Builders need to know that the electric car is coming, even if it seems to be taking forever to get here.
John Stonier, a Vancouver consultant, will convey that message to local industry at a sustainable building and renovating forum on Thursday hosted by the Canadian Home Builders Association.
The forum at Kamloops Convention Centre offers a variety of speakers on topics ranging from a real estate forecast to building code changes to an innovative renovation project that cuts energy consumption to zero.
For Stonier, it’s about building cities that accommodate new patterns of mobility.
“It’s moving ahead a lot faster than people think,” said Stonier, a chartered accountant who’s developed a specialty in alternative technologies. He became an instant fan of electric vehicles when he drove his wife’s Toyota Prius. Since then he’s converted a Porsche Boxster to electric power, as he also converts his career.
His key message is that the future of the automobile will be in selling time, not serial numbers. The shift in private ownership is already under way, he said. In the 1970s, 60 per cent of 16-year-olds drove cars, Stonier said. Today, the figure is about half that amount.
More people in the Lower Mainland are taking advantage of car-share services, allowing them to use vehicles at their convenience without keeping one in the garage, Stonier said.
“It could be Langley, it could be Kamloops — it’s the same problem. They’re not walkable cities and you still need a car to get around in.”
Builders who have to pay for parking allowances on projects can earn credits by allocating some space for car-sharing, he said. Builders should also be installing home refuelling outlets, the same as a dryer outlet only accessible outdoors.
Stonier believes consumers will embrace electric vehicles once they catch on to the actual savings.
“My head’s been on this for eight years now, and people don’t realize the benefit of electric cars. Most people see the sticker prices for electric or hybrid vehicles and think they can’t afford them. I haven’t done the big consulting company study, but I just added up the numbers,” he said.
The maintenance and fuel savings are significant, he said, comparing gasoline costs of $300 a month with recharging costs of $30 a month.
Patsy Bourassa, executive officer of Home Builders Central interior said she sensed a need in the industry for an educational forum on sustainable approaches. In a membership survey, builders indicated that relevant information was among the top three reasons they belonged to the association.
“Builders being who they are, it’s better to pull as much information together as possible at one time,” she said.
The forum as a whole is open to the public for a registration fee, but an evening presentation is offered free of charge to all.
Lorraine Gauthier, president of the Now House Project in Toronto, will talk about renovations that transform homes into net energy producers rather than consumers. She speaks at 7 p.m.