Green Building Incentives FAQ

Green Building Incentives FAQ

Why was the RDN Sustainable Development Checklist created?

The purpose of the checklist is to help residents, builders and developers to develop projects that support the well-being of the occupants and the community, respect the natural environment and use less resources and money to operate. This checklist was created with the following objectives:
  1. to communicate how development can contribute to the sustainability goals of our region, as expressed in the RDN's Regional Growth Strategy and Official Community Plans;
  2. to encourage and assist applicants who are seeking solutions to build a better project in an environmentally and socially responsible manner; and
  3. to reward applicants who develop high performance green building projects.

What development projects does the checklist apply to?

The checklist will apply to physical, on-the-ground development including both renovations and new construction. To be eligible, projects also need to demonstrate that a minimum of 50% of the questions in the Checklist are applicable. Two versions of the Checklist are prepared to accommodate the following types of development.

  1. Residential Development: multi-unit residential development and small-scale low-density residential projects such as single family dwellings;
  2. Commercial and Institutional Development.

Many of the questions in both versions are similar. A small portion of questions in Section B: Building Design and Construction have been adapted to better suit the differences between these types of projects. Choose the appropriate checklist based on your project.

If your project falls into the following categories, you do not need to complete the Checklist. Given the nature of these projects, the financial incentives described here would not apply.

  • Large-scale master-planned residential or mixed-use development;
  • Subdivision, rezoning and amendment.

What incentives are available?

Homeowners and owner/builders

There are two types of financial incentives available: action specific incentives and checklist based incentives.

Action specific incentives are awarded for specific sustainability measures implemented in a project. The value of each incentive cannot exceed the value of the purchase or service. Below is a list of incentives currently being offered (click on each title to find out more about the program):

Checklist based incentives are available to residents who submit completed checklists to the RDN Sustainability Coordinator as detailed below:
  • A $50 incentive is available to residents who meet with the Sustainability Coordinator to review the Checklist, and then submit a completed checklist with their Permit Application.
  • Additional checklist incentives are awarded based on the overall score on the RDN Sustainable Development Checklist:
Score Level of Achievement Incentives
55-74 Level 1 $500
75-89 Level 2 $750
90+ Level 3 $1,000

Applicants can receive both types of incentives if the respective requirements are met.


Commercial and institutional projects will be recognized based on the overall score on the RDN Sustainable Development Checklist and have the opportunity to showcase their projects on the RDN Sustainability website and print materials, and be included in RDN green building outreach programs where appropriate.


Score Level of Achievement Recognition
55-74 Level 1 One sustainability star
75-89 Level 2 Two sustainability stars
90+ Level 3 Three sustainability stars

Who is eligible for the RDN Green Building incentives?

Individual homeowners and owner/builders who live in the Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Areas A, B, C, E, F, G, and H and the District of Lantzville are eligible for action specific incentives and checklist based incentives. The incentives will be disbursed on a first come, first served basis.

Residents in municipalities (Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach) are not eligible for these incentives. Businesses including development companies are not eligible for financial incentives but will be considered for the recognition program.


When do I need to complete the checklist?

You are encouraged to review the checklist as early in the planning process as possible, since the opportunity for many sustainability measures diminishes or becomes more costly as the project becomes more developed. The best time to incorporate sustainability measures usually occurs well in advance of permit applications.

To participate in the incentive programs, submit the checklist with any of the following applications:

  • Development Permit
  • Development Variance Permit
  • Board of Variance Permit
  • Temporary Use Permit
  • Building Permit

Do I still need to complete the Community and Site Impact Review Form and Sustainable Community Builder Checklist?

No. The Community and Site Impact Review Form and Sustainable Community Builder Checklist will be removed and replaced with the new RDN Sustainable Development Checklist wherever applicable.


When and how do I receive the Checklist incentives?

You will receive the Checklist incentives in the amount you are qualified for after the final checklist evaluation, when all requested materials are submitted to RDN's satisfaction. You will receive action specific incentives once the requirement has been met and relevant documentation is submitted to the RDN.


