A recent survey in Canada showed that around 67% of builders actually favor building codes for energy efficiency. Although this seems counter-intuitive, builders favor regulation in order to level the playing field. Many builders are hesitant to be the first to engage in efficiency (thereby increasing their short-term costs), but if codes require all firms to comply, no single entity will have to bear the brunt of being an early adopter. Canada can begin by increasing the number of jurisdictions that adopt energy codes as well engaging builders in educational programs regarding the code requirements.
Regulation is often thought of as a dirty word in business. But we discovered otherwise when we asked architects and construction companies about energy efficiency. In CEEA’s 2014 survey 67 per cent of businesses in the building sector said they’d support improved building codes, even if it raised the cost of commercial real estate*. This jumped out at us because we’ve also been hearing that cost is a barrier. Why is the building sector so attracted to what is often perceived as a nasty stick? It has to do with competitiveness and a firm belief in first-mover disadvantage.