THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 17, 2017
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources met this day at 5 p.m. to study the effects of transitioning to a low carbon economy.
Senator Richard Neufeld (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good evening colleagues and welcome to this meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
My name is Richard Neufeld and I am honoured to serve as chair of this committee. I am a senator for British Columbia.
I wish to welcome all those who are with us in the room and viewers across the country who may be watching on television or online. As a reminder to those watching, these committee hearings are open to the public and available online on the new Senate website at sencanada.ca. All other committee-related business can also be found online, including past reports, bills studied and lists of witnesses.
I would now ask senators around the table to introduce themselves. I will begin by introducing the deputy chair, Senator Paul Massicotte from Quebec.
Senator Massicotte: Good day.
Senator Griffin: Diane Griffin, Prince Edward Island.
Senator MacDonald: Michael MacDonald, Nova Scotia.
Senator Galvez: Rosa Galvez, Quebec.
Senator Wetston: Howard Wetston, Toronto, Ontario.
Senator Dean: Tony Dean, Ontario.
Senator Seidman: Judith Seidman, Montreal, Quebec.
The Chair: I also want to introduce the staff, beginning with the clerk, Maxime Fortin, and our Library of Parliament analysts, Marc LeBlanc and Sam Banks.
I want to inform all senators that we will discuss future business after we hear from our witnesses tonight. It should take no more than 10 minutes, so please stick around for that.
Colleagues, in March 2016 the Senate mandated our committee to embark on an in-depth study of the effects, challenges and costs of transitioning to a lower carbon economy. The Government of Canada has pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is a big undertaking.
Our committee has taken a sector-by-sector approach to this study. We will study five sectors of the Canadian economy, which are responsible for over 80 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. They are electricity, transportation, oil and gas, emission-intensive trade-exposed industries and buildings.
Our first interim report on the electricity sector was released on March 7, and our second one on the transportation sector was released on June 22.
Today, for the fifty-second meeting on our current study, I am pleased to welcome from Public Services and Procurement Canada, Kevin Radford, Assistant Deputy Minister, Real Property Branch, and Veronica Silva, Director General, Technical Services; and from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, we welcome Taki Sarantakis, Associate Secretary, and Nick Xenos, Executive Director, Centre for Greening Government.
Thank you for joining us. Please proceed with your opening statements, after which we will go to questions and answers. The floor is yours, sir.
Taki Sarantakis, Associate Secretary, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: It is a pleasure and an honour to be here today to talk to you about the Government of Canada’s greening agenda. I have a short prepared opening statement that I will read, and then we can go to your questions.
As you know, cutting Canada’s GHG emissions is a major priority for the Government of Canada. In fact, the Government of Canada has committed to reducing its national emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.
In March 2016, the government, along with provincial and territorial counterparts, developed the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This important work has been led by our colleagues at Environment and Climate Change Canada. In the pan-Canadian framework, the government committed to reducing GHG emissions to 40 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 or sooner within the Government of Canada, and that is greater than the 30 per cent we have committed to for Canada as a whole outside of government operations.
Moreover, the Government of Canada has committed to using 100 per cent clean electricity by 2025, and it has committed to reducing emissions from buildings and fleets, as well as being an early adopter of building standards for all new government buildings. In addition, the government has been working very hard to establish an inventory that will chronicle and detail our GHG emissions within the Government of Canada.
To meet the 40 per cent reduction target, we have established the Centre for Greening Government within Treasury Board Secretariat, led by Mr. Xenos. The centre has three primary responsibilities: to track and report on federal source emissions, to coordinate the government’s overall efforts, and to drive results toward meeting the government’s objective in this area.
The centre has already made progress in a number of areas. Earlier this year, we organized two roundtables. The first one was for federal employees on greening government operations.
The second brought together our partners in business and academia to learn from their experiences in greening procurement and adopting green technologies. In July, the centre posted a data set on the greening government section of canada.ca showing emissions from 15 departments and agencies in the Government of Canada. I understand you have this tabled before you, and we would be pleased to answer any questions on that.
The graphic also shows the emissions and progress by department and the source of emissions by fuel type.
That was the first time the government has publicly reported this data.
The Centre for Greening Government is tabulating results for the last two years and will report them as they become available. We proceed to update emissions annually.
Finally, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada has also proposed amendments to the Federal Sustainable Development Act through Bill C-57, an important instrument for us. The proposed amendments will increase the number of organizations that report on the strategy and their emissions.
Looking forward, we will continue reviewing the government’s policies to strengthen greening and achieve our low-carbon target.
With that, I will turn it over to my colleague, Mr. Radford, from Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Kevin Radford, Assistant Deputy Minister, Real Property Branch, Public Services and Procurement Canada: Thank you for the opportunity to appear and speak about how Canada’s buildings and infrastructure can contribute to a low-carbon economy. I am happy to share with you the important work we’ve undertaken and are continuing to undertake at Public Services and Procurement Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings and operations and to move our portfolio toward a carbon neutral reality by 2030.
If we as a country, government and people are serious about moving toward an environmentally sustainable future that among other things does not depend on renewable greenhouse gas-emitting carbon-based fuels, then we need to make some fundamental changes in the way we work, live and make real estate investment decisions.
Buildings are significant emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing 23 per cent of GHG emissions in Canada. As providers of accommodation to the Government of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada is in a unique position to have a direct and significant impact on the greening of government operations and reduction of GHG emissions from a Government of Canada perspective. By making smart portfolio decisions and working with our partners in communities where we serve, we can influence further emission reductions from transportation by locating buildings closer to major transit and to where people live.
Reducing our environmental footprint is one of PSPC’s top priorities. We have already implemented a variety of initiatives to reduce the environmental footprint of our Government of Canada workplaces, including the move toward optimizing our space usage and lowering energy consumption for our federal buildings. In fact, we have already exceeded federal targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions and our plans are even more ambitious for the future.
We presently have 197 energy efficiency/greenhouse gas reduction projects approved and being implemented across the country. Some examples are converting lighting in our buildings from fluorescent to light emitting diodes or LEDs, leveraging the technology of smart building initiatives, as well as roof, building automation systems and boiler replacements; and there are more projects on the way.
The Government of Canada as a whole occupies about 27 million metres squared of space, with PSPC and the Department of National Defence being the two largest real property custodians. This is huge, roughly equivalent to about 3,340 Canadian football fields.
