Vancouver is on the road to ensuring all new buildings contribute zero greenhouse gas emissions. A string of progressive policy actions are being put in place to require future generations of buildings to be the greenest yet.

Vancouver has developed the most stringent building codes in North America for a cold climate city, in an effort to cut emissions in half from newly constructed buildings under seven stories high. Energy efficiency standards were set higher than LEED Gold standards by focusing on greenhouse gas emissions rather than energy consumption. These ambitious codes and regulations are part of Vancouver’s Green Buildings program, which set the city on the path to eliminate emissions in new buildings by 2030.

8 kg of CO2 saved per meter squared of all new construction compared to 2007

Cities100 – 2017

Buildings are an important area of focus for the Canadian city if it is to achieve its goal of 80% carbon emission reductions by 2050. Thanks to a large-scale hydroelectric plant, the city’s electricity supply is 93% renewable, so by focusing on building highly efficient new buildings, Vancouver can make big strides towards a zero-carbon future.


The challenge

Roughly 55% of city-wide emissions are from buildings, so making improvements to building design is a top priority. Ensuring new buildings go above and beyond internationally recognized standards demonstrates global climate leadership.


Economic Vancouver’s Green Buildings program has evolved in step with the building industry, and ambitious new targets will continue to ensure the city is a center of expertise in building science, design, and manufacturing to drive innovation across the continent.

Environmental Vancouver’s Green Buildings program seeks to reduce emissions from buildings by 20% by 2020 and further reduce emissions by at least 80% before 2050.

Social Green building design and construction jobs increased by 50% between 2010 and 2013, and the city aims to reach a 100% increase in the near future.

About Vancouver

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in Canada. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city. Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top-ten of the world’s most well-living cities for five consecutive years. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry.

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Global Goals addressed