Federal government to invest $3 million towards green construction projects in Alberta

The federal government is investing $3 million towards creating energy-efficient construction and engineering products in Alberta.

Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly will announce Friday that the funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada will be directed to the Smart Sustainable Resilient infrastructure Association. The SSRIA, a group supported by construction companies such as Stantec and Ledcor, will use the money to create test buildings where firms can develop green products and technologies.

“Our shift towards green technologies is both the right thing to do for our environment and the smart thing to do for our economy,” said Joly in a news release. “This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will support good, well-paying jobs in communities across Alberta while helping the province’s construction industry stay in the cutting edge.”

Once the network of test buildings is built, different construction and engineering firms will be able to collaborate and test new products under different conditions, a release from the federal government said.

Alberta Innovates will pitch in $2.8 million while the SSRIA is investing $165,000 bringing total funding for the project over $6.3 million.

Alexander Cohen, press secretary for Joly, said the project will create 20 “highly-qualified” jobs relating to tech development, engineering and software development.

“The application process for the demonstration projects has just commenced; we expect at total of at least 20 highly qualified jobs, but timelines (for when those jobs will be created) will depend on the nature of the projects and applications coming in,” said Cohen.

He said Albertans will see savings from an energy-efficiency position on construction products in the future. He said specifics on other potential monetary saving opportunities will depend on what projects and technologies are taken on.

The network is expected to create materials for walls, roofs and foundations as well as mechanical and electrical system improvements. Software for storing and analyzing a building’s energy efficiency as well as sensors and lighting products that replace energy-consuming products are also expected to be created.

“The operations of our buildings account for 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and as high as two-thirds of emissions in Alberta’s largest cities,” said Tonya Doran, chairwoman of SSRIA, in a release. “Through industry collaboration and innovation, we will develop and disseminate validated solutions to reduce emissions by building higher performing buildings.”

Doran said higher-performing buildings will in turn create savings for the construction industry, engineers, building owners and occupants.