industry and community developers. While studies indicate that buyers are willing to pay a premium for “green” buildings, it is difficult to establish the economic viability of net-zero buildings without conducting a comprehensive economic assessment. This research proposes to quantify the economic and environmental impacts of on-site RE integration for residential building clusters. Building level-and cluster centralised RE facilities will be considered in the assessment, and the incremental costs of converting building clusters to net-zero status will be investigated. Based on the assessment, the increase in housing prices for different housing types (i.e. single-family detached, single-family attached, multi-unit residential buildings) due to net-zero or near-zero conversion will be identified using a scenario-based approach. Moreover, the residential emissions benefits that can be achieved by different RE investments will be quantified using life cycle assessment. Based on the economic and environmental impact analysis, the effect of clean energy transformation of housing affordability will be discussed. The findings will be useful to the construction industry in making their investment decisions for net-zero ready construction.