In This Issue:


· Calendar of Events

· SBS Keynote
Ed Mazria on ECOnomics

· Product review: permeable pavers

· Transitional Biohousing Design Competition

· Book review: Minding Your Business – Profits that Restore the Planet

Sustainable Building Symposium

Ed Mazria on ECOnomics


All ears at the 12th Sustainable Building Symposium (SBS) were tuned to keynote Ed Mazria’s dynamic message about seizing opportunity from the economic downturn. With some

big picture thinking and government

cooperation, Mazria’s plan would

increase the quotient of green in the

private building sector, improve the

environment,create jobs – and offer

huge economic stimulus.


Mazria’s message underlined the 2009

SBS theme: the ECOnomics of

greening the built environment.

Founder of the 2030 Challenge to

reach carbon neutrality for all buildings by 2030, he offered a made-for-Canada solution featuring

Frank Jones.


Frank is one of thousands of laid-off construction workers. With housing starts plummeting more than 70 per cent in Alberta in the past year, Frank needs work. Mazria contends that merging his 2030 targets with Ottawa’s stimulus plan can put Frank and his pals back to work and much more.


In brief, Mazria’s vision calls for government support for greening existing homes through renovation and, to a lesser degree, building new green homes. If the federal government were to invest a portion of its stimulus funding to buy down residential mortgage rates proportional to the amount the renovation would reduce the home’s energy consumption, everyone wins. 


The homeowner saves on monthly mortgage payments in the short term and reduced energy costs over the long term. Frank and his friends get jobs. The surge in home renovation creates a new market for green renovation products and services. Each home renovation directly returns thousands of dollars into the economy – and Ottawa creates a new tax base from the new jobs. And green is good: we see huge reductions in energy consumption, CO2 emissions and demand for natural gas and oil.


Visit for more about Ed Mazria.



Text Box: Welcome to Perspectives, the bimonthly e-newsletter of the Alberta Chapter, Canada Green Building Council. With a larger, more divergent membership and increasing numbers of initiatives and events, Perspectives offers the Chapter a convenient forum for updates and opinions.
Do you have a short submission you would like included or websites you would like to share with our members? E-mail Wendy Campbell, editor.

Provincial Product Profiles – Permeable Pavers

by Stephani Carter of EcoAmmo and Green Alberta


Permeable pavers have had mixed reviews in Alberta in recent years.  However, more and more project teams are deciding to add permeable surfaces to their projects. Permeable pavers, available in many different varieties, allow rainwater to flow through to the soil beneath, aiding storm water management and pollutant removal, among many other environmental benefits.


I was recently part of an Alberta Government delegation visiting China’s green building industry. There is still much to be done to reduce environmental impacts there, but in some cases the Chinese have been quick to implement green strategies. For example, sun shades, operable windows, grey water treatment and reuse and the

use of permeable pavers appear to be standard practice. This photo, taken in Shenzhen, illustrates how permeable pavers are used in parking stalls, while the driveway portions of the parking lot remain concrete or asphalt. This same mixed composition of surfaces is a growing trend in Alberta.


For those looking to use permeable pavers on their local LEED® projects, Alberta has a local manufacturer who includes recycled content in their products, which can aid in achieving both regional materials and recycled content credits.


Visit for more information.

Transitional Biohousing Design Competition


Congratulations to all seven Emerging Green Builder (EGB) member teams for their entries in the first-ever ABCaGBC design competition. Winner was the Seven Elements team from Cohos Evamy integrateddesign.


Attracting seven entries this year was thrilling; next year, the Chapter hopes to double that number and add student and young professional categories.

Review by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., MSc, LEED AP

Minding Your Business – Profits that Restore the Planet

by Horst M. Rechelbacher



This book was a pleasant surprise.  I expected a business book with information on starting and running a sustainable business, step-by-step instructions and statistics. Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda, took a significantly different approach; he focuses on individuals – you and me. 


Rechelbacher’s supposition is that the body needs to be in harmony before business can be sustainable. We need to manage our lives so our thoughts, emotions, actions and habits support our wellbeing and growth.  Further, we need to understand the links between our vision and actions, the lives of others and our environment. 


In business and life, he emphasizes service and personal contact – not e-mail where possible!  Corporate decisions are built on democratic consensus from the entire employee base, in settings that allow interaction, discussion, recognition and understanding.


This was an enlightening read, ending with a sustainable to-do list… a challenge to embrace.