Climate Action: How to Take Action, Without Taking a Hit

Greenhouse Gases and the Effects on the Earth  

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) occur naturally and are imperative to humans’ survival and living organisms on Earth. GHGs keep the Earth warm enough by retaining heat from the sun and not allowing it to reflect into space, thus making it livable. Unfortunately, after more than a century of deforestation, industrialization and large-scale agriculture, the quantities of GHGs in the atmosphere have reached record levels that have not been seen in three million years. 


The Problem 

The top five emitters for Canada in 2018 (AB, ON, QC, SK & BC) released 91% of the total GHG emissions. Out of the top five emitters, Alberta ranked the highest with a total of 272.5 Mt of GHGs, and within that same year, Canada’s building sector emitted 92.5 Mt of CO2. Read more here: more information
Changes need to be made to reduce our GHG emissions. Canada’s Green Building Council (CaGBC) believes we can reduce 19.4 megatonnes of emissions between 2017 and 2030 by undertaking deep retrofits for 60% of buildings, incorporating solar power (or other renewable energy for 40% of buildings) and switching fuel sources to reduce 20% of emissions.  

Zero Carbon Buildings 

CaGBC’s ‘Zero Carbon Building- Performance Standard’ verifies the achievement of zero-carbon operations. A Zero Carbon Building is a highly energy-efficient building that produces carbon-free renewable energy or high-quality carbon offsets to offset the emissions associated with building operations. A net emission of zero can be reasonably achieved by completing energy audits to identify areas of improvement to reduce operational carbon and purchasing avoided emissions such as exported green power and carbon offsets. 

The Solution 

Energy audits provide information on energy use in the facility. With this information, companies can discover their energy use and, more importantly, their carbon emissions status. The final deliverable of an energy audit identifies opportunities to reduce utility usage and costs, improve reliability and reduce carbon emissions. 
However, the cost of energy audits does not make sense for every business. We believe that energy efficiency and carbon reduction options should be available to everyone. To align this belief with our vision of being a leader in using technology and sustainable resources to reduce energy consumption and operating and construction costs for our clients, we created DeCarbon. 


DeCarbon is an engineered carbon calculator that gives businesses the tools to fight for a sustainable future by providing a plan for changed behaviour, information on infrastructure upgrades to lower energy, operations and maintenance costs, and the ability to purchase carbon offsets. 
The carbon calculator takes actual energy data and generates an energy use intensity (EUI/CO2) emissions audit. This audit is based on advanced engineering principles and methods from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) methodology. 

In addition to reducing energy, operation and maintenance costs, our solution provides businesses with the opportunity to participate in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, Canada’s commitment to reduce 30% emissions by 2030 for the Paris Agreement and take steps to achieve a Zero Carbon Building. 

How Carbon Offsets Work 

Carbon offsets reduce carbon or other GHGs emissions made to compensate for emissions created elsewhere. Carbon offsetting allows you to compensate for carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions you produce by reducing emissions elsewhere. 
Once your carbon emissions report is calculated through DeCarbon, a report will be generated, giving you a total of your emissions expressed in tonnes. From here, you choose a certified project you would like to purchase carbon offsets for. These certified projects reduce CO2 by capturing/storing CO2 or preventing new emissions. Project types range but can include the following: reforestation, landfill gas capture and wind farms. The benefits from carbon offset projects extend beyond reducing emissions, such as providing sustainable work and bettering communities, nature conservation and promoting biodiversity. 



CaGBC: Building Solutions to Climate Change 

CaGBC: Zero Carbon Building Performance Standard: Version 2