July 2009

In This Issue:


Calendar of Events

Chapter member honoured at CaGBC 2nd Annual National Summit LEED®

Edmonton’s “triple crown” PD tour – register now! '

LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009 

GREEN UP: Canada’s Building Performance Program 

Calgary's PD tour takes off

Product review: moveable walls 

The winners’ inside story: transitional biohousing design competition 

Book review: Statistics You Can’t Trust: A Friendly Guide to Clear Thinking About Statistics in Everyday Life 




Perspectives is the bimonthly e-newsletter of the Alberta Chapter, Canada Green Building Council.

Chapter member honoured at 2nd annual 
National Summit

Alberta Chapter – Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) member Joanne Perdue was among the award winners at the CaGBC 2nd Annual National Summit. Joanne was recognized for her volunteer work with the Council. When she’s not volunteering for the Chapter or the national organization, Joanne is Director of Sustainability for the University of Calgary and also a senior associate at Designworks Architecture.

The Summit, held in Ottawa in June, attracted more than 1,350 participants from industry, government and the not-for-profit sectors. With a theme of “Every Building Can be Green,” the Summit featured more than 70 speakers and 78 exhibitors.

Newly elected CaGBC chair Lisa Bate said, “People recognize that a green building is an efficient building, and efficiency has real economic, as well as social and environmental, value.”

Other Summit highlights included the introduction of LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009 and the official launch of GREEN UP: Canada’s Building Performance Program.

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Edmonton’s “triple crown” PD tour – register now!

Join more than 80 others on Thursday, July 23 for a professional development tour of the Federal Building – the first stage of this PD “triple crown.” This summer’s tour of this LEED® building will highlight features of its deconstruction by Clarke Builders as it undergoes a retrofit. Next year, the Chapter will offer another tour – featuring its reconstruction. The final triple crown offering, in 2011, will unveil the completed LEED® project.

Register now!  Space is limited and filling up quickly.

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LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009

Introduced at the National Summit, this initiative with the long name – shorten it to LEED® Canada EB: O&M 2009 – takes a quantum step forward into new territory for green buildings.

The new rating system provides ongoing certification on the performance, operations and maintenance of buildings that have either never been LEED® certified or that have been certified under other LEED® programs.

The system examines actual performance – rather than design expectations – and recognizes the ongoing efforts of building owners and managers of commercial, government and institutional buildings to continually improve the performance of their buildings.

Available later this summer, LEED® Canada EB: O&M 2009 includes both common and tenant areas, exteriors, site maintenance programs, optimized use of water and energy, the commitment to environmentally preferred products and food, waste management, recycling programs, indoor air quality and more. In short, the rating system considers the building as a whole.

It can be used for renovations and additions as well, provided they are applied to no more than 50 per cent of the total building floor area and don’t require more than half the occupants to move.

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Attention, building owners and managers: GREEN UP!

Calendar of Events  

July 23
Federal Building Tour-Edmonton

August 6
LEED® ND Tour and Presentation - Currie Barracks - Calgary

August 11
LEED® ND Tour and Presentation - Griesbach - Edmonton

September 16
LEED® for New Construction Workshop-

Fall BBQ - Edmonton
Watch here for more details.

September 17
LEED® for Construction Workshop-Calgary

Fall BBQ - Calgary
Watch here for more details.

September 30
LEED® for Commercial Interiors—Calgary

GREEN UP – Canada’s Building Performance Program - gives building owners, managers and operators a new tool to measure, rate and improve energy efficiency, water use and carbon emission performance of their buildings.

The tool gives this group, among other things, access to building performance audits, workshops and the Green Building Performance System, a national database of information on energy and water use, and carbon emission levels for specific building sectors.

GREEN UP evolved from CaGBC’s Green Building Performance Initiative, which began with an initial phase of pilot projects involving more than 330 K-12 schools, 60 commercial properties and 75 government buildings from across Canada. From this pilot, energy efficiency, water use and carbon emission performance benchmarks were set for these building sectors.

The second phase of pilots, with post secondary campuses, non-food retail and arenas, will be launched later this summer and will run for up to 15 months. Further pilots will occur over the next two years until all building sectors have participated and their data included in the GREEN UP database.

Check out CAGBC’s GREEN UP for more information, or contact Monique Goguen, Coordinator, at 1-866-941-1184, ext. 1066 or GREENUP@cagbc.org.

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Calgary's PD tour takes off

More than 50 people took in Calgary’s Westjet Campus Building tour on June 24, enjoying the PD experience and the chance for some summer networking. 

Cloud-like suspended baffles made of stretched fabric create interest and help diffuse the ample natural light in the lobby atrium.

Cloud-like suspended baffles made of stretched fabric create interest and help diffuse the ample natural light in the lobby atrium.
Photo credit: Kevin Nguyen-Cao, Stantec Architecture
Interior view of the Westjet Campus courtyard and views from an internal office.

