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 BC Hydro Integrated Resource Plan Technical Advisory Committee 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 previously served on the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association Board (2016-2018), Retrofit Canada Board (2019-2022) and ReCover Initiative Advisory Committee (2020-2024).

Contact Betsy Agar

cell: 604-245-1387 • email:

Betsy Agar's Recent Publications

Cover of Reframed report showing front of Medewiwin Apartments

Reframed Initiative: Outcomes and analysis A study of six best in class deep retrofit schematic designs

Publication April 25, 2024- By Betsy Agar, Rajeev Kotha
New research from the Pembina Institute demonstrates how Canada’s residential housing sector could deliver significant carbon emissions reductions, but only through atypical “deep retrofits,” not business-as-usual upgrades.
Cover of Better Buildings report show house under construction

Better Buildings for All Relieving energy poverty through deep retrofits

Publication April 8, 2024- By Jessica McIlroy, Betsy Agar, Emma Harris
New Pembina report, Better Buildings for all, sheds light on the urgent need for investments in deep retrofits to alleviate energy poverty among low-income households who face challenges in meeting their energy needs.
Cover of Submission to Highest Efficiency Equipment Standards Consultation

Submission to Highest Efficiency Equipment Standards Consultation in B.C. HEES is an important tool for decarbonization and climate readiness of existing buildings

Publication Feb. 13, 2024- By Betsy Agar
The Pembina Institute has provided input on the development of the point-of-sale standards for space and water heating under the new Highest Efficiency Equipment Standards (HEES) in British Columbia. The creation of standards for the purchase and replacement of water and heating equipment is an important tool in ensuring that homes in B.C. are meeting emissions reductions and climate resiliency goals.
Cover of report - Beyond Energy Efficiency: Deep Retrofits - external renovations of multiunit apartment building with scaffolding

Beyond Energy Efficiency Deep retrofits save more than just money

Publication Feb. 7, 2024- By Raidin Blue, Jessica McIlroy, Betsy Agar
Canadian decision-makers must start making the case for deep retrofits of the building stock beyond energy savings — and zero in on broader objectives like carbon emissions reductions, health and wellness, affordability, and climate adaptation.


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.