As custodian for over a quarter or 27 per cent of the total Government of Canada portfolio and provider of services to the Government of Canada of around $1 billion to $2 billion annually and essentially all of the national office inventory, PSPC’s green initiatives will have a significant impact on the Government of Canada portfolio.
Public Services and Procurement Canada delivers a range of real property services, including expert advice and guidance on environmental, procurement and project management options. Currently, Public Services and Procurement Canada's environmental services include greenhouse gas and energy reduction; sustainability services; climate change adaptation and resiliency services; contaminated site stabilization, remediation and revitalization; building design performance; and helping clients introduce greener behaviour in our buildings.
These services contribute to Public Services and Procurement Canada’s own portfolio being as sustainable as possible both in our operations and policies. We also provide these services at cost to other federal government organizations and real property custodians.
By taking a true horizontal view on the buildings and facilities that will be needed well into the future, we are therefore able to anticipate demands so that we can make the right investment decisions and operate a more friendly, efficient, responsive, effective, affordable and environmentally friendly portfolio.
Public Services and Procurement Canada is the first department to complete a national carbon neutral portfolio plan in support of our commitment to a low-carbon government. To achieve this aggressive commitment, we are following a three-pronged approach.
Recognizing that the most efficient unit of energy is the one you don’t use, the first priority of Public Services and Procurement Canada’s carbon neutral portfolio plan is to reduce energy consumption through a variety of measures, including smart buildings, deep energy carbon building retrofits and the switch to LED lighting.
First, we have already seen impressive returns on the smart buildings initiative which uses real-time data analytics to drive energy and carbon reduction. As of June 2017, we have four smart building pilot projects that have already saved over $1 million in accumulated energy costs since January 2015. The initial $300,000 investment in the pilot projects was fully recouped in less than a year. There are 14 buildings presently completed, with a program of work that will see at least 45 installations completed by the end of this fiscal year.
Second, we will engage in fuel/energy switching to use cleaner sources and on-site renewable energy generation to further reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of our operations. For example, in provinces such as Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia, the switch from natural gas to hydroelectric energy for certain energy needs is a potential easy win. In other areas such as Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, we will look at options for switching from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives such as on-site renewables.
Finally, recognizing that we may not be able to get to carbon zero for every asset on our own, we will offset any remaining carbon emitting energy consumption through energy procurement strategies that will help to green Canada’s overall public utility infrastructure. These procurement strategies not only help to stimulate private investment in renewable energy sources across Canada, which is good for the country and the world, but they also provide the department with cost certainty in terms of fixed rate opportunities for energy.
Public Services and Procurement Canada is taking a leadership position in embedding environmental considerations, and specifically greenhouse gas reductions, into the design and approval stages of our proposed projects. Starting this fiscal year and going forward, Public Services and Procurement Canada has decided that any real property project with an impact on energy, from roof replacement to elevator maintenance, to heating, to ventilation and air conditioning equipment replacement, will consider greenhouse gas emissions as part of the life-cycle investment decisions.
As part of the carbon neutral portfolio plan, Public Services and Procurement Canada will develop road maps for each asset that will outline short, medium and long term steps needed to be taken to achieve our department’s ambitious goals.
One of the ways that we are assessing our assets is by using the Energy Star portfolio manager tool to evaluate the energy performance of all of our Crown-owned office buildings, both to establish a baseline and to identify and prioritize energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction opportunities. This is the first time that an entire portfolio has been benchmarked at any level of government.
Today, Public Services and Procurement Canada has already exceeded the 2016-2019 federal sustainable development strategy greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 40 per cent, having achieved and reported a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 compared to 2005 for its Crown-owned assets.
Had nothing been done and 2005 energy consumption levels and greenhouse gas emissions were remained, we would be contributing 42,116 tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere per year at an additional cost of $13.3 million a year for public energy utilities. The yearly greenhouse gas emissions saved of 42,116 tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to over 8,400 vehicles taken off the road.
Carbon neutrality is achievable, and Public Services and Procurement Canada is exerting an influence where we want to capitalize on opportunities to impact greening across the Government of Canada.
Ultimately, greening is not just about the bottom line of using less energy. It also has socio-economic benefits and long-term effects on the health of our environment beyond the immediate measurable reductions in space, energy costs or greenhouse gas emissions. We need to move away from looking at things in transactional terms, such as designing LEED silver or gold buildings, and instead move toward considering integrating many stages and holistically viewing where and how a building fits into the community in all related aspects.
I look forward to working with Mr. Sarantakis in responding to your questions.
The Chair: We will go to our first questioner.
Senator Massicotte: Thank you very much for being with us this afternoon. It’s much appreciated.
Basically we all agree what the objectives are. We’re here to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005. I understand from the materials available to us that you are down 19 per cent compared to 2005. Am I correct?
I always worry about apples and apples. When you compare retail stats by square foot, is this a real 19 per cent? There’s no gimmick behind this that you sold off some buildings and you’re now the tenant and not the landlord so you don’t count the same way. Is this a real, hard 19 per cent reduction?
Mr. Sarantakis: It absolutely is. There’s no gimmick behind it. We’re already about halfway to the goal of 40 per cent.
That being said, not all of it is attributable to actions of the Government of Canada. Some can come from the source energy in the province. Generally speaking, as a province cleans its energy sources, that also impacts on our use of energy.
For example, 90 per cent of our emissions in terms of government operations come from our buildings. Some of our buildings have their own power source, but a lot of them rely on pre-existing provincial and municipal grids. In provinces that in and of themselves are greening those energy sources, we benefit from that.
It’s a combination of Government of Canada activities and activities being undertaken by others that the Government of Canada benefits from.
Senator Massicotte: Your objective is to reduce GHG, honestly, but at the same time you’re managing public money. How do you balance the two? In other words, do you have a set payback to say, “If I can’t get my money back in 10 years, I am not going to do it?” Or, do you do it just to look good and get your GHG down? How do you balance those two interests of being economically smart but at the same time environmentally advantageous?
Mr. Sarantakis: The good news is that more and more they’re not becoming binary opposites. The scenery you presented was true 15 or 20 years ago and is still true in certain pockets, but when you start looking at life-cycle costs as opposed to upfront capital costs, more and more there’s a convergence between what you are to pay in terms of economic sustainability and what you are to get in terms of economic benefits.
