Betsy AgarProgram Director, Buildings

Portrait of Betsy Agar

Betsy Agar is the director of the Pembina Institute's buildings program. Through engagement, research and knowledge mobilization, she works on systems changes that will accelerate decarbonization of homes and buildings, such as through policy and regulatory reform and market transformation. Betsy’s work spans multiple government levels in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. on topics including deep retrofit market development team best practices, retrofitting for climate resilience, health, safety and affordability, industry readiness, and understanding our building stock.

Betsy’s prior professional experience includes buildings science engineering failure investigation, facility and bridge condition evaluation, design and field inspection; facilitation and convening dialogues as a co-creator of Renewable Cities at SFU Centre for Dialogue; research and teaching at McMaster University, as well as teaching at UBC and SFU. She has authored and participated in dozens of publications, presentations and media appearances.

Betsy holds a Professional Engineers Ontario licence and a Master of Applied Science degree from McMaster University. She is an active member on the ReCover Initiative Advisory Committee (2020-present), the Fortis BC Energy Efficiency and Conservation Advisory Group, NRCan Green Construction through Wood Program Advisory Board, and the BC Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation (JERI) Mass Timber Advisory Council; she also served on the Boards of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association (2016-2018) and Retrofit Canada (2019-2022).

Contact Betsy Agar

cell: 604-245-1387 • email:

Betsy Agar's Recent Publications

Apartment buildings under construction

“Affordable housing” isn’t affordable unless it’s energy efficient As governments across Canada commit to building thousands of new homes, they also must commit to ensuring that housing is affordable to heat and cool

Blog Nov. 15, 2023- By Betsy Agar
Canada’s governments are addressing two intersecting crises: climate and housing. The solution to both is constructing new housing with highly efficient energy systems that use less heating energy and updating existing housing to waste less energy.

A joint industry letter to B.C. municipal councils It's time for local governments to adopt the Zero Carbon Step Code

Publication Sept. 20, 2023- By Betsy Agar, Jessica McIlroy
As practitioners, professionals and advocates in the buildings sector, we are urging local governments to recognize these capabilities and adopt the highest tier of Zero Carbon Step Code no later than 2025.

Building Sustainable Communities Canada urgently needs a Green Buildings Strategy

Blog July 13, 2023- By Betsy Agar
Cities and communities are at the frontlines of climate change and Canadians are feeling the day-to-day impacts from carbon pollution, poor air quality and extreme weather. One of the key areas where Canadian cities can take climate action is our built environment—the buildings and homes where we live, work and play.

Getting Canada’s homes in order Opportunities for transformative action through the Canada Green Building Strategy

How the Canada Green Buildings Strategy can help create safer, healthier, more resilient buildings, and stimulate industry and market transformation through deep retrofits.

Effective demand-side energy measures Aligning utility incentives with B.C.’s climate and energy goals

The Province of B.C. is proposing changes to the Demand-side Measures Regulation, the framework by which the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) assesses the adequacy and cost-effectiveness of the gas and electric utilities demand-side management (DSM) programs.


Our perspectives to your inbox.

The Pembina Institute endeavors to maintain your privacy and protect the confidentiality of any personal information that you may give us. We do not sell, share, rent or otherwise disseminate personal information. Read our full privacy policy.