Luxury high-rise condos are guzzling electricity, BC Hydro report

Condo towers under construction on Gilmore in the Brentwood area of Burnaby.							Gerry Kahrmann  PNG

Condo towers under construction on Gilmore in the Brentwood area of Burnaby. Gerry Kahrmann PNG

Luxury condos may be marketed as being energy-efficient but according to BC Hydro, that's far from the truth.

BC Hydro says with high housing prices, British Columbians are choosing to purchase condos over townhomes or single-family detached homes, with a 22 per cent increase in apartment or condo hydro accounts since 2011.

Because the cost to power everything in the building isn't individually reflected in each unit's hydro bill, Fish says this may create a "disconnect in a condo dweller's perceived energy footprint and what they're actually using".

While apartment and condo dwellers have average electricity bills that are about 50 per cent lower than those in the average single-family home, those lower bills don't tell the whole story.

"This is likely due to the addition of more luxurious amenities like heated pools, hot tubs, saunas, fitness centres and movie theatres", said BC Hydro. "What we've found is these newer high-rises use about double the amount of electricity as buildings built in the 1980s".

BC Hydro said if the residents of a typical high-rise built between 2010 and 2017 were to share the cost of the their building's overall energy use, each would pay around $40 more on their bills.

"With sales, and construction of highrise buildings increasing, so is the amount of power being used", says BC Hydro.

BC Hydro says it has seen a 22-per-cent jump in the number of condo and apartment accounts since 2011 -representing almost half-a-million accounts in total.

But "High-powered high-rise" suggests energy consumption doesn't have to keep rising with the number of condo buildings in the province.

There's also a high demand for energy needed to power heating and cooling systems, building lights, parking garages, and elevators - systems that are running 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

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