Senator Massicotte: So all GHG reduction programs are great. Can you do them all?
Mr. Sarantakis: No, I didn’t say that, but more and more they go in the right direction in terms of economic payback from the environmental side.
Senator Massicotte: What does that mean to taxpayers? What’s the payback? What rate of return are they getting on the investment they’re making in greener buildings?
Mr. Sarantakis: It depends. Unfortunately there’s not one answer to that because it depends on the underlying variables that go into it.
I’ll give you an example that might illustrate this. If you are to construct a new building to house public servants, that will obviously have capital costs. A portion of those capital costs will be in a domain for greening, for example.
You can put a green roof on. You can do insulation, or whatever the case may be. When you compare the incremental capital costs of that against your incremental energy usage, you make the calculation and say that this is good economically or it is not good economically.
Senator Massicotte: In that case when you calculate the GHG you save, do you take the GHG of the new building and say if you would have stayed in the old building the GHG level would have been this and, therefore, you account for that reduction as a bonus or as a brownie point?
Mr. Sarantakis: It depends on whether you’re building a new building or whether you are retrofitting.
Senator Massicotte: In your example you are using a building. Do you count what the GHG was in the old building and then move to the new building and consider that a decrease?
Mr. Sarantakis: You count what the net environmental or economic impact is. If you’re adding a new building without taking off an old building, you are going to be increasing new net emissions; but if you’re retiring an older building and putting in the new building, you’re doing better for the environment.
Senator Massicotte: That’s easy with new buildings but with renovations is where it gets tough because you have to spend a lot of money. Do you have any sense of how much you’re paying per tonne for the GHG you save relative to existing old buildings?
Mr. Sarantakis: Again it varies. There is not one universal answer.
Senator Massicotte: Do you have a payback number or a ROI number in your head?
Mr. Radford: Let me try it in a slightly different way. If we compare the way we were doing major rehabilitations on buildings two years ago, our standard was to try to get to a LEED silver certification.
Senator Massicotte: Irrespective of cost.
Mr. Radford: I have numbers here. I can give you some specific examples, but I want to tell you the process now and how we’ve shifted.
That’s the way we used to do it. Now, we look at the full life-cycle costs and forecast out what would be the full life-cycle costs of a major rehabilitation at 875 Heron Road, at East Block, at Centre Block, or at Lester B. Pearson, et cetera. We look at those full life-cycle costs and consider deeper retrofits. We look at client behaviour in the building like assigned seating versing activity based working and checking the change out in the electricity and using LED lighting.
We look at it from a 25-year perspective and put another option on the table. That means the initial cost will be more upfront, but when you look at the cost of the life cycle of 25 years, you actually find out that LED might have a payback of six years or that putting in photovoltaic arrays over your parking areas might reduce your overall energy bills and have a payback of a little longer, depending on where it’s situated in Canada. If you’re up North, you may not want to do it. We look at all those different options. That’s the second one.
I don’t want to make a reference to East Block, but we have a tendency not to do retrofits every 25 years. We might actually go 30 or 40 years. We look at how we get to a 100 per cent GHG reduction and it is a little more investment. The delta between option 1, option 2 and option 3 for a specific building like the Arthur Meighen Building at 25 St. Clair in Toronto, which is sort of midtown Toronto, is about a 5.6 per cent increase over the life cycle of the entire building.
Mr. Sarantakis: It’s very much analogous to buying a hybrid car. The capital costs upfront are higher. There is no doubt about that, but your overall payback over the period depends on how you drive, what environment you drive in, and what the energy costs are five or ten years from now, et cetera. The payback varies a lot depending on particular situation, but if you compare operating life-cycle costs versus upfront capital costs, that’s comparing apples to oranges. It’s not a fair comparison.
Senator Massicotte: I’ll let somebody else answer. As a business person, when I get these long answers I get nervous. Life-cycle costs is another way of saying that you can include anything you want, and so on.
Anyway, I’ll let the others go ahead.
Senator Griffin: It sounds like great work. I’m wondering if you know if many of the provinces and territories are following your example.
Nick Xenos, Executive Director, Centre for Greening Government, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat: I chair a community of practice with my provincial and territorial counterparts. For example, B.C., as you have noted in your literature, is carbon neutral. They’re looking at carbon neutral operations. The Ontario government has done quite a bit of work looking at their different buildings and analyzing how to get to lower carbon. Quebec has done a bit of work as well.
There has been quite a bit of work in some of the provinces.
Senator Griffin: Are they doing their fleets also? They all have a lot of vehicles.
Mr. Xenos: Yes, fleets are for sure part of the equation as well in those provinces.
Senator Griffin: Terrific. In your brief you mentioned that DND is purchasing renewable energy in Alberta. Is that wind energy or what kind of energy? Where is it coming from?
Mr. Radford: In that particular case, yes, we’ve set up in the province of Alberta a contract which DND is a part of. They've signed an MOU with us. They are looking at transitioning from diesel fuels to natural gas or moving toward even more renewable energy and buying through this contract that we have set up with them. That’s having quite a bit of success. We are just in the early stages of that, though, but, yes, we have put that in place.
Senator Griffin: My last item is: What kinds of things are being tested? You or someone else has mentioned that supporting federal government departments and agencies are among the first to use, test and evaluate state of the art innovations that really aren’t out there in a big way in the marketplace as yet to address specific needs and increase efficiency. What kinds of things are you testing?
Veronica Silva, Director General, Technical Services, Public Services and Procurement Canada: Part of the work that PSPC does through the procurement group is to support the Build in Canada Innovation Program. Those are innovation companies that have not yet marketed their products.
The federal government is the test bed for a lot of those technologies. They are not only focused on the environment and GHG reductions. There is a wide range of opportunities, but there are a number coming up more so now that support the GHG and energy reduction objectives. They are tested across federal government departments. It’s an evaluation of submissions and then those are available for testing in the portfolios. Then the testing is done over usually a minimum of a year and then the success of the testing is reported on throughout the program, the Build in Canada Innovation Program. Real Property PSPC has a number of innovations that it is testing. Again, they’re not only GHG reduction focused but across the portfolio.
Senator Griffin: Are they testing in Northern Canada as well as Southern Canada?
