Editorial: Energy efficiency enterprise upsides

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The pandemic-induced no-normal era that B.C. finds itself in with the rest of the world affords opportunities to make once-in-a-generation changes to business operations.

Improving energy efficiency is one of those opportunities.

Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s minister of natural resources, recently announced that the country will join the Three Percent Club (TPC) as part of its push to improve the country’s energy efficiency.

TPC is a collaboration of like-minded governments and organizations whose goal is to increase energy efficiency 3% each year. That percentage improvement in annual energy intensity, according to the club, is what the world needs to meet Paris Agreement greenhouse gas emission mitigation targets. But energy efficiency delivers far more than environmental improvements. Efficiency Canada points out that Canada’s energy

efficiency sector employed more than 436,000 Canadians prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Increasing energy efficiency through such initiatives as retrofitting old buildings will add to that total and help cut energy costs for Canadians.

At a time when businesses in every sector are being forced to rethink their operations to survive in the COVID-19 era, energy use should have the same priority as retooling office environments and expanding remote working options because energy efficiency improvements will contribute directly to a company’s bottom-line savings.

Consider, for example, that a 2018 study by the International Energy Agency and Natural Resources Canada found that energy efficiency initiatives in the country could account for more than 40% of Canada’s energy needs by 2050. That is energy that does not have to be generated from new sources.

That is also the kind of far-sighted opportunity that a global crisis should kick-start in progressive countries and businesses.