Will Canda Find a Way to be a Global Climate Action Leader?

Transportation: EV-ZEV-PHEV-iZEV

Canada wants to be a global leader in carbonless transportation – with a federal Canada-wide target of 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2040, according to this Transport Canada website https://bit.ly/3bo05Yi.

And, apparently, Canadians have a big “drive” for being early EV adopters -bad pun intended 🙂 .

ZEVs include EVs (battery electric vehicles), hydrogen fuel cell elecric vehicles and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles).

 iZEVs (Incentives for Zero Emission Vehicles) are rebates funded by the federal government that are intended to accelerate progress toward the 2040 target.

Two types of incentives are offered, to a maximum of $5000 for eligible electric vehicles, and $2500 off for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The rebates apply to new car purchases and/or leases made on or after the program launch date of May 1, 2019.

This Global News article outlines what consumers need to know about the iZEVs, and lists the 9 eligible EVs and 12 eligible PHEVs as: EVs – Chevrolet Bolt, Ford Focus Elecric, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Nico Electric, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3 Standard Regular, Volkswagon e-Golf; and the 12 eligible PHEVs – Audi A3 e-tron, Chevrolet Volt, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Clarity PHEV, Hyundai Sonata PHEV, Kia Niro PHEV, Mini Cooper S E Countryman, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Toyota Prius Prime https://bit.ly/39d0Xx0. We were encouraged to learn how many ZEVs are already on the market here in Canada.

Readers who are seriously considering buying or leasing a ZEV in the future would be best to consult the official list plus application forms, at Transport Canada’s website at: https://bit.ly/39kcpXB.

For lucky Quebec citizens, the federal rebates are in addition to provincial incentives of up to $8K offered by Quebec https://bit.ly/3boxCBD.

British Columbia is the only other Canadian province currently offering its citizens incentives to adopt ZEV technology, although their incentives  of up to $3000 (EV) and $1500 (PHEV) are less than Quebec’s https://bit.ly/3bpfiby.

This Globe and Mail business article notes that Canadians are among the fastest adopters of EVs, and warns that the $300 million  iZEV program funding is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and might run out before its intended three-year span. The article says that the federal government indicates that almost 50% of the fund has been accessed in the first eight months of the program https://tgam.ca/2HeijgN.

Building Innovations – Deep Water Cooling Systems

In our research for this Blog, we gravitate toward innovation stories, particularly if they are by and/or about, Canadians. For us, they are a source of optimism and Canadian pride.

This Globe and Mail article profiles some ground-breaking (literally) and “revolutionary energy and carbon-saving techniques” that are being implemented in the design and building of The Well in downtown Toronto, on a site that was formerly the headquarters for the Globe and Mail.

The seven-storey building will serve a projected 11,000 people daily, in a mix of residential, retail and office space.  The core of the project is its innovative heating and cooling system, powered by a “giant thermal battery” (i.e., “the well”) which is “a multi-million litre underground hole that extends into the bedrock from below the lowest parking level to a few metres above sea level.” Very cool https://bit.ly/2SoOjUE.

Another “cool” feature, is that the company has designed a way to use heat pumps to capture heat that is drawn away from cooling systems (needed to keep computer systems cool by, for example,  nearby companies with large data centres and cloud computing providers) and reuse it for space heating, rather than dissipating the warm air into the outdoor air. According to the article, heat pumps also can be three times more efficient in their use of electricity over baseboard heating.

Wood High Rises – Really?

Innovations in “cross-laminated timber” (CLT) by researchers in Austria and Germany according to this CBC article have set the stage for stronger, fire-resistant wood panels and beams that will enable an “engineered wood product for building on the scale of cement and steel.” Proponents of CLT identify two green benefits for adopting such building innovations: “the wood stores carbon for the lifetime of the building…; and, it would reduce emissions linked to steel and cement production…”.

Lowering carbon emissions in building construction is an important part of moving toward a zero-emissions world, since the article notes that cement production is currently “the second-largest industrial emitter in the world, after the fossil fuel industry.” https://bit.ly/2OGvqvr

Building code restrictions in Canadian provinces are beginning to be updated, to allow for previously prohibited high rises constructed of wood. Acton Ostry Architects in Vancouver got special exemptions to build the Brock Commons Tallwood House in the University of British Columbia. The 18-storey student residence was the tallest wood building in the world when it opened in 2017. The article goes on to profile additional Canadian wood tower projects  in Victoria, Vancouver Island and Toronto. It also notes that Alberta and the federal government will be amending building codes to remove the existing six storey height limit on wood buildings.

Last week, Randy shared his family’s experience with installing a solar panel roof on their home in Edmonton. Thank you, Randy, for being such a terrific and generous guest blogger!

That got us curious to learn about any incentives for adopting solar energy.

We have not found information about Canadian solar energy incentives for individuals, unfortunately.

However, we did find this federal fund that is available to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Federal Solar Energy Incentives

More acronyms. Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) launched in May 2019, offers eligible SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick federal funding for energy efficiency projects. Got us wondering, why not Alberta which seriously needs support to develop alternatives to oil and gas?

According to this article, “eligible projects include building retrofits, improved industrial processes, cleaner transportation, fuel switching, and the production of renewable energy, including solar energy projects…” Projects could be eligible to receive up to 25 percent of costs, ranging from $20,000 to $250,000 https://bit.ly/2tNtHxm.

In next week’s Blog post we will start planning ahead for Earth Day 2020 which is only two months away on April 5, 2020.

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