Ms. Silva: Right now, to my knowledge, PSPC is not testing anything yet in Northern Canada. It’s almost like an open door submission opportunity. There are always new innovations that come up. As they come up, they are all evaluated based on the best fit for the kind of innovation and where it may be tested. It is possible that other departments may be, but I’m not aware.
Senator Galvez: It is very refreshing to hear the government doing so well with their buildings. We have been hearing from a lot of other witnesses. Most of the time they were saying, “If we want to build new houses, new buildings, everything is easy; but when we have to retrofit, forget it.” Now you are saying we can also retrofit, we can go to LEED silver standard, and we can get what we want.
I ask you to confirm this, but I think one key issue is the fact that you are doing life-cycle analyses. That is not understood, as you can see, by everybody. I think you have to do a little education to show people what life-cycle analysis means.
You have a green procurement and you want every single project to reach these standards. Can this be translated to a national building code and procurement process so that we can go faster in attaining our goals? What is stopping that from happening?
Mr. Radford: I mentioned the 25 St. Clair building and I talked about the three steps. I apologize for the long answer. I was just trying to explain our methodology.
In that particular example we are actually hooked in with the Canadian Green Building Council, a not for profit organization. They are testing 16 buildings. We are using our strategies for making this building as green as it can be, but we are also part of a larger test bed, if you will, across the built sector in Canada. We’ll be part of that initiative and work with the Canada Green Building Council and other infrastructure leaders in Canada to assess our life-cycle costing and some of the various deep retrofits that we have put into that rehabilitation. It is not a new build; it is a rehabilitation. We'll share that information equitably. As well, that will provide support to the clean sector and be more of a leadership position within the built sector that the Government of Canada is serious about the green agenda. That’s one example.
Mr. Sarantakis: Our colleagues at the National Research Council also published the Model National Energy Code, which the private sector and other levels of government across Canada use as the basis, the bottom floor for energy consumption by buildings.
It’s an area that the federal government has had a long-standing leadership goal in terms of telling people, “These are the kinds of standards you should be shooting for in different types of buildings.”
Ms. Silva: In addition, as my colleagues have noted, building codes define a certain base standard, but they alone don’t allow us to achieve the GHG reductions because energy reduction alone does not equate to GHG reductions necessarily. It does have to be an integrated look at how we manage the portfolio, both from a design perspective and an operation perspective.
The building code is one element. The mechanical systems, if they were only meeting building code, would not allow us to achieve the GHG reductions. We have to go above and beyond on certain elements of code requirements.
Mr. Radford: From a portfolio perspective within the GC, in the PSPC assets we own over 300 buildings. In my opening I talked about the Energy Star ratings that we had done on all those assets. They pointed to a very small subset of the 300 assets that were actually the largest GHG emitters. Under the smart buildings technology I mentioned that we are doing that on an additional 45 buildings. It’s those buildings that we know are heavy GHG emitters. If we put that technology in then we can also maybe, not through a major rehabilitation but by just looking at specific systems in the building, make adjustments that will help to lower the GHG reductions.
I talked about the timeline in our pilot where we did four buildings and in less than a year had made energy savings alone, just by looking at the utility bills.
Senator Dean: Thanks very much for being here and congratulations on all the work. This is a large and complex undertaking and the largest property owner in the country.
I have a couple of questions: one on governance and one on risk assessment. Who is wearing the yellow hat on this? If the Prime Minister is losing sleep one night and wants to talk to the federal public service responsible, whom does he call?
Mr. Sarantakis: It’s Minister Brison as the coordinator, but then a lot of departments have what we call custodial assets. PSPC generally manages our office buildings and some special purpose infrastructure, but we also have a lot of departments that manage their own infrastructure, the largest being the Department of National Defence, for example.
If the Prime Minister has an overall orientation question, it would be Minister Brison. He would be the first point of contact and then the custodial department is below that.
Senator Dean: If I asked you who is the lead public servant with overall oversight on this and if the Prime Minister wanted to talk to who has the lead on the public service side, who would he call?
Mr. Sarantakis: For greening it would be my boss, who is the Secretary of the Treasury Board.
Senator Dean: Secondly, on risk analysis, risk identification, risk assessment, I know you’ll have done this based on your stretch target of 40 per cent. Where are the biggest risk factors and potential challenges on getting to 40?
Mr. Sarantakis: I will start and then turn it over to Mr. Radford. We are very lucky in a sense that the majority of our emissions tend to be concentrated in a few departments. Essentially, the two departments of National Defence and Public Works constitute about three-quarters of our emissions.
Like any good kind of rate of return analysis, you focus your early efforts on your easy wins. Basically the one thing that would have the possibility of derailing the targets is if there is degradation in the underlying energy supply. If provinces that are moving toward hydro or green energy for some reason don’t move there as quickly as we think or would like or would hope, other than the underlying generation of clean energy we don’t honestly see a lot of material roadblocks in terms of the target. The target is realistic.
Another thing I would note is the total emissions of the Government of Canada from its operations are actually a very, very small portion of Canada’s overall emissions. It’s actually less than 1 per cent in terms of our buildings and our fleet.
This is really much more about leadership, getting our own house in order in the sense that if the government is asking the transportation sector, the energy sector, in fact all sectors, to hit 30 per cent, it’s incumbent on the government to do better than that target.
Senator Dean: Some of the people appearing in front of us have cited the 1 per cent as a reason for actually not doing very much, so I congratulate you for saying 1 per cent and tackling it.
Senator Wetston: Thank you for coming. I want to follow up a bit on Senator Dean’s question. I mean 40 per cent is a stretch factor. Would you be satisfied with 30 per cent?
Mr. Sarantakis: Personally, no, because we like to set targets that we can hit. There no point in setting targets that are unrealistic. The current target was set up last year through a government process where we talked to experts. We did an analysis in terms of what is realistic. Again, it’s very bad practice if the government itself doesn’t hit its own target.
Senator Wetston: Are there any further comments?
Mr. Radford: We have a significant portfolio base here in the National Capital Region, but we don’t rehabilitate or build new every single year. You have to take a larger life-cycle term. When we’re looking at 40 per cent, it’s important when we’re doing a major rehabilitation that we look to reduce the GHG as much as possible on those assets simply because of the size of the portfolio. It’s important to take a big step on each major rehabilitation.
