AirdrieZero - Initiating, facilitating, coordinating cost-lowering Net-Zero-2050 actions for residents and businesses in Airdrie, AB, Canada
net-zero-2050: refers to GHG greenhouse gas emissions being reduced to effectively zero by year 2050, as part of worldwide effort to stabilize climate change to less than 2C degrees over pre-industrial levels. That means us.
actions: complementary programs, protocols, projects
complementary: going beyond current and anticipated federal/provincial and municipal policies to help reduce costs of decarbonization, primarily with information campaigns
cost of decarbonization: 1) capital investment 2) asset stranding
asset stranding: capital equipment -appliances, vehicles, machinery, buildings- business and lifestyle arrangements and education and training that must be abandoned before normal end-of-life due to being un-affordable to operate or against regulations
Our proposed low-cost information campaigns:
metrics: showing current Airdrie emissions, target, trajectory in a way that helps gauge progress and illuminate opportunities
prioritizing: based on metrics/data develop projects to address early and economically
TCO/NPV Total Cost of Ownership/Net Present Value - provide easily accessible spreadsheets for common appliances, home retrofits, transportation and life arrangements showing anticipated costs of fossil-fuel vs zero-emissions scenarios and technologies
informing businesses of TCO including anticipated carbon price for goods and services they provide, so they can inform customers and alter their offerings
initiating and coordinating large-scale actions to reduce costs, such as
GHG source inventories and metrics
climate-optimal energy-efficient zero emission retrofit designs: heat-pumps, insulation, windowing, solar fins
coordinated buying programs / aggregation services to lower cost of decarbonizing:
residential retrofit pool- and pre-ordering, and double-auction programs
coordinated bulk/pooled appliance/supplies/equipment purchase programs to improve prices
evaluating and designing Airdrie-zone-optimal space heating and DHW domestic hot water systems
coordinating with other groups and municipal, provincial and federal departments for gathering information and providing suggestions for minor and major programs, regulations, standards, and coordinating and information events and campaigns
Governments can mandate what type of new equipment is available for sale in their territory, for example by banning the sale of fossil fuel combustion equipment. Since it doesn't affect existing equipment in use, there's no asset-stranding cost. While not as efficient as carbon pricing, and covering only a limited number of equipment categories, it has an advantage over gently ramped carbon pricing: earlier impact on emissions reduction.
100% Replacement Mandate - 100% of new equipment must be new / clean type
FeeBates -also known as ramped replacement mandates: a fee on old technology rebated on new technology- can provide a smooth transition ramp if new technology is more expensive / less competitive.
Keeping some of the old equipment available at some (higher) price gives some flexibility which can improve economic efficiency
The more expensive the equipment, the bigger the mandate region should be, to minimize 'leakage' - sales simply shifting to other nearby zones with no change in equipment type purchased.
Equipment that is installed by regulated professionals likely has less leakage. Examples for a city like Airdrie: furnaces, DHW domestic hot water heaters - mandate non-combustion / electrical only (heat pumps).
Because replacement mandates don't encourage retirement of existing equipment and don't cover all tailpipes and stovepipes, they are used with other policies -like carbon pricing.
Equipment burns fossil fuels. Equipment lasts 15 years on average. On the next replacement cycle _if_ we replace with non-emitting equipment, in 7.5 years our emissions will be half, and in 15 years our emissions will be zero.
Technology diffusion of innovation / adoption patterns through history has been in the form of an S-curve / sigmoid function
Wright's Law - every doubling of cumulative production of a new technology decreases cost by a constant, similar to Moore's Law
Carbon pricing, replacement mandates and incentives can accelerate uptake of cleantech on replacement cycles, thereby increasing production volumes and reducing production costs and comparative costs as seen by mainstream consumers
Economists here and around the world agree broad based carbon pricing -like carbon tax/levy/fee or cap&trade/ETS exchange trading system- is effective and the most efficient/cheapest way to accelerate decarbonization of the economy, as measured in $/tonne CO2e abated or %GDP. Other ways -narrow base (industry only) pricing, direct regulation, and incentives generally cost more for less due to inflexibility, overlaps, and incentives inefficiently going toward non-additionalities (would have happened 'anyways').
IMF recently recommended USD $75/tonne global price on CO2e emissions
World Bank has a map of carbon pricing around the world
climateactiontracker.org shows decarbonization progress by country
UK got off coal power in 2019, and credits carbon pricing in the electricity sector -although 2020s revival of coal possible under some scenarios
Brexit will cause UK to lose EU ETS, what carbon pricing in UK will replace it
China continues to scale up its ETS
California has had WCI Cap & Trade for several years, and northeast states have had RGGI electricity ETS for several years
A study showed investors (already) price emissions of public companies at USD $79/ton (about C$100/tonne CO2e)
US economists and oil companies support carbon fee and dividend (like Canada's fed backstop carbon levy and rebate)
2019 polling [gallup, post, cbs ] shows a shift in support for more climate action;
some Democratic Party candidates for 2020 presidential run have some support for carbon pricing
To meet our current federal NDC nationally determined contribution to Paris Agreement we will need a carbon price in the range of $100 to $200/tonne by 2030:
$210/tonne according to Ecofiscal in their final report
$283/tonne according to Navius Research infographic -39Mt for +$80/tonne
and extrapolating x = 109Mt x $80/39Mt = $223/tonne, + (2022) $50/tonne = $283/tonne
$200/tonne by 2032 using pembina.org/eps policy simulator and using only broad based carbon pricing
other economists projections in the 200/tonne range.
