CaGBC Ask the Expert: George Brown College faculty member David Rezmovitz discusses the importance of post-secondary green education
September means back-to-school for many Canadians, and even if you or your children aren’t once again adjusting to a new school season, there’s no denying that this time of year lends itself to learning. That’s why this month we decided to speak to Project Manager and George Brown College faculty member David Rezmovitz, about why incorporating green practices and thinking into traditional post-secondary education is of key importance for the future.
1) Tell me a little bit about your background in sustainability/green building. How have you applied this background to teaching?
I have an Honours B.A in Anthropology, and a Masters in Environmental Studies, with a specialization in Urban Planning (MES PL). My first interest in sustainability and green building started in 2002 with a University course entitled Ecological Landscape Restoration. This course opened my eyes to the endless opportunities sustainability embodies. We took a tour of the Don Valley Brickworks site and learned how an organization called Evergreen was connecting children with nature.
Currently, I am a Project Manager at Fieldgate Commercial and a faculty member in the Continuing Education Department at George Brown College. In teaching, I have been able to draw a number of different practical examples from Fieldgate while working on projects in different municipalities across the Greater Toronto Area. This, along with my educational background, has helped me frame the context of the built environment in the classroom and really highlight how concepts and implementation work together to create an integrated green design solution.
2) What do you want to get across most to your students when it comes to sustainability and green building?
First of all, I think it’s really important for my students to understand that sustainability and building green can come in many different shapes and sizes. Secondly, I think that being exposed to green building approaches from the beginning is key – it really helps them understand what goes into the design of a building, why is it sustainable, and how will it impact positively on the environment and their daily life.
3) How important is it, in your opinion, to ensure that Canada increases and encourages green programs in both secondary and post-secondary curriculums? Do you think the building and facilities that students learn in can also benefit from being greener?
There seems to be a greater understanding in government pertaining to furthering the idea of sustainability. Secondary and post-secondary institutions are also responding to the growing awareness of thinking and living green, and in my opinion should concentrate on creating opportunities for environmental education strategies.
For example, in the Building Green with LEED course at George Brown College (which is a part of the CaGBC's Higher Education program), we concentrate on greening the existing campus and this exercise really brings out creative ideas about improving the connection between the indoor and outdoor environment, and enriching a student’s educational experience.
Students feel that introducing a sustainability plan for the campus can create a number of sustainable strategies that can and will positively impact the learning and built environment.These include things like: reducing energy consumption, increasing the use of sustainable materials and resources, and addressing water efficiency.
4) Where is the future of green building and sustainability headed, in your opinion?
Growth in education, new technologies and the built environment are the critical areas that we have to concentrate on to bring more awareness to the general population. The greatest challenge to this is the attitude and behaviour changes that are required to not only effectively implement, but sustain strategies over the long term.
In my opinion, investing in sustainable social and physical infrastructure will pay dividends to communities and beyond. The future of green building and sustainability is extremely bright right now and if we can keep the momentum going we can establish our goal of adapting this changing landscape to one that is greener and healthier for everyone.
The CaGBC Higher Education program works closely with post-secondary institutions across Canada to offer a number of advanced courses and programs to suit both current and continuing education students. These offerings are just one of the ways in which the CaGBC gives you the opportunity to learn or expand your green building knowledge and skills.
To learn more about the higher education offerings available in your region, visit our website or contact Crystal Finnigan, Higher Education Coordinator by email or phone at (866) 941-1184 ext. 1023. For more information on general CaGBC education, visit our website.