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building insulation
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Policy Solution

Building envelopes and materials



High performing building envelopes reduce heat gain as well as heat loss, lowering energy requirements. Materials commonly used to keep buildings warm in colder months also store heat in warmer months (e.g. concrete, tiles, brick, and stone).


Establish zoning code or design regulations requiring efficient building envelopes.

Considerations for Use

This is most applicable to new developments. Improving existing building envelopes is often cost prohibitive, but owners can consider improving insulation and airtightness during major renovations.


  • Climate:

    Cold, Hot/Dry, Hot/Humid, Temperate
  • Policy Levers:

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points:

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    Introducing new or updated zoning/codesIncludes codes, zoning requirements or by-laws pertaining to urban planning and building construction activity.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Types:

    Buildings and Built Form
  • Sectors:



  • Target Beneficiaries:

    Property owners
  • Phase of Impact:

    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:

    Decrease in building temperature, Energy savings


  • Intervention Scale:

  • Authority and Governance:

    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:

    Medium-term (3-9 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:

    City government, Private developers, Property owners and managers
  • Funding Sources:

    Private investment
  • Capacity to Act:

    High, Medium


  • Cost-Benefit:

  • Public Good:

  • GHG Reduction:

  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):

    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social/Economic):

    Save on utilities