$102/tonne according to PBO parliamentary budget office, assuming announced additional measures are implemented, such CFS clean fuel standard
some estimates show CFS will cost around $145/tonne and proponents say it works primarily by raising the price of fuels like a carbon price would (except without revenue recycling to consumers)
PBO report shows Canada relying on 37Mt/year from QC WCI western climate initiative cap & trade trading with California (13Mt) and LULUCF land use land use change and forestry (24Mt).
California trading with QC under WCI is being challenged by current (2019) US federal administration for being federal jurisdiction. Paris Agreement Article 6 international emissions trading rules have not been agreed to as of Dec 2019 COP25, and WCI trading with California in theory should be under Article 6.
Navius MAC marginal abatement cost / price elasticity for carbon pricing, reverse-engineered from their infographic, is about 1/2 Mt for each $/tonne in carbon price
if QC WCI trades are disallowed, additional 13Mt/year deficit in 2030 will need $26/tonne increase in carbon price to reduce from domestic emissions.
Likely the price on carbon -or equivalently effective policy stringency- will continue to rise post 2030 in Canada, in order to eventually reach net-zero emissions.
UNFCCC as of 2019 all countries NDCs add up to 2C to 4C of climate change by year 2100 (too much), so countries need to anti-up with more ambitious goals. 2021 is the planned year for new goals/NDCs at COP26 in Scotland. We don't know yet if Canada will commit to more ambitious targets. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Wilkinson seemed to imply a connection between increased ambition and a resolution to Article 6 ITMO trading.
EU recently passed a statement endorsing 'net-zero-2050' as a goal, which is thought to be compatible with 1.5C warming depending on path.
In Canada, the current federal governing party promised net-zero-2050 during the fall 2019 election campaign and in the November 2019 throne speech, and Canada's Minister of Environment re-iterated that verbal promise at COP25.
net-zero-2050 doesn't increase NDC for 2030, however it signals ahead to those investing in long-term industrial projects and those projects would tend to avoid asset stranding by building future-proof projects, and that in turn may make any 2030 NDC easier to achieve
Changes in our emission trajectory / emissions reduction progress is a function of several variables:
economic growth -as measured by GDP gross domestic product
productivity growth $GDP/capita
carbon intensity kg CO2e per $ of GDP. Carbon intensity is correlated with economic refactoring and technology changes.
emissions = population x productivity x intensity
change in emissions = change in population + change in productivity + change in intensity
Canada's current intensity is about .36kg / $GDP, population growth around 1.4% and GDP growth about 1.6% in 2019 (or 1.6 - 1.4=.2% per capita)
Experts say we (world) need to reduce our emissions about 50% by 2030 to stay on 1.5C path / trajectory
That means about 7%/year absolute reduction (pow(.93,10)=.48))
And assuming population growth and productivity growth continue, intensity will need to drop by:
change in intensity = change in emissions - change in population - change in productivity
change in intensity = -7% -1.4% - .2% = -8.6%/year
Technology as an intensity-reducing factor - early adopters may go green as a hobby, for curiosity/to experiment, for bragging rights or because its the right thing to do, even if at net cost. Mainstream adopters -the majority- compare costs of alternatives, and choose the cheapest. Fossil fuel technologies have been developed over several decades and any new technology would need to compete with fossil fuel technology. Carbon pricing can raise the price of fossil fuels to give lower emission technology a price advantage and trigger fuel switching. Signalling in advance the carbon price will continue rising and/or committing to hard targets like net-zero-2050 encourages investors to scale existing promising low emissions technology through research and development to achieve better economies of scale.
Q. As a mainstream citizen, what numbers do I put in my spreadsheet for future prices of carbon in each year?
Enacted legislation (federal benchmark): 2020 $30/tonne, 2021 $40/tonne, 2022 $50/tonne and as of Dec 2020, the price will rise $15/year from 2022 to $170/tonne 2030. There is a moderately high likelihood the carbon price will continue to escalate from 2030 to 2050 in order to reach net zero emissions in 2050, and our guestimate is 320 by 2030 and 470 in 2050.
Some factors that may lower escalating carbon pricing: public resistance based on confusion or misinformation, struggles with leakage or uncertainty over trading partners adoption of equivalent stringency so as not to cause leakage of emissions/economic-activity to lax jurisdictions, public resistance in provinces where revenues aren't recycled broadly enough through tax cuts and/or rebates, concern for homeless and those who don't file taxes and so don't have ways to get rebates, unforeseen breakthrough in Article 6 ITMO trading that reduces domestic cost of decarbonizing substantially, unforeseen technology breakthroughs or economy-wide feedback loops encouraging faster decarbonization, complementary programs with currently uncertain rollout or abatement effects: CFS clean fuel standard, EV subsidies, interest subsidies for clean home renovations, or variations of other (more expensive) non-carbon-pricing proposals, increases in international carbon pricing coverage and stringency allowing domestic EITE -emissions intensive trade exposed- industry free allocations to be reduced/tightened faster to expedite industrial decarbonization.
Some factors that may increase escalating carbon pricing: early confirmation of economic simulation studies which show 1.5C/net-zero-2050 pathways still exist at low cost /-net zero cost or less than 1% GDP [Jacobson 2019, EWG+LUT 2019 , Energy Transitions 2018], slow progress on NDC, increased NDC, broader public confidence in carbon pricing and revenue recycling regimes, international agreements to increase carbon pricing, similar simultaneous uncoordinated carbon pricing initiatives by major trading partners, Carbon Clubs (Nordhaus), and/or BCA/CBA border carbon adjustments to protect/mitigate against leakage of domestic industry, allowing faster carbon price escalation.