From a risk factor perspective I would also say that one of the major risk factors for us was something called the energy services acquisition project in and around our heating plants and district energy. In Budget 2016 we received an influx of money to modernize how we take water out of the river to cool about 82 prime buildings. The request for qualified bids just went out on the street. I believe it’s in the November time frame when we will be looking at a distribution system that will allow us to go a bit beyond our own government assets. In fact, the distribution system process is being set up so that if one of the buildings is in a larger block and there are other buildings in that block that are ready for retrofit, then the T-junction into the distribution system would be applicable to other people to take advantage of, et cetera.
Those are examples around managing the risk.
Mr. Sarantakis: Toronto, which you represent, has a very extensive district heating and cooling system downtown.
Senator Wetston: I’m very familiar with it. You are right, and I thank you for that.
I guess I wanted to understand a bit about the 30 to 40 per cent. What policies do you think you need to have in place, other than what you are working on today which may change over time, to be able to move or get from 30 per cent to 40 per cent? Are there any particular policies that you require?
Mr. Sarantakis: Government emissions from operations are largely concentrated in the building sector. Given that 90 per cent of our emissions come from buildings, it’s really important the policies we deal with are such that they are conducive to building green assets going forward.
It’s very important to remember that the decisions we make today in a building are with us for anywhere from 40 to 60 years. You don’t put up a building for two years. The life-cycle cost of a building is a 60-year asset. If we get it wrong now, we will be paying for that, so to speak, down the line. The single most important thing in hitting this target when we undertake new construction or refurbishments is that all those life-cycle costs are factored in at the outset.
Senator Wetston: Mr. Radford, you mentioned the energy services acquisitions project. I appreciate that because I was going to ask you more of a question with respect to the details regarding the rollout of this initiative. Can you share a bit more information about that initiative? I understand where you’re coming from, but I was interested in some of the practical details of the rollout. Can you share that with the committee?
Mr. Radford: This past summer, as an example of some of the initiatives we’re taking, we started looking at different types of fuel that would heat our boilers and would chill our chillers, if you will. Right now we use natural gas to do that, and there was an announcement up on Heron Road this past summer where we were studying different fuel types. We were looking at biomass. Wood is one particular example we are studying and the efficiency of that. We were also looking at biofuels as another example. Those are some smaller contracts.
The larger contract is actually about rehabilitating the central heating plants and associated distribution system. That is about a $4 billion overall project stretched out over 35 years. We are just in year one and the request for qualifications. We are getting close to RFP, but it will be over the next couple of years.
You may have noticed on the waterfront right beside the Supreme Court a small building was built as a temporary boiler plant in 2009 after we had the accident that killed a public servant, Peter Kennedy. At the boiler plant we just brought the chimney down, et cetera. We are doing small projects getting ready for this larger initiative, but it will be moved into the private sector and the private sector will be running it into the future.
The first component of the project is a seven-year window, followed by looking at natural gas and alternative fuels. We think that over that time frame, we may be in a position where the alternative fuels we’re studying now might be in a better position than using fossil fuels going forward.
The distribution system would be open to the LeBreton Flats setup. It might be open to the Ottawa Hospital, if they are interested in doing it. In addition, it will continue to serve monument buildings like this one and 82 other buildings down Wellington Street and in and around the downtown core.
Senator Seidman: Thank you very much for your presentations.
When we speak about green initiatives, and in particular green buildings, most people think about construction that protects the health of the environment. To me, a building should also protect the health of its occupants.
It’s commendable that PSPC has prohibited the use of asbestos in its new construction and major renovation projects and has made information about the presence of asbestos in federal buildings publicly available.
What are PSPC’s plans for continued asbestos abatement in federal buildings?
Mr. Radford: The former minister of public works, Minister Foote, is very passionate about this particular issue. In any major rehabilitation we are abating the facilities of asbestos. In any new construction we are forbidding the use of asbestos in the rehabilitation. We posted the information you just mentioned, senator.
Another piece we are doing is working with all other custodians to help them see what we have done, how we put asbestos management plans in place for all our buildings, et cetera. We are working closely with them in helping them to be able to post their facilities as well.
Ms. Silva has been leading this, so I will turn to her if you want an update on where we are with respect to the next steps.
Ms. Silva: As Mr. Radford mentioned, we have coordinated the preparation for support to the 26 custodial departments to post their asbestos inventories. That happened this September.
They were given 12 months to do so, shortly after we posted ours, and they were directed by PCO to do so. Not all of them were in the same state of readiness, so we supported them throughout the year not only in coordination and reporting on the progress but also on the provision of the services to gather data on their buildings, whether they had asbestos in them, asbestos management plans and the details of them.
Right now, the inventories are posted. Some of the inventories indicate work in progress because we knew that within a one-year window. We could not achieve across government having all the information ready, but the commitment was to post the status in a public inventory within 12 months. That’s where we are.
The work moving forward envisions working another year and a half to two years in supporting the government departments to achieve greater completion of their asbestos management programs. We will continue to do that as a service we provide to all government departments.
Senator Seidman: That’s helpful.
Now I understand Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the LEED rating system, gives credit for the removal of asbestos from existing buildings. What role does asbestos abatement play in PSPC’s green retrofit plans?
Ms. Silva: As mentioned, it is part of the work we do in terms of removal for any major renovation project and for any work that comes across asbestos. Where it is less harmful to remove it than to keep it, it’s undertaken as part of the project. That is documented as part of the project, not always associated with LEED requirements.
Senator Seidman: It’s documented as part of the project.
Ms. Silva: Yes.
Senator Seidman: What you are saying is that obviously this does play a role in your green retrofit plans.
Ms. Silva: Yes.
Senator MacDonald: Thank you for being here. I will preface my remarks by using an example of what is going on in the country today in terms of managing emissions.
We just had TransCanada pull out of its submission for the Energy East pipelines because new regulations for downstream and upstream emissions were being applied at the regulatory level. They can spin it any way they want, but that’s what has occurred.
As a Nova Scotian, I see half a million barrels of oil coming in every day in ship bottoms from Saudi Arabia and other countries with no standards applied to these products.
When it comes to the Government of Canada purchasing commodities from foreign governments, do we apply any criteria in regard to their carbon compliance? Should we? If we do, would we be susceptible to great challenges under the WTO or other organizations?
Mr. Sarantakis: We are not the officials placed to answer that question. We don’t deal with procurement policies from other countries in terms of what comes into Canada.
