Knowledge

The Climate Lens: New federal building requirements reflect new climate realities

Applicants seeking federal funding for major public infrastructure projects will now be asked to undertake Climate Lens Assessments of their projects. These assessments have two main goals: to gauge a project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and to assess the project’s resilience to the effects of climate change. Applying the Climate Lens to new projects is intended to encourage infrastructure owners to design projects that produce lower emissions and are better able to withstand extreme weather and other effects of climate change.

Infrastructure Canada has released a general guidance document that explains the required approach, defines the scope of a Climate Lens Assessment, and identifies the specific information the agency requires infrastructure owners to submit. 


Climate Lens Assessments have two components:

  1. A GHG mitigation assessment. Completed following ISO 14064-2 guidelines, this assessment must be conducted and validated by a qualified assessor.
  2. A climate change resilience assessment. This part of the assessment will employ a risk management approach to anticipate, prevent, withstand, respond to, and recover from a climate change-related disruption or impact. It should employ the principles of the ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard, and include future climate conditions and impacts in the process – taking into account the project’s location, design, and operations. An example of a climate change risk assessment methodology is Engineers Canada's Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol.

The Climate Lens Assessment is a requirement of the bilateral agreements being signed between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories under Investing in Canada, the federal government’s long-term infrastructure plan. It will apply to:

  • projects with a total estimated cost of over $10 million
  • projects that deal with climate change resilience or GHG mitigation
  • projects under the recently launched Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund
  • certain Smart Cities Challenge winning proposals.

How RWDI Can Help

Drawing on the climate expertise that extends across RWDI, we identify climate variables that can be leveraged or moderated to reduce environmental impacts and enhance the resiliency of buildings and infrastructure to changing climate patterns.

RWDI has rare breadth and depth of in-house expertise in climate engineering: our project teams include meteorologists, engineers, climatologists, experts in numerical modeling, and other scientists. Our modeling work is supported by research-calibre, high-performance computing services, and our renowned culture of collaboration lets us harness the right combinations of our extensive firm resources to help you find creative, optimized solutions.

We’re knowledgeable about not only the science and engineering of GHG emissions estimation, but also the environmental auditing standards and practices upon which GHG verifications are based.  RWDI is accredited to ISO 14065 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

In addition to meeting demanding accreditation standards, we have a strong record of delivering credible, reliable assurance opinions to our clients. Since 2014 when our ISO 14065: GHG Verifier accreditation was first granted, we’ve completed hundreds of GHG verifications on a diverse range of project typologies – from industry to transportation to mining.

In addition to our deep portfolio of GHG verification experience, we bring recent experience completing over 150 resiliency assessments on a variety of building typologies and infrastructure assets. Our approach to assessing the resiliency of a physical asset is based on the ISO 31000 Risk Assessment Framework; more specifically, we follow the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) protocol developed by Engineers Canada.

We have a strong reputation not only for technical excellence but for bringing a thoughtful, client-centric perspective to every project – ensuring that the measures we propose are appropriate to the context and make the greatest possible difference on the dimensions that matter most to our clients.

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