A problem with waiting for official government regulation/signaling: fossil-fuel-using equipment you buy today may become a 'stranded asset' if/as carbon prices increase and you abandon it part way through its lifespan due to it becoming unaffordable to operate. Asset stranding is a major cost to an economy doing rapid decarbonization, and can be reduced by starting early, signaling ahead (governments saying what future carbon prices will be), and working gradually/step-wise to decarbonize. For example you would normally wait till your hot water heater is at end of life, then do a calculation to see what best to replace it with, and make a step-wise change to your carbon footprint during equipment turnover. Depending on the type of equipment/appliance and its expected lifespan, there may only be a few turnovers between now and 2050, so making a future-proof decision on each turnover can save you from asset stranding costs in the long run.
Big emitter industries have people working on guestimating the future price on GHG emissions based on above mentioned factors, so they can minimize their asset stranding. But what about mainstream citizens?
Below we've summarized our felt best guestimate/projection/anticipation of future carbon prices, in a table and charts, with the idea that the median is the value mainstream citizens will typically use in a spreadsheet when comparing TCO total cost of ownership or NPV net present value of two or more alternatives. We apologize in advance for being wrong -- we just don't know in which direction or to what magnitude we will be wrong. Monitor for updates - the last-update date is in the upper-left of the table.
We don't have an estimate of Airdrie's emissions today. A look at national emissions and how they relate to a carbon budget can give an idea of what a municipal carbon budget can look like.
A study showed a global budget from 2020 of 440 GT (giga tonne) globally for a 50/50 chance of staying under 1.5C.
A fair share for Canada?
a) based on % of current global emissions 1.6% x 440 GT = 7 GT
b) based on % of world population 37 M / 7.8 B x 440GT = 2.1 GT
c) split difference of a) and b) (7 + 2.1)/2 = 4.55 GT
Deep Decarbonization gurus say there are 2 steps to decarbonize an economy:
STEP 1 convert everything to run on electricity
STEP 2 clean the electricity grid power
electricity is likely to be the main energy carrier
liquid and gaseous fuels likely limited to niche applications hard to electrify
hydrogen + natgas - unlikely for long term due to limited % hydrogen blend with natgas, would still emit GHG; limited to transition experiments
hydrogen + biogas unlikely to scale due to insufficient biomass to serve all applications and harder-to-abate applications will bid higher for available biomass
SAF sustainable aviation fuels from biomass likely to bid higher
BECCS biogas electricity generation with CCS carbon capture and storage - likely to bid higher and sell carbon credits to hard-to-abate sectors
hydrogen 100% - unlikely to scale due to being less energy dense -- 1/3 the energy density of methane-- harder / more energy needed to distribute and use, and so more likely any hydrogen use would be used at an electricity generation plant where hydrogen made --at hydrogen hub-- and home heating would be electric
Electricity Generation Mix
In order of likelihood based on early guestimates of economic viability in AB:
RE80 80% renewable with (natgas peaking + CCS carbon capture and storage) + grid interties + DR demand response
Carbon‐Neutral Pathways for the United States, Williams et al 2021
US can reach net zero 2050 for $1/person/day
natgas turbines have low capex and high opex, which complements VRE variable renewable energy well
turbines can idle while wind blowing and sun shining, and get the dispatch when renewables are exhausted
green hydrogen with salt dome storage can be used for seasonal energy storage, generating and storing green hydrogen in shoulder seasons and generating electricity via H2 turbines in the peak summer cooling and winter heating seasons
RE100 100% renewable + 24 hour storage + grid interties + DR demand response
Energy Reports — RethinkX - 5x overcapacity in renewables + short term storage + demand response
Mark Jacobson, book: "100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything", 2020, paperback, kindle
NARIS North American Renewable Integration Study - continental grid interties for high renewable electricity
A problem with 5x overcapacity in renewables: little incentive for private sector to invest in more-of-the-same renewables beyond full capacity: will be curtailed when sun shining and wind blowing, and won't generate when wind and sun not blowing and shining
RE80 80% renewable with nuclear SMR + grid interties + DR
generally nuclear expected to play a role in long run but not as big a role as renewables
with high capex and medium opex, does not complement renewables well: when auction bid due to medium opex puts it below renewables on the dispatch order of merit, it will be forced to idle, returing no revenue to support high investment / capex
To the extent VRE variable renewable energy dominates generation in Alberta, there will be a need for storage and DR demand response, also called demand flexibility. That's where an electricity customer shifts (or sheds) a load to a time of greater electricity supply / lower electricity demand. This avoids brownouts and rotating blackouts, and avoids thunking to dispatchable fossil fuel generation during supply shortages. Demand responders can include industrial, commercial and residential customers. TOU Time Of Use pricing may incentivize demand response, and/or regulations may require installing automated demand response equipment.
Airdrie is known as a commuter city and those commuting long distances by fossil fuel powered personal vehicle on a regular basis will find the carbon price and trickle-down cost of coming CFS Clean Fuel Standard will impact their transportation budget. A few strategies:
adopt zero emission vehicle technology on the next vehicle replacement cycle
maintain older vehicle longer, until BEV battery electric vehicles reach TCO total cost of ownership parity in about 2023, or initial price parity in about 2025, then upgrade
telecommute to reduce transport fuel use and/or keep older technology running until new technology reaches price parity
find work closer to home, or move closer to work
Home Owner Actions
In general, if appliances last 15 years, then there are at most 2 replacement cycles between 2020 and 2050.
