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Government of Canada invests in Alberta’s construction industry to help strengthen energy efficiency and green building practices

Minister Mélanie Joly announces $3 million investment to enable small- and medium-sized firms to develop innovative green technologies and support good, local jobs

September 4, 2020 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Alberta’s construction and engineering is a central part of its economy, supporting good jobs across the province. As the industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, innovation is essential for it to come back strong and support growth across Alberta. The Government of Canada is a partner in these efforts, helping the industry recover, reopen and retool to emerge stronger than before.

Jobs for Alberta

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), today announced federal funding of $3 million to help Alberta’s construction and engineering industry innovate and grow. This investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada will help small and medium-sized businesses adopt new products and technologies that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This funding will be directed towards an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization—the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)—to establish a network of test buildings where firms can collaborate and test their products under different conditions. WD funding is complemented by an investment of more than $2.8 million from Alberta Innovates, in-kind support from industry and $165,000 from the SSRIA, bringing the total project funding to over $6.3 million.

Products and services expected to be commercialized through this initiative include:

  • materials for walls, roofs and foundations;
  • mechanical and electrical system improvements;
  • sensors and lighting products that reduce energy consumption; and
  • software for storing and analyzing building performance on energy efficiency and greenhouse gases.

Today’s announcement further supports the construction industry’s shift towards energy efficient and environmentally-friendly practices. In addition to benefiting from new products and services to meet their needs, Alberta’s broader architecture, engineering, and construction industry will also reap the benefits of this important initiative.

Quotes

“Our shift towards green technologies is both the right thing to do for our environment and the smart thing to do for our economy. 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 on the cutting edge. It will help many small and medium-sized businesses across the province innovate and grow while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m excited to see the difference it will make.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Through strong collaboration with our partners, the Government of Alberta continues to look for opportunities to create new jobs. Albertans are builders, and innovators. We’ve been the engine of Canada’s economy because of the fresh ideas that we bring to the table, and this is one more way for us to keep sharing new concepts from our world-class construction and engineering industry with the rest of Canada and the world.”

– Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“The technology developed with SSRIA will significantly reduce emissions and support the growth of the building and construction sector in Alberta. The project reimagines buildings themselves as clean tech and will drive transformative work around built environments, creating new opportunities and new markets. This initiative is another compelling example of innovation growing the economy.”

– Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“The operations of our buildings account for 20 per cent of GHG emissions in Canada and as high as two-thirds of emissions in Alberta’s largest cities. Through industry collaboration and innovation, we will develop and disseminate validated solutions to reduce GHG emissions by building higher performing buildings, which in turn provides economic benefits for the engineering and construction industry, building owners and their occupants.”

– Tanya Doran, Chair, Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA)

Quick facts

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is investing $3 million towards the Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Association (SSRIA) to establish a network of test buildings where firms can test new products, technologies, and practices that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The SSRIA is a membership-based organization supported by major construction firms in Alberta, including Stantec, Ledcor and PCL Construction, as well as several Alberta post-secondary institutions and technology incubators.
  • Alberta’s varied climate provides companies an opportunity to develop a level of expertise in the green building and construction sector that can be exported world-wide. Alberta has other natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and wood in abundance—all of which provide the region with a competitive advantage in developing green building technologies and products that require the use of alternative energies and other natural resources.

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