Targeting Net Zero by 2035
Brightside is excited to share our Net Zero Strategy, which outlines our goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the year 2035.
Pollution from buildings, which is caused primarily by burning natural gas for space heating, hot water and cooking, represents about 10% of BC’s total GHG emissions. The onus is on housing providers to acknowledge our obligations to reduce GHG emissions, and to take steps to mitigate climate change. With 22 buildings currently in operation and 6 new buildings currently under construction, we understand urgency of the current climate crisis and the role we must play in affecting change within our portfolio. We are taking steps to help ensure the homes we provide do not contribute to global warming through GHG emissions, and we are proud to share the work we are undertaking with the housing sector.
To achieve our goal of reaching net zero by 2035, Brightside worked with Affine Climate Solutions to develop our Net Zero Strategy, and to ensure that we are adhering to current climate science recommendations. Part of our Net Zero Strategy is the identification of the sources of GHG emissions within Brightside’s operations. These sources can be categorized as Scopes 1, 2, and 3, representing different categories of GHG emissions that collectively contribute to Brightside’s carbon footprint. These Scopes have been defined by following guidance drawn from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) GHG Greenhouse Gas Protocol:
- Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from Brightside-owned sources, such as residential buildings, offices, and fleet vehicle emissions;
- Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from purchased electricity and steam, such as electricity used in buildings’ common areas; and
- Scope 3 refers to emissions from sources not owned or controlled by the organization, such as goods purchased by Brightside and service provider operations.
While cutting Scope 3 emissions is an important part of climate action, Brightside’s current Net Zero Strategy focuses on Scope 1 and 2 emissions in order to concentrate efforts on goals that the organization can control and realistically achieve.
Our goals focused on reaching net zero within our organization include an intermediary goal of 37% reduction in GHG emissions by 2027, in order to allow time to build capacity for retrofit financing & implementation to reach the 2035 goal with a measured and realistic approach. To achieve the ambitious targets set out in our Net Zero Strategy, Brightside will be implementing net zero retrofits on all of our existing buildings, which involves upgrading buildings and suites and optimizing energy efficiency, ensuring that all new developments are designed to be climate resilient and zero emissions, replacing all fleet vehicles with Electric Vehicles (EVs) to reduce emissions and eliminate fossil fuel consumption, and actively engaging with suppliers and project teams to cut emissions & improve data quality.
Our net zero goals have been developed with a science-based approach in mind, which means that they are in line with the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change which deems necessary limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Brightside’s principles for a realistic, science-based approach include keeping focus on what is under our control such as keeping strict standards in the construction of new developments instead of trying to change tenant energy use; setting short-term targets to motivate action; and connecting actions to impact in order to understand the levers to achieve targets.
By setting these ambitious goals and aligning future actions with the latest climate science, Brightside hopes to create opportunities for knowledge-sharing and improving the environmental sustainability of the housing sector as a whole.
Read more below, or click here to download a PDF version.
This work was made possible by funding from the Community Housing Transformation Centre (CHTC) and from Vancity. Without the generous grant contributions from these funders, this Net-Zero Climate Strategy would not have been possible.