The worse thing that could happen: your furnace or water heater breaks down, and you are in such a hurry to replace it that you have no time to consider electrifying. That could lead to much higher lifecycle costs as the carbon price continues to ramp up - currently scheduled for $170/tonne-GHG ($8.55/GJ natgas) by 2030 and not unlikely to be triple that by 2050.
Much better: prepare so when your furnace or hot water heater goes, you're ready to electrify.
0. Prepare a calculation comparing the cost and value delivered of natgas vs heat pump replacements
Here's an approximation for furnace replacement
Fuel switching year when:
(cost of heat from natgas furnace) > (cost of heat from electric heat pump)
Cost of heat from natgas furnace = (cost of natgas energy + carbon price)/(AFUE energy efficiency of furnace)
Cost of heat from electric heat pump = (cost of electric energy + volumetric charges)/(COP coefficient of performance of heat pump)
Example year 2030
natgas $4.50/GJ-energy, carbon price $170/tonne-GHG or $8.55/GJ, AFUE .97
electricity .13/kwh, $0 volumetric T&D transmission and distribution charges (fixed monthly), COP 3.0
Cost of natgas heat $/GJ = ($4.50 + $8.55)/(.97) = $13.45/GJ-heat
Cost of electric heat pump heat $/GJ = ((.13$/kwh-energy + $0/kwh T&D) x 278 kwh/GJ)/(COP 3.0) = 12.05 $/GJ-heat
in this case the fuel switching year would be around 2030
When to replace furnace with Heat Pump
Assuming (wrongly) a heat pump cost the same as a furnace, and if the carbon price continues to ramp up beyond 2030, then a rough guide:
half an appliance lifetime before fuel switching year, a heat pump is viable
then even though more expensive for first half, it makes up for it in the second half
Assuming appliances last 15 years, and using above fuel switching year, then 7.5 years before 2030 (2022 1/2) a heat pump is the preferred choice on replacement
Heat pumps cost more than furnaces. Possible offsets to the extra cost:
government grants -like Canada Greener Homes Grant Program, up to $5000 for a heat pump
value of AC air conditioning - heat pumps also reverse for AC in the summer, and if you don't have AC but its on your wish list
upgrade building envelope to reduce space heating load, to prepare for electrification of space heating
building-as-a-system - it may be better to save up and do it right all at once, rather than incrementally
seal air leaks - a blower door test, smoke wands, ultrasonic leak detectors, TIR thermal infrared cameras can help find leaks
house-as-system - as you seal the envelope consider adding HRV/ERV heat/energy recovery ventilator
upgrade insulation: R-20 below grade, R-40 walls, R-60 ceiling, mitigate thermal bridging
while avoiding dew point in wall issue by managing OB/IB outboard to inboard insulation ratio
upgrade windows and frames - low heat conductivity frames, triple glazed, low-e coating
keep receipts and/or get an EnerGuide audit so when you sell your home you get credit for its energy efficiency
low interest loans be available with energy audit through CMHC
up to $5000 grant from Canada Greener Homes Grant (nrcan.gc.ca) and up to $600 toward required certified energy audits before and after by NRCan registered Energy Analyst
electrify space and water heating as they reach end of life
replace natgas furnace with adequately sized electric heat pump - cold climate air-source heat pump, or ground source heat pump
see Heating and Cooling With a Heat Pump (nrcan.gc.ca) and Toolkit for air source heat pump sizing and selection (nrcan.gc.ca)
replace natgas water heater with electrical a) heat pump tank or b) resistance tankless
manage electrical loads to stay within house main and neighborhood distribution capacity - smart home system that schedules water heating for off peak and when stove, clothes dryer, and space heater aren't running
AB grid electricity is still somewhat carbon intense, while improving gradually as carbon price ramps, coal plants retire and renewables build out. That means switching to electrical heat pump space and water heating will in the short reduce emissions by just the efficiency gain of heat pumps over combustion. For those inspired to do so, purchasing green electricity from your electricity retailer can eliminate all emissions.
if/when adopting a smart home system, choose one that can be programmed to deliver automated DF demand flexibility: load shifting, shedding, sequencing. Benefits
respond to dynamic TOU time of use pricing can lower annual electricity costs
sequence loads to stay under neighborhood capacity limits, to avoid electrical utility transformer and wire upgrades at cost to electricity consumers
grid resilience - black swan events (Texas Polar Vortex) - scale back power usage automatically during supply shortages to avoid brownouts and blackouts; help smooth black-start ramps to match supply ramps with stochastic algorithms
encouraging renewable energy generation to replace GHG intensive fossil fuel generation - VRE variable renewable energy is non-dispatchable, and DF demand flexibility in buildings can complement VRE by pre-heating / pre-cooling when supply is ample, allowing faster decarbonization of grid
reduced grid infrastructure buildout needed and reduced buildout costs passed onto electricity consumers through rates
4. Optionally opt in to clean electricity through your electricity retailer, currently priced a few cents per kwh over regular grid electricity, this will help spur renewable buildout.