Senator MacDonald: I appreciate that, but I certainly would like to know your opinion on what the public service should do when looking at our own buildings and our own infrastructure. Is there not a role the government can play in this?
Mr. Sarantakis: For sure. When we are looking at our own buildings and our own infrastructure, I would be very surprised if any of the energy we consume comes from outside of Canada. We are an energy producing nation, obviously, so I would be very surprised.
In terms of materials some of that for sure would come from other countries, but in terms of the competitive process for building something they would all have to meet the same minimum requirements. If we are building a new building and we are saying the lumber, the insulation or whatever has to have the following qualities, regardless of whether that comes from Canada or somewhere else they would have to meet the same requirements.
Senator MacDonald: But there is no carbon test.
Mr. Sarantakis: Do we price carbon for materials? Not that I know of, no.
Senator MacDonald: I guess that’s not your department. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Senator Patterson: I have one question that came to mind. You talked about monument buildings. I think we are sitting in one now. I believe Canada is spending significant amounts of money retrofitting the Centre Block of Parliament, the old railway station and other hundred plus year old buildings.
Do these retrofits include energy improvements? Could you give us an outline of how you can improve the energy efficiency of an old stone building?
Ms. Silva: Yes, our heritage buildings do include considerations for greenhouse gases and energy efficiencies just like any other one of our properties, but they are more challenging, for sure, in terms of achieving greater energy reductions or GHG reductions.
Having said that, the work being done right now through the Parliamentary Precinct group within our organization is trying to maximize all of those, while at the same time keeping in mind the heritage considerations of each of those buildings.
Senator Patterson: Can you give examples of what improvements you are making over what is in place now?
Ms. Silva: I’m not familiar with the details of those projects so I can’t give you that information, but we can find that for you.
The Chair: Before we go to the second round, I want to ask a few questions.
Senator Patterson started on it. The West Block is being totally refurbished. On the amount of greenhouse gas emissions coming from that building, you must have that documentation. With the things you have done so far or when you are finished, how much would what you have done reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
I believe it was probably heated with natural gas or hot water fired by natural gas. Will that still be the same type of heat in that building once it is completed?
Mr. Radford: I’ll take that. I don’t have the details with me with the specific GHG levels that were reduced in the West Block, but that’s something we can provide afterward for the committee. I know that’s well documented. I just don’t have them with me now, so I apologize.
With respect to the project we were talking about on modernizing the district energy, it is actually that heating plant we talked about earlier in these discussions which heats the water to steam. The steam comes in and that is the central heating system for this particular facility. Rehabilitating the district energy system will provide cleaner heating and cooling processes for the West Block going forward.
The investments that we are making in the district energy will benefit the heating of all the buildings along Wellington Street, not just West Block.
The Chair: It would be great if you could segment that out and provide that information to the clerk so that we all get it.
Mr. Radford: Absolutely.
The Chair: I would like to extend that a bit to seeing how much it would cost per tonne to do that. If you reduced it by X number of tonnes and it cost X amount of dollars, we can figure that out.
The second question I have is that in your notes you talk about 2014-2015 and the buildings you are responsible for are responsible for 0.99 megatonnes. Let's say it’s one megatonne. The federal government is the largest landlord in Canada of buildings. Yet, in 2014, buildings emitted 87 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. You are only one megatonne, yet the largest landlord.
I’m having trouble comprehending how that’s possible.
Mr. Radford: That’s a really great question, so let me try to explain.
Public Service and Procurement Canada is largely engaged in buildings and infrastructure, but somewhere like Parks Canada has large landscapes that have very little infrastructure on them, but that’s included. When you said the largest landlord, it could be large bases, CFB Borden or in Cold Lake, Alberta, where they have flying ranges, et cetera.
It includes all of that. It isn’t just the building and infrastructure. A significant component of that is actually pieces of property along seawalls and seaways.
Senator Massicotte: Like Banff National Park?
Mr. Radford: You got it. I was just trying to characterize that.
I believe Mr. Sarantakis was talking about the 1 per cent. If the built sector annually is about a $295 billion business in Canada, we’re in between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of that with respect to our expenditures in the Government of Canada.
That might be a better analogy to your question around the built sector, meaning infrastructure versus land masses that are large scale but don’t have a lot of building and infrastructure on them.
The Chair: I understand it now that you have explained it that way.
Do you have documentation? You say it is from 2005 levels. I guess the federal government has been monitoring on a yearly basis from 2005 forward the amount of greenhouse gases it’s responsible for. Would that be correct? Would you have that for every year?
Mr. Xenos: What we have is a baseline of 2005 and we’ve been monitoring it annually from 2010-2011 to now. We will request the information annually from departments so that we have it annually. What you see on the website is that information. We have disclosed the information by department, by year, by province and by fuel source.
The Chair: From 2011 forward, then, if you’re monitoring on a yearly basis the greenhouse gas emissions, you must be monitoring the cost going forward to reduce those greenhouse gas emissions on a yearly basis. Would that be correct?
Mr. Xenos: The cost is distributed. As Mr. Sarantakis said, for example, if a province cleans its then we wouldn’t incorporate those costs.
The Chair: I can understand that, but you must have a record of what the federal government has spent on a yearly basis. Is that correct?
Mr. Sarantakis: We have a record of every dollar we spend. The issue is the attribution of a particular dollar to the greening of a particular asset. For example, when we renovate this building or West Block, it costs X. The question is: Of that X, what dollar figure is ascribed to the greening of it?
It is very clear. You can say insulation. You can say green roofs and all of that. That portion you can certainly attribute, but an overall dollar on greening spent would be difficult.
The Chair: When I think about Fred and Martha, they will actually think about how many dollars they spend when they green their home and how they will do it. What I get from what you’re telling me is that you have a target to get to, but the expense part of it isn’t part of it. You said yourself that you account for every dollar.
Mr. Sarantakis: If I did, let me try again. If you take Fred and Martha, very rarely are they greening their home in isolation. They’re doing a broader renovation, of which a portion of the cost could be for greening of their home. For example, when Fred and Martha buy their new furnace, they can buy a cheaper furnace that emits a lot or a high-efficiency furnace that doesn’t.
You don’t want to charge the entire cost of the furnace to greening. What you should ascribe to the greening is the part of the cost that goes from the base furnace to the high-efficiency furnace.
