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March 1, 2005

Council applauds budget

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is praising last week’s federal budget.

“This budget contains a serious commitment to meeting our Kyoto obligations,” says CaGBC president Alex Zimmerman. “There has been a lot of talk up until now about meeting our Kyoto obligations but this budget contains a serious commitment in terms of dollars and that is very positive.”

Zimmerman said Canada could be a world leader in greenhouse gas reduction and a world leader in sustainable development.

“This is a win for the economy and for the environment.”

In the budget, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale set aside:

— $1 billion to establish a “Clean Fund” to encourage the most cost-effective projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

— $225 million to quadruple the number of homes retrofitted under the EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Incentive program;

— $1.81 billion over the next 15 years to encourage investment in wind and other renewable energy sources; and

—$300 million to enrich the Green Municipal Funds, which make investment in innovative local green projects.

Zimmerman said the CaGBC would continue working with the feds to meet emissions targets.

He said the federal government has played an important role in supporting the CaGBC by providing funding to sponsor the implementation of the LEED Canada rating system.

LEED is a voluntary, market-driven rating system developed to provide a standard benchmark and certification for the design and construction of green buildings. Research has shown that LEED certified buildings use, on average, 30 per cent less energy than conventional buildings.

“Over 30 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gases come from constructing and operating commercial and residential buildings,” said Zimmerman. “We believe that some of the lowest cost and most significant greenhouse gas reductions will come from this sector.”

According to Zimmerman, the CaGBC is working hard to educate the building industry on the economic and environmental benefits of green buildings.

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