There is currently an important gap in publicly available analytical capacity to evaluate the impacts of building decarbonization measures in Canada. Publicly available models tend to be “top-down”, broad in scope, and lacking the granularity to address the range of technological measures, differences in building stock, and provincial or regional differences. Many “bottom-up” models, meanwhile, are proprietary, closed-source, and built for specific regions rather than national use. This gap has not gone unnoticed, with recent reports from the Office of the Auditor General’s environment commissioner and from Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body pointing to the need for improved, transparent, and collaborative models.
The Building Decarbonization Alliance Open-Sourced Model is designed to address this gap by providing a useful, transparent, bottom-up model of end-use energy use in Canada’s commercial and residential building sector. Incorporating multiple building archetypes, climate zones, and heating technologies, the model allows users to customize policy scenarios and compare the impacts on equipment count, energy consumption, peak load, emission reductions, and cost, at aggregate and regional levels. And since it is completely open-source, the data, assumptions, and calculations behind the model’s outputs can be questioned, scrutinized, and improved.