CIPH flags difficulties with Vancouver’s emissions plan

The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) has raised a number of concerns with authorities in Vancouver, B.C., over proposed low carbon and energy efficiency updates to the city’s by-law for low-rise residential buildings (under four storeys).

Of particular concern to CIPH is the speed at which the city is hoping to implement these changes. It has set a target date of 2025 for all new and replacement heating and hot water systems in low-rise buildings within the city to be zero emissions.

With just five years for the changes to be implemented, a real concern of the industry body, articulated in a letter sent to the Gil Kelley, Vancouver’s general manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability, is that by removing consumer options and creating affordability issues, some heating retrofits may be driven to the underground economy. It also doesn’t believe the industry, including manufacturers, has been given enough time to react to such sweeping change.

While authorities in Vancouver have stated that it envisages heat pumps playing an important role in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), CIPH has also highlighted why it believes that technology is not suitable in all cases and why it may not meet the needs of all buildings or all residents.

Ralph Suppa, president and general manager of CIPH, was also critical of Vancouver’s “complete lack of consultation with the plumbing and heating industry” before proposing these changes.

“CIPH would like to see the COV keep options open for consumers with their heating systems, especially with retrofit systems. By eliminating fossil fuel equipment, consumer choice will be severely limited and we foresee issues with affordability and safety,” says Suppa.

“The updates being proposed to the 2021 Vancouver Building By-Law leave very little time for the industry to react. Manufacturers, distributors and contractors will all have issues with the timing of these new requirements, which will likely leave the consumer with extra costs and delays.”