Home Renovation Contractor Actions
Organize into an ecosystem of inter-referrals to ensure home owners are aware of and aligned with a zero emission building future. There are only 3 decades to zero emissions 2050, and assuming renovations and appliance replacements occur every 15 years, there are at most 2 cycles left before 2050. Carbon price is currently scheduled for $8.50/GJ natgas in 2030 and not unlikely to continue rising after. Ecosystem parties:
EnerGuide EA energy advisor evaluation and generic recommendations early in a renovation process
Possible 'Energy Coach' referral, which can be more specific in recommending brands, models, contractors
building science and high performance housing compatible methods, apply any energy efficiency / near net zero building retrofit code
where services can be commodified, form aggregation services to pool homeowners and scale services to reduce cost per home
Fireplace Installer Actions
recommend and install electricity, including water vapour fireplaces (example: https://www.a-fireplace.com/water-vapor-fireplace/ )
HVAC Contractor Actions
make heat pump the default replacement for furnace and DHW, with explicit opt-out by customer for natgas:
for natgas opt-out, customer signs waivers acknowledging:
carbon price is rising to $170/tonne-GHG in 2030 ($8.55/GJ-natgas) and not-unlikely to continue rising
missed opportunity to disconnect natgas and save further the monthly natgas connection fee
no air-condition value with a furnace
coordinate with standby NRCan-certified EA Energy Advisor working with NRCan-licensed SO service organization for rapid turn-around on Energy Audit for Greener Homes Grant Program GHGP qualifying before-purchase energy audit and HOT2000 program run with envelope and heat pump trials, to find combination that reduces size of heat pump needed and cost to operate
on furnace failure, offer customer temporary loaner electrical resistance heater until audit complete
use NRCan Toolkit for Air Source Heat Pump Sizing and Selection, with HOT2000 load profile, to find -25C balance point capacity needed with envelope upgrades planned and net HOT2000 load after envelope upgrades
offer cold climate heat pump CCHP models listed on Greener Homes Grant qualifying list to maximize grant amount $5000
HRV - to keep air quality high, follow EA energy advisor recommendation on HRV installation or if customer has or will be sealing envelope (low ACH air changes per hour)
New Home Buyer Actions
Ask homebuilders for net-zero-ready standards and features. Most homebuilders can do it, but its not yet part of code, and they are in tight price competition, so they tend to spend their sales time / effort on kitchen styles. Net Zero Ready should include
insulation approximately R- 10 - 30 - 60 - 80 basement floor, basement walls, walls, ceiling
less than 1.5 ACH@50 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals
triple glaze low-e windows (low-e keeps thermal infrared energy in the house
EnerGuide sticker < 50 GJ/year
heat pump space and water heating - there are less than 15 years to price crossover, with carbon price rising to $170/tonne 2030 ($8.55/GJ) and not unlikely continuing to rise beyond 2030, and electrical utilities / AUC discussing shifting volumetric electricity charges to monthly connection fee, so in about 2030 the (natgas + carbon tax) = (electricity + line losses). and so proving there is adequate electric panel, outdoor positioning, noise control system in place while being built will save homeowner switchover costs in 10 - 15 years.
if appliances included, EnergyStar and smart home controllable
high voltage wire to garage for current or future Level II EV charger
200 Amp main breaker
DF demand flexibility ready smart home system - ready for TOU time of use electricity price signal load shifting and shedding high amperage loads
Resale Home Buyer Actions
check for EnerGuide label - usually on electrical panel, compare rating with those of that era, and give credit for work done on envelope, water fixtures, and space / water heating
if buying a MURB / condo unit, inspect condo rules to ensure the following is allowed for each unit owner to do:
install EV charger in their assigned parking space with separate electricity meter, at their own cost
upgrade windows including frames to EnergyStar rated
upgrade attic and basement insulation
upgrade exposed wall insulation under reasonable aesthetic constraints
install electric heat pump air source or ground source
ensure envelope upgrades as shown by EnerGuide Label, and mechanical electrification are properly credited when pricing a resale home
familiarize yourself with:
heat pump technologies to explain to buyers unfamiliar
trajectory of regulatory stringency / carbon pricing escalation on fossil fuels like natgas and how that compares to electric heat pumps for space and water heating
studies showing the likely supply / demand price points of RNG renewable natural gas
volumetric energy density of H2 hydrogen gas, expense of distribution, and likelihood of hydrogen for residential
New Home Builder Actions
make net-zero or net-zero ready the default, and regular an opt-out
when designing at medium density or higher, model direct sunlight hours per year --property values 2.4% higher for each additional hour of direct sunlight-- and augment with LED 100,000 lumens/m2 window sunlight-emulators to offset lost sunshine from adjacent building shadows, window sub-optimal orientation and condo caves.
AUC Alberta Utilities Commission and Electrical Utilities and Retailers Actions
Challenge: encourage electrification while decarbonizing grid power.
regulator and generation actions: continue with OBPS output based pricing system with every tonne-GHG priced, and revenue recycled so as to make electricity appear attractive relative to other fuels
distribution: change from volumetric charges to fixed connection fee by customer class. When comparing natgas to electricity using spreadsheet modeling, the marginal cost of electricity is commonly used, and that excludes fixed fees that would be paid 'anyway'. So reducing marginal costs will
improve marginal economics of fuel switching heating to grid electricity as seen by electricity consumers.
reduce the incentive to bypass volumetric charges via rooftop solar as seen in California's utility death spiral
distribution and retail: prepare for TOU pricing with metering. Expect bigger swings in bid electricity prices.