Why would I want to complete the Checklist?

By completing the checklist you will see many of the opportunities that could enhance the performance of your project. The earlier you know about these opportunities, the more likely you are able to make decisions that protect your property from natural hazards, enhance the natural features that make your place special, save resources and money to operate in the long run, and create a healthy place for yourself and future occupants to work and live in.

Good site design can help minimize damage from natural disasters, reduce maintenance cost and effort, limit conflicts with wildlife, or buffer unwanted sights and sounds from neighbouring land-uses. Well-designed buildings will be less dependent on energy and other resources, and create a comfortable, long-lasting structure to be appreciated for the long term.

In addition to the benefits that come from a well-planned, well-designed project, the RDN also offers incentives that help offset the costs of certain sustainability measures. Businesses will have the opportunity to be recognized for their efforts and showcase their high performance building projects.


Am I required to carry out all the activities outlined in the Checklist?

No, you are not required to carry out all the activities outlined in the checklist. You are free to choose those that are most appropriate for your project. However, to be eligible for incentives, you do need to provide evidence that the selected sustainability measures have been carried out by the time of project completion. Discuss with the RDN Sustainability Coordinator the supporting materials that might be necessary for your project.


How is the score calculated?

The total score on your checklist is the average score of Section A - Location and Site Design and Section B - Building Design and Construction, i.e., total score = (A+B)/2; thus making these two sections equally weighted. The score will be a number between 0 (the worst) and 100 (the best).

Your score in Section A or B is meant to measure how 'sustainable' your project will be given the opportunity for improvement. The sum of available points represents the overall opportunities for improvement. The sum of earned points indicates the actual improvement achieved. Your section score is the total earned points divided by the total available points and then multiplied by 100. This will produce a section score between 0 and 100.

For example, if your total points available in Section A is 15 and you earned 10 points in this section, then your score in Section A is (10/15)*100 = 67.

Section Total Points Available Total Earned Points Score
A 15 10 67
B 30 25 83
Total 75

You only need to fill out the parts of the checklist that are applicable to your project and clearly note 'Not Applicable' in other parts. Non-applicable items will not be counted towards the total score of the checklist.


What if I have questions or need clarification when filling out the checklist?

Our staff will be happy to assist you in this process. You may book a one-hour consultation with our Sustainability Coordinator to discuss your project, or email or call to have your questions answered. Our contact information is: sustainability [at] or 250-390-6510 or 250-954-3798 in District 69.


How will the checklist be evaluated?

A preliminary evaluation will take place when the completed checklist is submitted to the RDN. Comments and feedback will be provided to the applicant to optimize the opportunity to implement sustainability measures. A summary of the checklist evaluation will be included in the staff report for the RDN Board's assessment, if applicable.

When your project is completed, a final evaluation will take place to confirm that the sustainability measures identified in the checklist have been included in the project, and to adjust the result due to any changes during design and construction. A final score will be assigned and used to determine checklist incentives.


What if I disagree with the checklist evaluation?

If you disagree with the checklist evaluation, you are welcome to request a meeting with RDN Sustainability Coordinator for a discussion in order to reach an agreement. The point assignment will depend on two key factors:

  1. whether the intention of the item in question is met;
  2. whether sufficient evidence can be provided to confirm implementation of the proposed measures.
The RDN reserves the right to make the final decision on point assignment.


Are there additional materials that I am expected to provide along with the checklist?

To ensure accountability, if you qualify for incentives, you can expect RDN staff to request additional information such as photos of installed systems or products, design drawings, professional reports, copies of receipts, or other records that can be used to verify the implementation of the selected sustainability measures. Discuss with the RDN Sustainability Coordinator early in the process about what to expect.


What happens if I provide all the required materials after the money has run out?

Your name will be added to a waiting list. Incentive funds are limited and are expected to run out quickly. If another incentive program is supported in the future, the RDN will contact residents on the waiting list.

If you have questions that have not been addressed on this page, please call 250-390-6510, or email sustainability [at]