The Chair: That’s an interesting way to do it. I appreciate the explanation.
You say in your notes that by 2025 you’ll have 100 per cent clean power. How do you do that in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia?
Mr. Radford: When we look at our asset and portfolio base and where the distribution is, about 50 per cent of our assets are in this region. That wasn’t the whole of government to get to it by 2025. That was a PSPC initiative.
From our perspective we will look at procuring renewable alternatives to carbon-based fuels. Provinces like Alberta would be one of the examples you mentioned of that greening renewable energy starting to flourish. It also looks at offsets in and around where we are giving energy back to the grid.
As we start greening some of our assets, some of that infrastructure also becomes a mini-power plant, if you will, that will also send energy back to the grid for sale, et cetera. That’s how we get to the 2025 targets. If you want a more detailed explanation, we can get that information as well.
The Chair: You will generate more power than what you need in some places and put it back in the grid. Is that what you are saying? So you are going to go into power generation.
Mr. Radford: We could look at Ottawa as we move from a high carbon-based economy to a low carbon-based economy. If we were to put photovoltaics on the south-facing walls of our buildings to help green the energy being consumed, these buildings are used from Monday to Friday largely during daytime and on Saturdays and Sundays there would be no draw off those photovoltaics. In certain cases you would be able to push some of that energy back to the grid.
It’s also important for us to work with the utilities. These are relatively new concepts, but if we are to green our assets, that is part of the work that has to be done. This is why it’s more than just the built sector or the construction industry. It’s also how we are to be working.
If I could use another small example, in your discussions with Mr. Sarantakis in and around efficiency, it is how we use our assets as well. When Parliament breaks over the summer period there isn’t a lot of activity on the Hill but, as one example, these buildings are still being cooled or heated, et cetera. How we use our assets is also an important contributing factor.
If I could use the office example, we still have a culture whereby it’s a one-to-one seating arrangement, meaning that if you work for the federal government, this is your office, this is your cubicle or this is your space. Under the culture or arrangement we have today it means there’s a high underutilization rate in many of our assets largely because people are in meetings, travelling, at home, moving to different buildings, and engaging and collaborating with their colleagues.
How we use the buildings is important. With our carbon neutral portfolio plan we felt that by reducing 10 per cent of the overall footprint you could get a 13 per cent overall reduction in GHG within the office portfolio alone. It has nothing to do with investments in assets or technology; it has to do with changing the way we work.
In order to do that, that leads you into the ICT sector. Do our employees have the tools they need to work from any place any time, to have access to their networks and to be productive? Or, if they are moving into alternative working arrangements, will managers allow their employees to telework when their kids have a doctor’s appointment.
What I am describing is pretty macro, but there are non-infrastructure activities that will influence how we will use infrastructure going forward. I’m using those as a few examples.
The Chair: Sure, I appreciate that. That’s all good news and some very good thought has gone into that.
If the federal government uses the avenues that you’re talking about I would hope, when Fred and Martha have to refurbish their home, they will be able to measure greenhouse gas emissions, to use offsets and all those things. I assume that would not just be a special thing for government; it would be for everyone. Would I be correct in thinking that way?
Mr. Radford: Yes, it’s a great conversation. Putting it in the Fred and Martha analogy, it would be like they had 10 houses, but they couldn’t be in all of them at any one time.
The Chair: Just one, and they are gone on holidays for a month.
Mr. Radford: Maybe when they go on holidays, they will turn it into an Airbnb or something. I think you get my point. Underutilization also has a significant impact on GHG as well.
The Chair: I have one last question on procurement for federal initiatives. It is always stuck in my mind. There’s lots of talk about all kinds of bridges and roads being built and buildings using a lot of steel.
When we were in Hamilton and went to the steel plant they told us that because of what they had done to upgrade one tonne of steel in Hamilton had one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions locked into it, but if you buy it from Asia or another place where steel procurement comes from it’s three times the amount.
Does the federal government look at these kinds of things and say they want to take the whole system and talk about it? For procurement in that fashion you would think you would be saying you had better buy everything you can from Canadian steel because it’s the cleanest. At least that’s what we were told. Would I be correct in saying that?
Mr. Sarantakis: That’s absolutely correct in that right now we do not consider environmental footprints in procurement. That’s an excellent point.
The Chair: What about all the steel we’ll see in buildings from now on?
Mr. Sarantakis: Everything has an environmental footprint, whether it is steel, whether it is a pen or whether it is the table. Right now we don’t ascribe the environmental footprints of things in our procurement. Maybe we should say, going down the line, “If you use material A with a carbon footprint of 20 versus material B that has a carbon footprint of 10, use material B.” We don’t right now.
The Chair: We’re all in the same atmosphere and all the greenhouse gases go into it. It’s called carbon leakage. If the federal government is serious about it, then they should think about carbon leakage also.
Senator Patterson: If the Government of Canada should ascribe and consider the carbon footprint of procured materials, how could that be implemented? We have $180 billion, I believe, of infrastructure investments forecast over the next 10 years. Which ministry would set that new bold policy change?
Mr. Sarantakis: If you’re talking about infrastructure funding, that would be the Minister of Infrastructure. It’s very important to remember that the infrastructure funding that the Government of Canada does through those programs is for assets that don’t belong to the federal government. It’s for municipal roads and municipal buildings, et cetera.
When you have a good counterpart in that area it happens automatically, but you have a lot of people who just look at the upfront capital cost and say, “If it costs $100 to build the arena this way and $110 to build the arena with state of the art green technology and generation, I just want to pay the $100.” That’s a choice people are making.
Senator Patterson: What about the materials the Government of Canada does procure? Who and which ministry would set that up?
Mr. Sarantakis: It would largely be PSPC.
The Chair: That’s something you can mark in your book. Another thing you can mark down easily is when the federal government provides money in lots of cases, like you say to municipalities, there can be a qualification that this is not who you use but what you use. They have to abide by it. Either that or they don’t get the money.
Senator Galvez: I dream of when we will buy something and on the back it will say, “This is the carbon footprint.” We should aim to do this. On every steel pipe or piece of steel, we should be able to read that.
Mr. Sarantakis: There’s a water footprint, as well.
Senator Galvez: Absolutely.
