The Pulse: Jan. 8, 2024

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

Sponsored by:

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • -8°C: Sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 8. Wind chill minus 23 in the morning and minus 13 in the afternoon. (forecast)
  • Red/White/Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit red, white, and green for the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters. (details)
  • 3-1: The Edmonton Oilers (20-15-1) defeated the Ottawa Senators (14-21-0) on Jan. 6. It was the team's seventh straight win. (details)

A group of eight people pose inside a building to the right of the Albertan flag.

Platform aims to help builders reduce emissions

By Colin Gallant

The Alberta Ecotrust Foundation launched the Emissions-Neutral Building Information Exchange platform (ENBIX) to help the province's construction industry learn how to create emissions-neutral buildings or retrofit existing ones to this standard.

Andrea Linsky, director of emissions-neutral buildings for the Ecotrust, told Taproot that between 40% to 60% of the emissions in Edmonton and Calgary come from their buildings. "And those are the existing buildings," Linsky said. "Those aren't the ones that we are building in the future."

That's partly why the Ecotrust created ENBIX. It built the platform using $3.7 million in funding split between Edmonton ($1.7 million), Calgary ($1.4 million), and the Ecotrust's Climate Innovation Fund, which contributed $600,000. The project is funded until 2027.

The ENBIX platform creates a place for builders and other stakeholders in the construction industry to learn from one another and generate new knowledge. It was inspired by projects like ZEBx in Vancouver, as well as Edmonton and Calgary's climate strategies, which call for such a tool.

The platform includes a resource page, events list, and five programs. Two programs aimed at generating knowledge are the Communities of Practice stream, which is a forum for industry members to solve challenges, and the Industry Research Question Exchange, which is a database of queries to industry and academia for exploration.

"We want to help share the knowledge that you are building or have built over the years, and our team is there to do that," Linsky said. "Most builders don't have the time to sit down and share their story widely about the five or six net-zero homes they've built, for instance. But our team, we have that capacity, so we can sit down and interview people and pick their brains and help publish and share that knowledge."

Linsky said engaging industry leaders is paramount to ENBIX. One such leader is Peter Amerongen, who participated in the Shaping the Exchange engagement. Amerongen is a decades-long veteran in sustainable building practices who works with RëNu Engineering as a consultant. He told Taproot that emissions-neutral retrofits (which are the improvement of a product or structure that do not require razing and rebuilding) are an additional and essential piece of the emissions puzzle.

"I think there's been a trivial amount of retrofit activity," Amerongen said. "We have 10 million buildings to do in Canada. If Alberta were a tenth of the country, that would be a million. We've done a handful."

Still, Amerongen describes Alberta as a "national leader" for new buildings despite the province having a "very small number" of completed net-zero projects. He is less optimistic about the intersection of new structures built below the highest standard and emissions-neutral retrofits.

"It's heartbreaking that we continue to build buildings that are not net-zero because we're going to have to fix them all," Amerongen said. "And the hardest ones to fix are going to be the ones most recently built. It's an emergency that we adopt the national code. The ones that are easiest to retrofit are the ones that have a big maintenance backlog … when you're doing the cost-benefit analysis, it's much easier to show that it's worth the money to upgrade them."

Continue reading

Headlines: Jan. 8, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: Jan. 8, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.