"What's stopping us from making the residential sector totally green?"

Join us for a one day workshop

A special workshop on identifying barriers to change and innovation to reduce impacts of climate change in the residential sector

When: Monday, February 23, 2009, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where: Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa

The residential sector in Canada generates about one fifth of greenhouse gases. These emissions can be reduced by as much as 60% by the year 2030. All this requires is the deployment of known technologies, innovations, and practices, already in the market.

What's stopping us from reaching that objective?

We have a compelling vision of what needs to be done and why. We know what can be achieved and how. We even have the necessary technologies. So why is Canada making so little progress? This will be a unique workshop of building practitioners, contractors, researchers and government officials to explore the nature of barriers to change and innovation.

The challenge:

Many studies have been carried out over the past years on what should be done and what technologies should be used. Our objective for this workshop is to explore how we might make this transition to sustainability in the building sector faster and easier by overcoming the different barriers to change.

This workshop is part of a much larger project exploring the barriers to the transition to a sustainable society at the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management. Mitigating the effects of climate change represents the largest change management challenge in global history.

The Telfer School project aims to identify and better understand the barriers to addressing this challenge by looking to the past and learning from our experience, and by talking to people in the field: practitioners, researchers, and program officials. Funded in part by the Gordon foundation and Natural Resources Canada, the two-year project will address various aspects of a region like Ottawa-Gatineau to see what is stopping us from moving towards a sustainable society and implement ting the needed change. For more information, contact Dr. J. Andre Potworowski, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) project director, and check our project blog, Making it happen -- the transition to a sustainable society.

PROGRAM (updated as of February 3, 2009)

Key questions to be addressed:

  • What have we learned?

Over the last thirty years we have tried to reduce usage of fossil fuels. Many of the necessary technologies already exist and are available in the market. Refinements and improvements are always possible, but there is enough available already to make a big difference. So what have we learned from these years of federal, provincial, and municipal efforts to reduce energy consumption of Canada's residential sector?

  • What are the barriers to change?

Identify major themes and obstacles, including jurisdictional, legal/economical, and behavioural challenges

  • What are some common themes?

Discuss common themes and possible integrated areas of intervention.

  • Some of our presenters and resource persons:

Hugh MacLeod, Associate Deputy Minister to the Premier of Ontario: Climate Change

Peter Love, Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Conservation Bureau, Ontario Power Authority

David Foster, Director of Environmental Affairs Canadian Home Builders' Association

Gordon Shields, Executive Director Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition

Dana Silk, General Manager Envirocentre, Ottawa

Preliminary results from the Telfer School research project on barriers to innovation and change


  • Overview of objectives and sustainable visions


  • Recent case studies
  • Breakout into groups and sharing of past experiences
  • Synthesis and priorization of major barriers to innovation and change
  • Next steps