Grid Implications of Electrifying Residential New Construction

October 26, 2023

A recent article in Le Droit implied that grid constraints can limit or delay new residential projects—in this specific case, in Gatineau, Quebec. The article raised concerns in the energy information space and among policy makers about the viability of all-electric residential new construction in the near term. 

The Building Decarbonization Alliance (BDA) sought to better understand the issue and undertook a series of interviews with utilities and one of their trade associations. Based on these discussions, we understand that widespread concerns are not warranted, and that we should not delay the pursuit of broadly electrifying new construction. While there will be challenges involved, electrification is possible and happening today, and we can manage the fact that it is not a homogenous process across Canada.

This memo makes a range of observations and recommendations to support this view, and the BDA is calling on stakeholders in this space to bring forward additional insights, observations, or data to further support or challenge our understanding of this complex issue.

About the Authors

Mathieu Poirier

Director of Policy – Building Decarbonization Alliance

Matt prides himself on translating research findings into actionable solutions that support the clean energy transition. He brings over 10 years of experience working with governments, utilities, and industry to decarbonize the built environment. Before this role, Matt held consulting roles at Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors and Deloitte and worked in industry and non-profit organizations focusing on green building design and legal analysis. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering and psychology from the University of Waterloo, in law, with specializations in environmental and business law, from Dalhousie University, and he also holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University.


Bryan Flannigan, P.Eng.

Executive Director – Building Decarbonization Alliance

Bryan joins the Transition Accelerator to lead building decarbonization initiatives as Executive Director of the Building Decarbonization Alliance. He brings to the role over 30 years of leadership and consulting experience with governments, utilities, and businesses to find technical, program and policy solutions to reduce emissions and improve the energy efficiency of the built environment.

Prior to joining The Transition Accelerator, Bryan played leadership and expert advisor roles with some of Canada’s leading energy and environmental consulting firms, including ICF International, Posterity Group and Econoler Inc. He was Senior Manager of Operations at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and helped successfully launch the Green Municipal Fund. His early career was built on a foundation of technical and engineering roles including Director of Technical Services at Del Property Management Solutions and Energy Engineer at Siemens Building Technologies. Bryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa, and is a Professional Engineer licensed in the province of Ontario.


Cite this report as: Poirier, M., Vérin, A., Flannigan, B. (2023). Grid Implications of Electrifying Residential New Construction. Building Decarbonization Alliance. Version 1.