implement load shifting for EV charging, hot water heaters, etc. to reduce local transformer/distribution overheating and match renewable generation, see:
electricity retailer actions:
make 'green' or 'green if less than 2.0 cents more' the default, and make regular an opt-out
Grocery Store / Supermarket Actions
Transition to Kigali Amendment compliant refrigerants
For example CO2 https://evapcolmp.ca/en/
MURB / Condo board and Commercial Building Actions
CAGBC.org report Decarbonizing Canada’s Large Buildings
ZEBX BC video series https://www.zebx.org/zebx-tv/
Condo boards must specify a change of mechanical system to get a change, its up to the condo board
Management firms are not allowed to change systems without board approval
Capital Replacement Fund Engineering studies assume continuation of / replacing with same mechanical or small efficiency gains such as condensing boilers
Investigate ground source heat pump suitability for the site
see municipal geology map for ground loops (link not yet available as of Sept 2022
plan location, spacing, depth of wells to get sufficient capacity
option: hybrid air-source and ground-source
option: transition hybrids
join / form pools with other condo boards to invite competitive contractor bids on multiple sites
EV chargers in parking lot - simple cable-less posts, cables dug to building electrical panel area where charging transformers are mounted, car owner buys car-to-post cable.
load shifting - work with local electricity distributor to load shift EV charging, electric/heat pump water heating, see
Cement Industry Actions
MEED snapshot July 2021 for Airdrie.
SSG & whatIf? Technologies. Municipal Energy and Emissions Database. 2021. Available online at: https://www.meed.info
Community level emissions - benchmark against Edmonton:
staff position: program manager for community programs within city's environment and climate resilience unit
Community GHG tracking and public GHG Dashboard
A fine temporal granularity GHG tracking webpage/dashboard for a) corporate city emissions b) community scale emissions using ghgprotocol.org standards or similar scope 1 and 2 breakout, so citizens can monitor collective improvements including daily and weekly cycles
update information for MEED Municipal Energy and Emissions Dashboard and link to it, for comparison to other municipalities
natgas ban in new building zones and major rebuild / renovations
work proactively with province on early adoption of NBC national building code retrofit code (2025) and Net Zero Ready code (2030)
ask province to allow/permit/grant municipalities permission/flexibility to adopt more stringent/ambitious codes like BC did for Vancouver
disaster preparedness, mitigation, management, and adaptation:
keep floodplain / flood zone maps updated with probabilities to match increased water carrying capacity of atmosphere due to climate change and urbanization of terrain and flash flood drainage into historical creek channels
plan emergency temporary and permanent diking
GSHP ground source heat pumps
prepare geology map for allowed vertical ground loops,
give lot/block/building online assessment tool based on geology, like NYC, for MURB and commercial building use:
NYC clickable map that presents table including ground source tons, depth to bedrock
Westchester GeoPossibilities https://geopossibilities.ny.gov/
write / clarify any bylaws, permits needed for vertical ground loop drilling and loop location relative to property line
clarify any restrictions on circulation liquids
ASHP air source heat pumps
prepare noise related etiquette and regulations for placing air source heat pumps, and clarify any permits needed
Cities deal with concerns over heat pump noise - Tri-City News (tricitynews.com)
detailed suggestions for City of Calgary AC noise bylaw improvements quiet.org
apply filter to NRCan Greener Homes Grant Program list of cold climate heat pumps to remove those too noisy
existing AC, heat pumps not conforming to new / clarified noise bylaws would at least be required to conform on next replacement / repair cycle even if no complaints
monitor fed bill C-12 Net Zero Advisory Panel for any recommendations that will impact spreadsheet calculations on equipment replacement cycles; delay equipment replacement through extended maintenance until post 2030 carbon pricing clarified.
heat pump mandate - building code regulation, so homeowners, building owners don't get stuck with natgas furnace/DHW if/as carbon price ramps beyond $170/tonne-GHG ($8.55/GJ natgas) in 2030 to not-unlikely $500/tonne-GHG ($25/GJ natgas) 2050, and so city/natgas utility ready to shut off natgas in 2050 because no one using natgas by then.
heat pumps or electrical resistance for both space and hot water, other appliances
all new buildings starting 2022, no natgas hookups
replacement mandate for existing furnaces - replace with NRCan approved and city noise bylaw approved heat pump starting July 2022
ban on single-direction air conditioner installations
it's illogical to install a single direction air conditioner which will be abandoned before its full lifespan is complete due to being replaced with furnace by a full-sized heat pump, leaving the partially used air conditioner un-sellable and a 'stranded asset'
by requiring A/C be bidirectional heat pumps, then even if too small to heat a space more than 10C, when decommissioned on full heat pump installation the used small heat pump can be re-sold to fully heat a smaller living space, and get to its full lifespan, avoiding asset stranding costs
CEIP clean energy improvement program - like Calgary, finances qualifying energy improvements through property tax system Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) (calgary.ca)
Join some of the municipal organizations working on sustainability
PCP Partners for Climate Protection https://www.pcp-ppc.ca/
Calgary, Cochrane, Okotoks are members, Airdrie is not yet as of Oct 2021
MURB multi-unit residential buildings, designed communities, condos > restrictive covenants / boards > possible over-riding bylaws > restrictive covenants and condo boards are likely to want to accommodate EVs, electrified heating and upgraded envelopes in order to improve resale value of all units, and so municipal / provincial laws to overcome covenant/board restrictions/resistance may not be necessary, but if needed:
right to charge EVs
charging coordination / etiquette / rules may be needed if local electrical transformer and line ampacity design is exceeded if all EVs charge simultaneously
right to electrify space and water heating - may relate to noise bylaw / dB ratings for Air Source heat pumps in close spacing, vertical ground loop spacing and capacity reliance for Ground Source heat pumps
right to upgrade envelope thermal resistance which may affect the appearance with different window frames, thicker walls with external insulation, thermal shutters and sun-managing external blinds
right to clothes-line drying laundry
Continue balancing between car-centric commuter city design and walkable 15 minute high-property-tax-per-service-kilometer high density mixed use areas
200 Amp main breaker provincial code for new homes, like BC (vs 100 Amp), to support higher electrical loads including EV chargers, heat pump space heating with resistance supplementary heating, electrical radiant heater fireplaces, DHW domestic hot water heat pump or on-demand resistance hot water
Fund a pilot project for hybrid source heat pumps - ground source for mid-winter peak shaving, and air source for shoulder seasons- and associated compact ground loops and summer recovery cycles, and that will be eligible for fed Greener Homes Grant program
Determine if vertical ground loops should be registered, as in BC
heat pump replacement mandate sometime in 2020s - industry momentum and lack of fully informed consumers could result in sub-optimal delayed uptake of heat pumps for space and water heating, and 'stranded asset' furnaces for consumers years later if/as the carbon price continues to ramp beyond 2030 and/or LCFS low carbon fuel standard for gaseous fuels kicks in, increasing the cost of gaseous fuels relative to electricity. When is the right year for a mandate depends on future grid greening, electricity pricing, carbon pricing / LCFS, heat pump capability and pricing.
