Future elected officials need to look at housing “with a climate change lens” – BCREA

Industry body urges officials to develop housing policy with climate change in mind

Future elected officials need to look at housing “with a climate change lens” – BCREA
Duffie Osental

As Canadians head to the polls for next week’s federal election, the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) has urged future elected officials to look at housing policy “with a climate change lens.”

The province suffered through severe heatwaves and devastating wildfires over the summer, which experts say were caused by warmer temperatures due to climate change.

And in a recent statement, BCREA said that the current landscape of housing is “not helping the climate crisis.”

Read more: BC industry bodies warn buyers against making unconditional offers

“Single-family dwellings generally consume more energy and emit more greenhouse gases per square foot of livable area than townhouses or apartment units built under the same building code,” BCREA said in its statement. “It’s also generally true that most single-family homes are built in areas that are further from employment centres and are not within easy walking distance from commonly used retail and service outlets, recreation or entertainment amenities. The result is an increased reliance on cars for transportation, again resulting in more greenhouse gases.”

“This summer British Columbia experienced the worst heatwave in our recorded history and what could end up being the most devastating wildfire season ever,” said Darlene Hyde, chief executive officer of BCREA. “If there were any doubts about the very real impacts of climate change, they should be erased. Canadians want to see real action on climate change, and they want to see it now.”

According to BCREA, if housing policy is developed with the changing climate in mind, “we will not only be creating better and more housing options for those who need it, but we will be doing so sustainably.”

“It would be irresponsible to look at solutions to Canada’s housing supply crisis without looking at how these fixes affect the climate,” said Hyde. “In fact, by looking at the two together, we are more likely to explore creative solutions that will make the long-lasting change that is needed in both areas.”