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CIB commits $100 million to help building owners lower their environmental footprints

Supporting upgrades to smaller and medium-sized buildings across Canada

TORONTO - The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is expanding its retrofit initiative and earmarking $100 million towards building upgrades by owners who want to improve the environmental footprints of their small and medium-sized buildings.

Low carbon retrofits which qualify for certification under the Canada Green Building Council’s Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE)  or Zero Carbon Building standards (ZCB) will have access to a financial product through banks and credit unions which have partnered with the CIB. BMO is the first to partner with the CIB on this initiative.

Through this partnership, participating building owners, who would not typically qualify for loans from the CIB, can now access financing to accelerate green building upgrades. Eligible owners of commercial, industrial, office and multi-residential properties are required to seek a minimum of 30 per cent greenhouse gas emissions reductions through initiatives such as enhancing energy efficiency, advancing heating decarbonization and installing electric vehicle chargers.

Buildings are one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. They use about one third of the energy produced in Canada and generate about 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. The International Energy Agency has identified building retrofits as an important opportunity for energy savings.

With a climate ambition to be its clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net zero world, BMO is identifying commercial property owner clients who are motivated to undertake energy efficiency retrofits. BMO will market, originate, underwrite and administer the loans. BMO will discount or waive administrative fees associated with the refinancing of retrofit debt for projects that cut emissions by at least 50%

This is the CIB’s fourth investment under its retrofit aggregator model. It could serve as an opportunity for other Canadian financial institutions which want to help their customers to retrofit their smaller to medium-sized buildings.

Our Building Retrofit Initiative has allowed public and private building owners to secure the funds they need to quickly move forward with deep retrofits. To date, we have already committed approximately $1 billion with these partners and their low carbon building upgrade projects. By expanding our Building Retrofit Initiative to attract the owners of small and medium-sized buildings, the CIB is aiming to accelerate the decarbonization of an important sector of the Canadian economy. The partnership with BMO will expand the program’s reach by leveraging the commercial bank’s experience and deep pool of potential private investors.

- Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s investment will help more building owners accelerate green upgrades that will have a positive impact on Canada’s objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Undertaking these upgrades will create jobs in the skilled trades and reduce pressure on our electricity grid – exemplifying the opportunity that building a clean economy represents for our workers and our economy.

- The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

As part of our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to being our clients' lead partner in the transition to a net-zero world. Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings make up a large share of Canada’s total emissions profile, and there is no path to net-zero without extensive retrofits to buildings that improves energy efficiency. The CIB’s program is an example of the innovative public-private partnerships needed to make progress on Canada’s climate goals, while creating new and effective sustainable finance solutions for Canadian businesses and investors.

- Jonathan Hackett, Head, Sustainable Finance and Co-Head, Energy Transition Group, BMO

We’re proud to serve our clients at the leading edge of sustainable finance innovation in the real estate sector and to be the first financial institution in Canada to offer this unique financing program. Many of our clients have ambitious sustainability goals and we’re excited to support their progress.

- Michael Beg SVP & Head, Real Estate Finance, BMO Commercial Bank

Retrofits that prioritize energy efficiency and carbon reductions are not just good for the environment; they increase asset value and attract investors and tenants. This expansion on CIB’s retrofit initiative ensures that small- and medium-sized buildings aren’t left behind. Making Investor Ready Energy Efficiency and Zero Carbon Building standards part of this financing solution provides projects with proven frameworks to support their retrofit ambitions. IREE enables projects to follow a common development and quality assurance process, and ZCB Standards help deliver meaningful carbon reductions that can protect assets from risks associated with the rising cost of emitting greenhouse gases. Together, they will help CIB and its partners drive widespread market transformation.

- Thomas Mueller, President and CEO, Canada Green Building Council

Quick Facts

  • To date, the CIB has committed approximately $1 billion toward building energy retrofits.
  • The CIB’s Building Retrofit Initiative targets building retrofit projects with a minimum of 30 per cent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction at the building level.
  • As part of its mandate, the CIB seeks to invest at least $10 billion into green infrastructure which supports climate change action and sustainable economic growth.
  • All CIB investments are subject to approval by its Board of Directors.

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