big emitters - price every tonne regardless of BCA border carbon adjustment progress. Recycle additional revenue to consumer sector to complement / top-up federal greener homes grant program, EV incentives, and to commercial sector where support is efficient (versus accumulating in TIER fund).
methane emissions: establish "Fossil Methane Leak Bounty Program" - to incentivize independent leak hunters to find and report leaks
support ramping of carbon price beyond 2030. 170/tonne only gets low hanging fruit, price should be 350/tonne 2040, 500+/tonne 2050, support early announcement of continuing ramp so businesses can alter spreadsheets when calculating best replacements for plant and machinery.
option: change legislation to assume province is covered with approved electricity transmission route and onshore wind tower approved area by default, and allow rules-based contesting for a period, so project planners have multiple sites and routes available
Alberta Condominium Property Act
require option to decarbonize heating systems as part of capital replacement fund engineering study report
mandatory energy rating and disclosure policies, so condo buyers can anticipate and budget for carbon price increase and capex intensive energy retrofits
Federal / Provincial Harmonized Actions
gasoline displacement incentives - to complement or replace flat $5000 fed EV subsidies - as a way to target gasoline superusers - the 10% of light duty vehicle owners who consume 30% of gasoline sales - see Gasoline SuperUsers
modify CEC Canadian Electrical Code Part 1 to allow for residential behind-the-meter sequencing / load managing new high amperage smart appliances - EV charging, space heat pumps and supplemental resistance heat, heat pump water heating, range/oven, clothes dryer- to stay under original/existing main breaker capacity, and therefore avoiding need for new panel and main breaker, and avoiding exceeding neighborhood transformer capacity and wire ampacity, so as to reduce cost of electrifying residential buildings and keeping distribution utility new capex capital expenses low and therefore keeping electricity consumer costs low
accelerate NBC national building code retrofit code currently scheduled for 2025, and net zero ready code currently scheduled for 2030
real-time GHG dashboard / carbon budget countdown - less accurate than 2-year delayed reports, but more timely and helpful for adjusting carbon pricing, adding complementary programs and building insight at the grassroots.
space heating furnace and DHW domestic hot water regulations: implement replacement mandate to heat pumps for Alberta due to federal 2030 $170/tonne-GHG ($8.55/GJ) not being enough to trigger fuel switching (very close to break-even) and replacement mandates should start now, so that half of appliance life is spent at less than 170/tonne, half greater than 170/tonne. Doing so may delay or avoid need to increase carbon price beyond 2030.
ban one-way residential air conditioners: for the cost of a few more valves a low capacity heat pump can do the same job cooling and also pump heat the other way in mild weather and shoulder seasons, displacing fossil fuel furnace heat
Greener Homes Grant Program
remove eligibility of solar PV
greening of electricity supply is more efficiently through carbon pricing in electricity sector
purpose of Greener Home Grant program is to prepare homeowners for higher heating costs as carbon price ramps.
solar PV does little to prepare, is rapidly depleting fund
its major effect is to reduce volumetric transmission and distribution charges for homeowners, leading to utility death spiral
see Designing Electricity Rates for An Equitable Energy Transition
volumetric transmission and distribution charges should be changed to fixed monthly per-class, to align with capex nature of utility costs, something discussed in AUC Alberta Utility Commission hearings
ensure list of eligible heat pumps all use refrigerants meeting future requirements for safety, AGW and ozone requirements post 2035, so when refrigerants are replaced the equipment still meets the original performance factors
top up fund
announce carbon price will continue to ramp beyond 2030
this will have an immediate impact on equipment replacement sales, with heat pumps outselling furnaces by mid 2022
versus no announcement, heat pumps sell in 2030s
allow OBPS in electricity sector with benchmark zero
Recycling carbon price revenue from electricity sector back to electricity sector keeps electricity prices low relative to other fuels, encouraging electrification
Do OBAs make sense for the electricity sector? (ecofiscal.ca)
consider escalating fed benchmark carbon price faster than + $15/year, to match NDC nationally determined contribution ambition escalation, and to match carbon budget recommended by Net Zero 2050 Advisory Panel
BCA border carbon adjustments
if / when adopting, drop other carbon leakage mitigation measures such as OBPS, so industry restructures around fully priced emissions
NZAB - Net Zero Advisory Body
In the context of its assigned role and mandate, acknowledge:
there are substitutes and abatement methods for all sources, at some cost
the ambition of international parties and Canadians is dynamic
growing public awareness, experience with and acceptance of substitutes, reducing public dependency on high emissions methods may lead to greater public ambition in a non-linear trajectory
international ambition is dynamic - Paris Agreement mentions escalating ambition
some models -like DNV PNZ- of a global 1.5C pathway show advanced economies reaching net zero by 2043 to give developing economies more time
the cost of abatement is dynamic
non-linear cost curves for new technologies due to economies of scale / learning / experience curve / Wrights Law
within sectors MACC marginal abatement cost curve may change for specific parts of process at different times
substitutes across sectors may change
the estimate of cost of not abating is dynamic:
climate damages / SCC social cost of carbon is being updated
changing egalitarianism and compensation factors in international damage claims
Considering the dynamic nature, and the larger context of ambition, NZAB shouldn't be setting a carbon budget cast in stone, but rather an updatable, ambition-tunable framework with snapshot values and trajectories. See DNV PNZ Pathway to Net Zero which shows trajectories.