Photo credit: Kevin Nguyen-Cao, Stantec Architecture

Provincial product profiles – moveable walls 
by Andrea Pelland and Stephani Carter, of EcoAmmo & Green Alberta

Moveable walls have been around for many years now and have gone through many renditions of style, functionality and flexibility. You may remember demountable walls that had three options of vinyl finishes that really did not appeal to many interior designers.Photo credit:  DIRTT.net

Moveable walls are now fully flexible with easy install and reconfiguration, minimizing down time and health problems from dust and debris you get with typical interior construction. They also create minimal waste, sending less to our crowded landfills. Being able to reconfigure rooms in an afternoon allows for spaces to serve different purposes over time, saving precious lease space and the costs associated. They are also super sexy with a million different types of finishes and even compatible furniture, making a complete, coordinated office.

For those looking to use moveable walls on their local LEED® projects, Alberta has a local manufacturer who includes recycled content in their products, no urea-formaldehyde sub straights, low VOC finishes and FSC certified wood finishes, which can aid in the achievement of regional materials, recycled content, certified wood and indoor environmental quality credits.

Check out www.dirtt.net or www.greenalberta.ca for more information.

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Transitional Biohousing Design Competition 
The winners’ inside story

The Chapter’s first-ever design competition, held this spring, caught the attention of our green building community with its challenge of developing a transitional housing project for Edmonton’s Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.

The Seven Elements integrated team of architectural, structural, electrical and mechanical Emerging Green Builders (EGBs) and their mentor, Beatriz Vorontsov, from Cohos Evamy integratedesign™ took top honours.

The team’s concept integrated life’s four primitive elements – earth, air, fire and water – and created a fifth element, space, which harmonized the four primitive elements. The concept was particularly appropriate considering the women and children who would live in the building.

“We decided to incorporate these natural elements throughout the building in an attempt to provide an atmosphere and environment conducive to healing, and to provide support for the occupants – allowing them to develop skills necessary for the next phase of their lives,” says Beatriz.

Earth was represented by a one-metre-thick, 16-metre-high wall, constructed from rammed earth. This wall separates public, private and shared common areas within the building and also houses various building systems. Fire was conceived as part the heating system and the natural thermal qualities of rammed earth, along with a communal rooftop fireplace exclusive to the building occupants. Water was expressed through solar hot water systems and an underground thermal storage system. An air chimney running down through the rammed earth wall, as well as other passive ventilation strategies, help incorporate the element of air.

The building orientation, materials selection and various building systems would qualify the building for an environmental rating of LEED® Platinum in LEED® Canada NC.

“We incorporated elements of sustainability that took advantage of the angle of the sun, the prevailing winds and specific neighbourhood considerations,” says Carson Gemmill.

Jury members Cheryl Whiskeyjack from Bent Arrow, Justin Pockar, architectural representative from the City of Calgary, and Sean Piper, engineering representative from Stantec, said the submission illustrated good integrated design process and well-thought-out detail, doing an excellent job of expressing sustainability as a design element.

The team learned several lessons from the competition.

“Integration was the first lesson. The building is not sustainable unless all the components work together. The competition also made me appreciate each team member’s specific responsibilities, all of which have to fit together to enhance the whole,” says Janice Mills.

In recognition of their winning submission, four team members were hosted at the Canada Green Building Council’s national Summit in Montreal in June.

The team acknowledges the tremendous support they received from Cohos Evamy and is looking forward to next year’s competition. “It was a cool experience,” says Carson.

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Review by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., M.Sc., LEED AP 
Statistics You Can’t Trust: A Friendly Guide to Clear Thinking About Statistics in Everyday Life 
by Steve Campbell, PhD., 1999

This is not the book I intended reviewing for this issue of Perspectives, since I picked the book up from the library at random. Upon reading, I recognized that this book provides a helpful reminder for all of us on how to represent statistics correctly and how to critically evaluate statistics before making decisions or forming opinions based on them. It’s written in a conversational tone, without delving into mathematics.

At their best, statistics show what’s really going on, providing perspective and concrete information on which to base decisions. At worst, they provide misleading data designed to confuse, mislead and befuddle. (Green-washing would fall into the latter category.) Dr. Campbell provides guidance on the nuances of what makes bad statistics, noting that the statistics themselves aren’t always the problem – sometimes it’s the representation. As an example – think of comparator pie charts, which all use the same size of pies. However, when looking more closely, one pie is referring to global economics while the next is about household budgets.

By using statistics properly, we’re able to more effectively spread the message about benefits of green buildings. This book shows how to do that. Perhaps more importantly, however, it describes how to critically evaluate statistics so we’re not hoodwinked into believing nonsense . . . even when it’s nonsense we agree with!

For more information on the Alberta Chapter of the CaGBC visit www.abcagbc.org

Do you have a short submission you would like included? 
Have you discovered websites you would like to share with our members? 
E-mail Wendy Campbell, Perspectives editor.