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 has served on the Boards of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association (2016-2018) and Retrofit Canada (2019-2022) and is an active member on the ReCover Initiative Advisory Committee (2020-present).



Contact Betsy Agar

cell: 604-245-1387 • email:

Betsy Agar's Recent Publications

Cover of Climate Policy Leadership in Ontario with Niagara Falls

Climate Policy Leadership in Ontario The Pembina Institute’s recommendations to future leaders

Publication April 26, 2022- By Carolyn Kim, Betsy Agar, Saeed Kaddoura, Cedric Smith
Ontario’s electoral candidates have many options for policy change and incentives to pursue as they build their party platforms and consider how they will lead Ontario for the next four years.
Cover of BC green building jobs

Growth in B.C.’s green building sector spurs job creation Increased investments will help accelerate a clean energy economy

Publication Dec. 8, 2021- By Betsy Agar, Hannah Nadler

British Columbia is experiencing robust growth in its green building sector, contributing to job creation and a cleaner economy. Nevertheless, more investment is needed to meet the provincial target of reducing emissions in buildings and communities to 59% to 64% of 2007 levels by 2030. See the latest numbers on jobs and projects in our updated British Columbia Green Buildings Map.

Letter to NRCan

Letter to NRcan re energy efficient appliances Supporting the proposed Amendment 17 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations

Publication June 23, 2021- By Betsy Agar

The Pembina Institute supports Amendment 17 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, which would require new home appliance energy performance standards to meet ENERGY STAR efficiency criteria at a minimum. Canada’s declaration of a climate emergency demands ambitious regulatory action like the one proposed by Amendment 17 to drive market solutions. In this case, ENERGY STAR-rated appliances are already available, so there is no reason to delay.

Banner from Kamloops home retrofit report with images of housing types

Kamloops needs to retrofit homes to reduce carbon pollution Infographic shows scale of retrofits required to become a zero-carbon community by 2050

Publication Feb. 23, 2021- By Betsy Agar, Roberta Franchuk

The City of Kamloops aims to be a zero-carbon community by 2050. This infographic shows the scale of the building retrofits needed.

Case study

Solar panels boost business case for electrifying multi-unit low-rise housing Case study

Publication Dec. 1, 2020- By Betsy Agar

This case study illustrates how integrating solar PV can improve the business case for retrofitting a low-rise multi-unit residential building (MURB) in B.C.


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