CUSMA / USMCA / NAFTA 2.0 Trading Block Actions
North American continental coordination on carbon pricing: price every tonne-GHG stringently and equally throughout North America
see “Carbon Pricing and the Elasticity of CO2 emissions”, Rafaty, Dolphin, Pretis, 2021
USD 110/tonne implmented in single step in 2020 shown to be sufficient to keep world on 1.5C trajectory, and make a sufficient ICPF international carbon price floor
ramp to 110/tonne over 10 years would have a lag, so would need higher stringency or complementary programs
Canada's ramp to CDN $170/tonne in 2030 is close
Implement as an addendum to CUSMA/USMCA/NAFTA 2.0: future USA admin more likely to honor an international agreement than a one-party policy
Biden Admin current plan IRA inflation reduction act, will spend $369B to get 1 Gt gigatonne cumulative abatement, or USD $369/tonne-GHG which is expensive, and will pay for it by hiring 80,000 more tax collectors to find tax cheats, which has questionable reliability, and still fall short of their 50% by 2030 target, so Admin may welcome an international agreement
EU style ETS on in-bound and outgoing cargo ships: treat 50% of incoming and 50% of outgoing emissions as in-country and charge carbon price (versus IMO international maritime organization ineffective efforts). China, US, EU adopting can cut maritime emissions 84%.
ETS on international flights 50/50 like maritime
Imports to North America trading block:
add small broad Carbon Club tariff maximum 2% to all goods from any country with no internal carbon price, and reduce that tariff as they get closer to ICPF international carbon price floor USD 110
add a large narrow tariff to high carbon intensity goods -like steel, fertilizer, aluminum etc- as EU is doing with CBAM carbon border adjustment mechanism, giving credits to countries according to how close their carbon price is to ICPF 110 or specific mfg. evidence of lower emissions intensity production process.
Major World Trading Block Actions
Adopt ICPF international carbon price floor (IMF suggestion) USD 110/tonne-GHG or based on SCC social cost of carbon USD 120+
Credit a country / trading block with their internal carbon price weighted by scope of emissions it applies to, when importing, up to the weighted internal carbon price of the importing country
Coordinate between trading blocks on carbon tariffs:
Climate Club (Nordhaus): low tariff 2% on all goods from any country with no internal carbon price, giving credit as above
CBAM / BCA Border Carbon Adjustment: high tariff on carbon intense products such as steel, fertilizer, giving credit as above or specific evidence if better
coordinate between EU27 and Northe America to remove BCA / CBAM in inter-trade-block goods
combination of BCA + Climate Club tariff incentivizes other exporting countries to adopt equally stringent internal carbon pricing to avoid the tariffs and keep carbon pricing revenue in-country. Which in turn incentivizes fuel switching / decarbonization in those countries.
adjust above for egalitarianism formulas to put more work load on advanced economies
DNV Pathway to Net Zero - example 1.5C pathway shown with advanced economies hitting net zero in 2042 to give developing economies more time
Ecojustice report "A New Canadian Climate Accountability Act ", 2020 p.17,18 show various possible formulas for spreading the load:
ability to pay
horizontal equity (GDP/capita)
utilitarian (GDP optimization)
Rawlsian (minimize welfare loss to poorest regions)
Concerned Citizen Volunteer Actions
vote for political representatives with stringent climate policies
support continuing carbon price and escalating/ ramping price beyond 2030, to about 350/tonne 2040, 500+/tonne 2050, and every tonne of GHG should be priced including from big emitters, BCA border carbon adjustments will help but shouldn't be a pre-condition for pricing every tonne
complementary policies - given carbon price/levy/fee, complementary programs add to ambition / accelerate decarbonization:
EV incentives and mandates
clean(er) fuel standards
clean electricity standards
home envelope and mechanical upgrade incentives and net zero building codes
hard-to-abate sectors need attention to accelerate transition beyond what carbon pricing can do in the short term
Find Your Climate Action:
1. what are you good at, resources, networks
2. What needs doing (heat pumps, insulation, explaining, policy mechanism design..)
3. What brings you joy - pick something you like doing because there’s lots to do, and you need to be in it for the long haul.
- find something that meets all 3 of those.
start and/or join a ClimateHub for Airdrie
For place of business where employees commute and park during working hours, have metered Level II EV chargers installed, enabled by employee card, so electricity can be purchased by the employee during working hours at TOU time of use rates -which are low during sunlight hours- and can then use V2H vehicle to home technique to supply evening electricity to their home at mid-day TOU rates.
work-from-home when/where feasible to cut employee commuting cost and emissions, including telepresence and telerobotics where feasible.