Financial Incentives Available For Building Green

Build Green High-Density Renovation Pilot Project Benefits Commercial Owners 

The term holistic is not often associated with commercial building construction. However, it can be with the new Built Green Canada High-Density Renovation Pilot Program (BGCHDR) that launched in Sept. 2019. The term applies to the interaction of advanced building technologies, practices, and materials as they apply to whole energy-efficient systems, so you can partake in sustainable initiatives. 

This program encourages the use of sustainable energy building features when upgrading or renovating high-density buildings. With the downturn in the energy sector, many commercial office buildings in Calgary are vacant. Therefore, some commercial building owners are re-envisioning their real estate investments.

For example, one way they are doing this is by turning office space into a mix of retail and residential units. For example, The Strategic Group has committed $100,000,000 to renovate the Barron Building in Calgary’s downtown because they are participating in the BGCHDR pilot program. 

Sustainable initiatives for building green

Why Sign On To The BGCHDR Certification Program?

If you aren’t sure why you should buy into sustainability and energy efficiency, here are a few reasons:

  • Save money on utility costs.
  • It is good for the environment.
  • Develop healthier living and working spaces.
  • It entrenches the companies and builders as positive industry & community leaders.
  • These building initiatives can qualify for financing programs like Natural Resources Canada rebate.
  • Helping residential homebuyers qualify for incentives will improve sales.
  • Since homeowners can be eligible for up to 25% insurance rate deduction on sustainable and energy-efficient properties. Glenworth and CMHC both offer more information. 
  • A majority of buyers demand sustainable living/work accommodations.
  • Keep renovation current with new building codes 
  • Increase the quality and decrease warranty callbacks on home & business sales 
  • Reuse & reduce construction waste in order to save money on building and disposal costs

Highlights Of The Program

The BGCHDR program encourages companies to renovate using sustainable initiatives.  For instance, the seven main categories they look are are: energy efficiency, materials & methods, indoor air quality, ventilation, waste management, water conservation, and business practices. 

Other Build Green sustainable programs have been running in the construction industry for the last decade. As a result, the programs continue to upgrade criteria as innovations are introduced.

Some examples of the upgraded criteria for the high-density renovation program in 2019 are:

  • a 50% energy efficiency upgrade to building envelopes (walls and windows) 
  • 90% upgrade to roofs
  • Two significant upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems-heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water for the entire building or 50% upgrades to building lighting systems
  • Reuse of building materials from walls, floors, and roof (increased points for higher percentages of reuse)
  • Diversion from the landfill of 50% of overall construction waste 

This program offers builders a checklist, a consultant to help collect documentation for certification and materials, online training modules, and a materials catalogue available under each category. However, check the Build Green’s website for the breakdown checklist items and request an interpretation log. 

Technical experts and feedback from the industry are used to update checklists. This is in an effort to keep it current with new approaches. For example, 2019 includes resiliency criteria to address protection from natural disasters. The 2013 flood emphasizes the need to consider possible risk factors in building construction.

The Certification Process

Technical advisers help during the renovation to ensure builders are meeting criteria goals for their sustainable initiatives. On completion of the project, it is certified by a third party verification based on sustainability criteria. There are four levels of achievement: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum, allowing the builder flexible achievement goals. On certification, the building receives a plaque to place on the building to reassure potential buyers of the standards met in the building’s renovation.

Built Green Membership

Various membership plans are available with Built Green Canada. Membership provides a networking and mentoring group of builders and suppliers, sharing similar insight, values, and goals. Therefore, the membership offers a marketing package and forum that highlights various members in Built Green’s multiple communication channels. For more information about this and other Built Green programs, call 1 855-485-0920 or email at

For additional help, or to discuss the benefits of this program, contact The Mortgage Group Calgary. An experienced broker will help you navigate the various programs and funding sources. They will help you find the one most beneficial to your construction and financing needs. Additionally, you can talk to our team about providing mortgage information and support packages to your potential buyers.