Fenestration Canada advocating for energy-efficient building stimulus
By Patrick Flannery
Fenestration Canada has joined other construction industry associations in a group called Efficiency Canada to lobby the federal government to direct policy to energy-efficient building incentives to help companies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are encouraged to sign a form letter that will be automatically sent to the signatory’s local MP.
The letter reads:
As your constituent, and a hard working Canadian, I am writing to you today in support of a COVID-19 recovery focused on people, clean growth, and resiliency.
I am one of the over 436 000 Canadians who work in energy efficiency. Despite being designated as essential services in most parts of the country, businesses in our sector have been significantly affected by COVID-19, with some companies seeing major revenue losses. My team and I are prepared to get back to work when it is safe to do so, and to train new people in our trade.
Efficiency oriented work, including residential retrofits, can have deep impacts on the Canadian economy beyond the direct investment. Building retrofits stimulate demand in multiple supply chains, while also leading to household savings which can further result in an increase in consumer spending. In Canada, a study on the macroeconomic impacts of energy efficiency shows ramping up efficiency investments will create 175 000 annual jobs and increase annual GDP by $42.5billion .
Renovations will make buildings more durable when faced with extreme weather, and improve indoor comfort and air quality, which prevents health complications related to asthma or exposure to extreme heat or cold .
To achieve these benefits, we need a policy focused on deeper energy savings, with more homes upgrading insulation, windows, and heating and cooling systems. This is a major job creator, considering that 60% of expenditures on home energy retrofits go towards labour .
In Canada, we can ramp up energy savings by:
• Expanding on commitments in ministerial mandate letters to provide free energy audits, $40,000 interest-free loans, direct cash incentives and grants, and support for training 
• Immediately expanding existing provincial energy efficiency programs through funding mechanisms such as the low-carbon economy fund, with a specific emphasis on deep energy retrofits, low-and-moderate income housing, and zero-carbon heating systems.
• Creating a long-term building retrofit financing platform through institutions such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
As my representative, I am asking you to champion these initiatives and make energy efficiency a core part of our recovery from COVID-19.