The Road to Net Zero Starts Today
June 10, 2019
Congratulations to us! Guelph City Council set a goal to be a Net Zero community and we created an Action Plan to reach that goal by 2050. Now we can pat ourselves on the back and let businesses, developers and residents get us there.
Wait a minute . . .
Let's have a look at that Our Energy Guelph Action Plan . . .
Action # 1: Incrementally increase the number of net zero new homes to 100% by 2030.
Action # 8: Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed on 80% of all buildings by 2050.
Action# 9: Heat pumps for hot water installations are scaled up to 80% of residential buildings by 2050.
If we are serious about action, it starts today.
Tonight in Council Chambers, we will receive a planning application for a Zoning By-law Amendment for a new development to permit 57 cluster townhouses at 78 - 82 Eastview Road. The Eastview application has the distinction of being the first new development site to come to Council since we unanimously endorsed the Pathway to Net Zero Action Plan and passed a motion to acknowledge a climate crisis.
As a refresher, Council passed the following two motion at its meeting of May 27, 2019:
"That the City of Guelph acknowledges the impacts of climate change and joins citizens, cities and countries around the world in acknowledging a climate crisis."
"that in response, commits to the collaborative implementation of the Community Energy Initiative net zero and corporate renewable energy goals."
Acknowleding the climate crisis, and commiting to act, requires bold leadership. Tonight, I will ask the developer if 78 - 82 Eastview Road will be a net zero carbon development. If the answer is "no" the application will not have my support.
For the Eastview site, the meeting tonight is the first meeting under the Planning Act, which means Council will only "receive" the report. No decision will be made on approval. After tonight, our city planning staff will go back and review our Official Plan and Zoning policies and they will come back with a recommendation to Council at a later date with a recommendation to approve, or reject. Prior to this application coming back to Council, I will ask our staff to work with the developer to achieve net zero, or add a condition that this development be net zero before Site Plan approval is granted.
Some will say "we don't have the technology yet" or "it's too expensive" to build net zero housing. I'm not buying it.
We have the technology. Net Zero new subdivisions are being built across North America. West5 in London, Ontario is just down the road. Check it out. Locally, we just approved an application on Janefield where the owners have committed to a Net Zero high density project.
We can't afford climate change. The cost of a net zero building is not only becoming cheaper by the day. And it makes sense for the new homeowners. Net Zero homes have significantly lower monthly operating costs, so we are supporting our future homeowners by saving them money.
We can create a win-win-win climate crisis solution if we all work together to achieve our Net Zero by 2050 goal.
- The Community wins when we lower carbon emissions and address the climate crisis.
- The Homeowner wins with lower utility and operating costs on a new home.
- The Developer wins when buyers flock to Guelph because they want to live in a community that takes the environment seriously.
If we have any chance of meeting our Net Zero by 2050 target as a community, we must take action now.
It starts today.