CaGBC announces 1,000 projects have been certified through LEED

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Milestone highlights substantial reductions to Canadian GHG emissions and energy and water consumption accomplished through LEED 

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has announced that 1000 projects have now been LEED certified in Canada. The certifications total 145 Certified, 316 Silver, 447 Gold and 92 Platinum projects across Canada, in six different ratings systems. The certified buildings range from single family homes to condo and office towers; from schools and arenas to retail outlets and industrial complexes, CaGBC said in a May news release.

Canada has the second largest number of certified buildings in the world, after the United States. Since certifying its first project in 2005, the CaGBC has been collecting data to evaluate the impact that LEED Canada has made on Canadian energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste diversion. These are the results:

·         Energy savings of 1,600,321 eMWh which is enough to power 54,307 homes in Canada for a full year.

·         A 312,006 C02e tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which equates to taking 58,980 cars off the roads for a year.

·         Water savings totalling over 3.3 billion litres, the equivalent of 1,336 Olympic sized swimming pools.

·         Recycling over two million tonnes of construction/demolition waste which represents 639,642 garbage truck loads.

·         Installing 100,239 sq metres of green roofs, or an area the size of 66 NHL hockey rinks, to reduce the urban heat island effect and mitigate storm water flows in urban areas.

“I am very proud of how far we’ve come; it is a testament to the growth of the Canadian green building industry which has embraced LEED over the past decade,” says Thomas Mueller, the CaGBC’s president and CEO since 2005. “Canada is now considered one of the global leaders in green building with some of the most innovative and advanced buildings in the world.  But we cannot become complacent in the wake of the progress we have made. We need to strive to design buildings that are not only sustainable but regenerative, and make more inroads in the retrofit and operations of existing buildings to counteract the steady decline of ecosystem health worldwide.”

For the private sector, LEED has been a concrete way to demonstrate commitment to sustainability.  No other company in the private sector has embraced LEED more than Enermodal Engineering, which has now acted as LEED Consultant on 200 LEED certified projects.

“Enermodal began using LEED is 2003 for our building projects. Having seen a variety of energy efficiency and green building programs and rating come and go, we latched onto LEED right way,” says Enermodal Engineering president Steve Carpenter. “LEED had a strong technical basis; credibility based on third-party certification; and was not subject to the whims of government funding. It’s now 10 years later, and we still believe as strongly in the LEED rating system.”

LEED has changed the landscape of the downtown cores of many large Canadian cities, the CaGBC news release says. Large commercial real estate land owners such as Oxford Properties Group and First Capital Realty have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to sustainability. Oxford Canada currently has 29 buildings registered or LEED certified, representing 18.8 million square feet.

“Oxford recognizes our responsibility to develop and operate efficient, green buildings and LEED provides us with a globally recognized leadership approach for doing so,” says Andrew McAllan, senior vice-president and managing director, real estate management, Oxford Properties Group.

“Over the past decade, LEED has played a pivotal role incorporating sustainability into business operations. First Capital Realty is proud to have been one of the early leaders to mandate LEED beginning in May 2006,” says Rosemary Martin, First Capital’s chief sustainability officer. “The company currently has 32 projects at 23 properties comprising over 700,000 square feet of gross leasable area (GLA) certified to LEED standards.”

Canadian cities have been some of the most influential drivers of the adaption of LEED Canada as they recognize the need for green building policies and higher sustainability standards. For example, the Cities of Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal have LEED Gold targets for their new building stock. In total there are 29 cities or municipalities that currently have a LEED certification policy. For a full list, view Appendix A attached to this release.

The City of Vancouver is known for its advanced green policies, and was one of the earliest and most fervent adopters of LEED. And while the city has a solid LEED Gold policy in place, it also now certifies many of its buildings to LEED Platinum.

Vancouver uses LEED “not only in our own projects, but also in our public policy and it’s a key part of our effort to become the greenest city in the world by 2020,” says Sadhu Johnston, the city’s deputy city manager.

Calgary has also been a leader in building green since it first adopted LEED Canada as part of its Sustainable Building Policy in 2004, most recently increasing its new building targets to LEED Gold in 2008. The city now has a total of 17 LEED certified buildings either owned or funded.

“We are committed to LEED certification for all new buildings, and all types of buildings,” says Bruce Cullen, Calgary’s director of infrastructure and information services.  “This demonstrates the City’s pledge to creating the great city that the citizens of Calgary have envisioned and directly benefit from in their daily lives.”

For post-secondary institutions like Nova Scotia Community College which certified its Waterfront Campus in 2008, LEED is also a great way to teach students about how to be innovative.

“Nova Scotia Community College is committed to providing learning environments that exemplify best practices around environmental stewardship, sustainability and innovation,” says Don Bureaux, president, NSCC. “The LEED designation allows us to achieve our commitment and to have a green influence on our learners and our entire community. We are proud to have just received our third LEED certification.”

To learn more about LEED and the most current updates attend this year’s CaGBC National Conference and Expo, the largest green building event in Canada each year. The conference June 4-6 in Vancouver will include:

·         CaGBC booth #401 where you can talk to LEED staff about your most pressing project questions.

·         LEED Program Update with recertification guidance, multiple building guidance and new tips for LEED Canada EB:O&M projects.

·         LEED: Big Questions, Straight Answers where attendees can ask tough LEED questions of CaGBC’s top technical and program experts.

·         LEED V.4 Preview which will give insight into the development process, a general overview of the technical changes proposed and information of specific interest to LEED Professionals in Canada. Presented by representatives from the USGBC.

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