Mr. Sarantakis: Every time you buy a car, you’re consuming 15,000 gallons of water. Every time you buy a house it’s 30,000 gallons of water. The figures are illustrative, but the environmental costs are real.
Mr. Xenos: We are having discussions with the National Research Council construction institute because that’s exactly the problem we’re trying to figure out. How do we look at materials and their embodied carbon? What is the competitive advantage for Canadian materials versus others? We have started those discussions.
Senator Galvez: I haven’t asked my question yet.
The Chair: It’s slowly ticking by. Ask your question.
Senator Galvez: We have discussed emissions quite a bit but regarding green procurement you talked about water energy, materials and hazardous substances.
How far are you in these other areas? What is your calendar for these areas?
Mr. Sarantakis: That’s a great question because right now greening is concentrated on GHG but greening does not only mean GHG. It means all the other factors, especially water, source reduction of solids, waste, et cetera. Because GHGs are the most important, the greening strategy right now is focused on that. We expect to be adding other blocks as we go along in terms of water, recycling, waste, et cetera.
Senator Galvez: What about the calendar?
Mr. Sarantakis: Every year we expect to make tweaks but I can’t give you a layout calendar.
Senator Wetston: I think you talked about a model energy building code.
Mr. Sarantakis: Yes.
Senator Wetston: Is that the same thing as your net zero energy ready model building ready code?
Mr. Sarantakis: No, they’re different. The National Research Council publishes a framework to which people should aspire, whether you’re public sector or private sector. It is something to shoot toward. The other codes are things we’ve developed in house or other people such as the LEED institute have developed. Basically they’re standards against which you’re targeting.
Senator Wetston: Which is which? I didn't quite understand which is the model and which is the net zero.
Mr. Xenos: There’s the model energy code that Natural Resources Canada has developed with the National Research Council. They are increasing that. For 2022, the idea is to publish something for the 2025 codes that would be net-zero energy-ready. There are also standards, as Mr. Sarantakis had said, that are not federal. For example, the Canadian Green Building Council has come up with a net zero carbon standard in the last year. The private sector and NGOs are also coming up with different things you can shoot for as well.
Senator Wetston: You mentioned 300 buildings, more or less, in your portfolio. I live close to 25 St. Clair in Toronto, so if you are to do that, please avoid a lot of obstruction and congestion. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m getting used to it.
You will have these numbers, but I think by 2019 or so in Toronto more than 350 new high rises will be built in the GTA. I think 180 have been built now, so it is about 350. Maybe you could confirm that number. All these buildings need to be electrified in one way or another and all these buildings will be built. Obviously builders will make efforts toward greenhouse gas reduction but some may not do quite as much as others.
My point here follows from the chair’s question. How much leadership can the federal government entertain in working with the provinces, the municipalities and these builders in this ongoing construction in the GTA and across the country? What have you learned about what you are doing that will benefit the environment as much as possible and at a low cost?
Mr. Sarantakis: Maybe I will start and then ask Mr. Radford to supplement.
Ultimately, what you’re talking about is zoning because zoning is about what you build, where you build and how high you build. You’re talking about building permits as well: what kind of materials you can use, whether you can build more than six storeys with wood, or if you go over 20 storeys you have to use this type of steel or glass. By and large those are municipal decisions.
That being said, there is a role for the Government of Canada in terms of doing best practices. There is a role for the Government of Canada in terms of sharing information across regions. It’s really quite sad and even silly when people are constantly reinventing the wheel. One of the roles of the Government of Canada is to bring people together to share best practices and the like.
Finally, the other thing is that we are a very large land holder and it’s important for us to be good stewards in those areas. A lot of what is in downtown Toronto west of the SkyDome used to be federal railway lands. We’re a huge land holder in Downsview, for example. We have to be good stewards of those properties.
The more intensification you do in terms of high rises, the better you are for the environment because every time you live in a multi-unit facility your GHG emissions dramatically fall against a single residence dwelling.
The last point is that if you live downtown in one of these high rises, you tend to consume a lot less energy in your commute.
Senator Wetston: We’re talking 60 and 70 and 80-storey buildings, one of which is the height of the CN Tower.
Mr. Sarantakis: Which we also still own.
Senator Massicotte: I have a small technical question. Obviously, you get your hydro from Ontario Hydro. When they shut down the coal plants did that contribute to your reduction?
Mr. Sarantakis: Absolutely. As I noted before, there are actions that we take and there are actions that we benefit from.
Senator Massicotte: Of the 19 per cent how much was Ontario going green, to a large degree?
Mr. Sarantakis: I’m not sure.
Mr. Radford: We can get back to you on that one.
Senator Massicotte: I presume it would be a big number.
Mr. Sarantakis: It would be significant. If you’re going from a dirty grid to a clean grid, we have the benefit of being a free rider, so to speak, on that.
Senator Massicotte: That’s an easy ride to take.
Mr. Sarantakis: It’s always good to take free rides.
Mr. Xenos: We can say overall on the 19 per cent that just over 14 was clean electricity. It’s not Ontario specific.
Senator Massicotte: Do you guys only get 5 per cent?
Mr. Xenos: About 5 per cent or so was internal actions as well.
Senator Massicotte: That’s all. I thought you guys were heroes.
The Chair: Thank you very much, witnesses, for your very good presentations and some very good questions and answers.
We just have one order of business left to do. It won’t take long. Let’s just carry on.
Before we conclude our meeting tonight, I would ask the committee to examine a draft budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018 prepared for our study on the transition to a lower carbon economy for a day of fact-finding visits in Ottawa.
As you know, the committee has concluded its four fact-finding missions across the country as part of its current study. However, the steering committee felt it would be beneficial for all of us to do a day trip in Ottawa to visit a net zero home in Kanata by Minto as well as Canmet energy facilities. The current draft budget is $2,200. At Canmet we will learn more on its rapidly deployable northern house, some of its research on generation heating and cooling technologies, passive solar technology, deep energy retrofits, and some of its ongoing work relating to modelling and simulation.
We haven’t confirmed a date yet, but it will likely be the week of November 27.
If there are no questions and you’re in agreement, I would ask for a motion to say that the special study budget application of $2,200 for fact finding in Ottawa as part of the committee’s study on transitioning to a lower carbon economy for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, be approved for submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Senator Massicotte: I so move.
The Chair: Thank you. The motion is carried. We are adjourned.