New Research to Help Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Buildings

Published on April 17, 2019

A recent study conducted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), has found errors with the way that we measure greenhouse gas emissions from the products that are used to construct homes and buildings.

The current system in place is the LCA, or rather, the Life-cycle Assessments of the products and designs used in home and building construction.

When an LCA is conducted on a home or building, the greenhouse gas emissions of all building products are estimated from the time they are made, to when they are used in a home, to when the home is demolished and the products degrade in a landfill.

Over 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada originate from our homes and our buildings, meaning it is important to have accurate and up-to-date information regarding how we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of our building products and designs.

The recent research from IISD has helped point out some of the flaws with LCAs, but it did state that it was currently the best method available for evaluating the greenhouse gas emissions from building products and building design.

One of the issues the research found with LCAs were their inconsistency between assessments, meaning that two assessments could be done on the same home or building and yield different results. This happens because the two different assessments use two different sets of assumptions and variables - which are not disclosed when the test is completed.

Another one of the issues, is that an LCA does not take into consideration the effect that geography has on greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a home that uses wood from California is measured with the same variables as a home that uses wood from New Brunswick, despite these two types of woods releasing greenhouse gases much differently. Instead an average is used, which can skew the results of the assessment, and reduce its accuracy.

Phillip Gass, the Senior Policy Advisor at IISD, said that LCAs are integral to our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions from building products, but that both policymakers and building designers should be aware of the uncertainties involved with the LCA process, and take them into consideration.

The study also includes suggestions for how LCAs could be improved to better guide our greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, noting that they should fully disclose their assumptions and utilize more data in their research.


Improve Energy Efficiency to Save Energy and Lower Carbon Emissions

By improving the energy efficiency of your home you may notice a few changes, such as: higher levels of home comfort, better interior air quality, significantly lower utility bills, and even a higher market value. To determine the most cost-effective way of improving your home’s energy efficiency, you should consider having an energy assessment conducted by a Registered Energy Advisor.

With an energy assessment from BSG, you can be made aware of exactly how your home is performing in terms of energy usage, and which areas could be the most easily and affordably improved. It also includes an estimate of your expected energy and utility savings for each suggested improvement, allowing you to make an informed decision that targets the most cost-effective solutions for the problem areas of your home.

Additionally, an energy assessment can help you qualify for up to $5,000 of home reno rebates from either Union Gas or Enbridge Gas (depending on your provider), making it even easier for you to see a return on your home improvements, and helping you to continue to save energy.


The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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