We will be providing climate and sustainability policy and advisory services for this building retrofit project in North Vancouver, Canada.
Extreme heat and wildfire smoke events experienced across Metro Vancouver over the past decade have had significant impacts on human health. This is largely because buildings in the region were not designed for the conditions that we are increasingly seeing due to climate change.
These recent events have put a sharp focus on the need to design and retrofit buildings to better protect thermal safety and indoor air quality. While there is increasing awareness in the local building sector about the need to design buildings for extreme heat and wildfire smoke, costs and uncertainty around best practices for design present a barrier to implementation. Therefore, there is a critical need and opportunity for local governments to set policy frameworks and standards to guide more resilient retrofits and designs within their jurisdictions.
To meet this need, the City of North Vancouver (CNV) partnered with Metro Vancouver, the City of Vancouver, and Vancouver Coastal Health to identify the policy and program options that can most effectively reduce heat-related and wildfire smoke-related mortality and morbidity in existing multi-family residential buildings.
The partners contracted our team in November 2023 to provide technical analysis and recommend policy and program solutions for building retrofits that will enhance resilience and reduce health impacts from extreme heat and wildfire smoke events in the short, medium, and long term.
We will evaluate technical options for building retrofits and other measures that can be deployed to achieve health objectives, including thermal safety and indoor air quality standards. The team will then develop specific policy and program recommendations that would enable the large-scale application of the most promising building retrofits and measures identified by the technical options analysis.
The strategic sequence of policies and programs will aim to result in reducing heat and wildfire smoke-related mortality and morbidity in existing multi-family residential buildings in Metro Vancouver while preventing any negative impacts to (and indeed, seeking to improve) housing security, social equity, and emissions reductions.
As a regional partnership initiative, the project presents an important opportunity to lead in-depth technical analysis and develop a policy framework that local governments across the Lower Mainland can draw on to build more climate-ready homes in their communities.