Track 6: INTEGRATING OLD AND NEW – BUILDINGS, DISTRICTS, and LANDSCAPES / Volet 6: Intégrer l’ancien et le nouveau – Immeubles, quartiers et paysages

The Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program: Connecting heritage and sustainability goals for homes in Vancouver

Friday, October 13
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

In 2011, the City of Vancouver launched the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan and in 2015 updated the City’s Building By-Law to require more energy efficiency upgrades in both new construction and renovations. Both initiatives emphasise ‘greener’ buildings but pose the question, ‘Where do heritage homes and the many other older homes that contribute character to Vancouver’s neighbourhoods fit in?’ Data from retrofits in Vancouver homes indicated the opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) increases with the age of the home. The push for greater energy efficiency comes at a time of intense real estate market pressure of high prices and rapid redevelopment of older homes as well as heightened interest in retaining heritage and character homes. Supporting upgrading rather than demolition can promote heritage and character retention and also reduce waste and further achieve sustainability goals.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF) launched the Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant (HERG) as a one-year pilot program in 2015 and it has now been renewed and expanded for a further two years. The program focuses on improving the sustainability and comfort of older homes while respecting their heritage value and is open to homes built before 1940 or that are on the Vancouver Heritage Register, over 20,000 homes city-wide. Participants receive direct grant support for energy evaluations and retrofits as well as help to access available rebates from the utilities. They are advised on the most effective and appropriate retrofits for the home and how to minimally impact heritage fabric. With funding from the City of Vancouver, the program was developed by VHF, City of Vancouver Sustainability Group and Heritage Conservation Program, and City Green Solutions (CGS). It was launched and is managed by VHF while CGS deliver the technical aspects of energy evaluations, coaching and data calculation.

Twenty-six applications were received with nineteen accepted as program participants. Ten homes completed the program. For these nineteen homes, the average GHG reduction potential was calculated at 3.43 tonnes annually. The total potential GHG reduction across the homes was over 65 tonnes annually. The average annual GHG reduction achieved in the ten homes to complete was 2.07 tonnes and ranged up to 6.52 tonnes. In addition to HERG funds, the ten homes received over $19,000 from the utilities’ rebate program as a result of participating. A wide array of retrofits completed ranged from small interventions to significant upgrades.

The pilot provided excellent information to enable the shaping of a renewed program and the relaunched HERG has added new measures. HERG provides a strong opportunity to deliver GHG reductions in older homes while promoting the most appropriate and effective measures for character and heritage houses.

Learning Objectives:

Judith Mosley, Msc Conservation of Historic Buildings. CAHP

Executive Director
Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Judith Mosley joined Vancouver Heritage Foundation as Executive Director in 2013. She holds a degree in History from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings from the University of Bath. Between degrees, she gained experience in marketing and management. The dedicated staff team at VHF promote and support heritage conservation in Vancouver through awareness and education programming, projects and granting. Judith became a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals in 2016.


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The Heritage Energy Retrofit Grant program: Connecting heritage and sustainability goals for homes in Vancouver

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