Planned growth leads to climate-friendly cities

By Mike Collins-Williams
October 21, 2022

Meaningful climate action requires proper handling of our housing crisis. We cannot build a sustainable future without a focus on development and planned growth. For too long, governments have buried their heads in the sand about the significant population growth our region is facing. This has led to ongoing political debates and delays that derive from new housing projects having to justify their existence.

This political pattern jeopardizes our social and economic growth, as well as the sustainability of the workforce we need to build a green economy. Currently, the housing crisis is affecting our cities’ ability to attract and retain talent. To continue to grow our workforce and consequently our economy, we need to have housing available for workers across all industries.

New building practices

Builders in Ontario are already building some of the most energy-efficient homes in North America. Many are adopting new building practices to achieve Energy Star rating, LEED certifications, Passivhaus designations, or even Canadian Home Builders Association qualified Net Zero status. With each successive building code update, the energy efficiency of the homes our members deliver increases, with a working target of all new homes being Net Zero homes by 2030.

As we work to achieve this end, one thing local governments can do is acknowledge the need for growth and redevelopment within our cities. Quite often, when a builder proposes a new building at higher density and with more advanced, energy-efficient materials, it is met with great opposition or NIMBYism. This significantly delays the time it takes to get shovels in the ground and adds major costs to the development, ultimately impacting the affordability of a project and worsening our housing crisis.

Meaningful difference

One thing we can do to help make a meaningful difference when it comes to building climate friendly cities, is acknowledging that having enough housing for everyone is the key ingredient. We need to acknowledge and embrace the growth coming our way. If there’s one thing that the last few years have shown, it is the importance of a place to call home. Members of the West End Home Builders Association have known this for years, as we continue to deliver on our mission of homes for current and future residents of Hamilton and Burlington.

About Mike Collins-Williams

Mike Collins-Williams, RPP, MCIP, is CEO West End Home Builders’ Association.

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