November 2010

In This Issue:

Calendar of events

CE credits

Alberta green survey results

Cleantech alliance

Clean-tech conference

Book review – Green Oil

AUMA convention

Calgary’s LEED Platinum project

LEED Canada for Homes

LEED certified Alberta projects

Product profile: hemp

EGBs - memorial award

GREEN UP - arenas

Certification and job searches

Greenbuild 2010

Help Wanted



Calendar of Events

November 15
Webinar – AUMA’s Municipal Sustainability Strategy

November 17-19
Greenbuild - Chicago

November 18
LEED Canada for Homes - Calgary

November 19
Alberta Chapter Board Meeting

November 22-23
Green Associate Study Course - Calgary

November 23
Webinar - Lessons Learned from the Integrated Design Process at the Currents Condominium Development

November 23-25
AUMA Convention - Edmonton

November 25
Webinar: Economics of Green Buildings Part II: Making Green Pay

December 17
Alberta Chapter Board Meeting

May 10-12, 2011
Sustainable Building Symposium - Mark your calendar!

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

Submit to Perspectives; earn CE credits!

Here’s good news! Green Associates and LEED APs can earn up to three continuing education (CE) hours for each submission of an article to any accepted publication, including Perspectives.

You’re encouraged to use our Chapter e-newsletter to help maintain your credentials – and to share your knowledge with your Alberta colleagues.

The Green Building Certifiction Institute (GBCI) accepts articles of substantive length (let’s say at least 1,000 words) and appropriate subject matter (the wide array of subjects that contribute to the competency of LEED professionals) in an edited publication.

Get in touch with editor Wendy Campbell to advise her when to expect your submission!

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Alberta’s green industry – survey results

Results from the “Opening the Door to Green Building Study – Alberta” show many positive trends for the sustainable building industry in Alberta – and also highlight some specific challenges for the industry and the Alberta Chapter, Canada Green Building Council.

The study, conducted by research firm Sustainable Rhythm from Ohio, gathered 194 responses from a wide variety of green industry policy makers, service providers, building owners and clients. About three-quarters of respondents represented urban areas, and about one-quarter were from rural Alberta.

Results were presented to Alberta Chapter members in Calgary on November 1 and 2, then at Buildex Calgary on November 4.  A final report will be issued by the end of the year.

“It’s encouraging to see the relatively strong support for sustainable building principles and projects across our industry sectors,” said Tanya Doran, Alberta Chapter Executive Director. “On the other hand, the study also pointed out several areas where more work is needed to ensure all industry participants understand and embrace green building.”

Study highlights:
Target audiences. In general, rural audiences lag behind their urban counterparts in support, knowledge and understanding of sustainable building. As well, the majority of building owners and those involved with single family homes have not yet significantly embraced sustainable building principles and opportunities. Other highlights:

  • Organizations and management have most enthusiastically embraced the green building message, followed by vendors and industry. Trailing are customers/clients.

  • More and more sectors, led by health, hospitality, high education, institutional and government, are actively responding the opportunities within the green building market.

Benefits of building green. Virtually all industry sectors understand energy efficiency is a very positive outcome of green building – although a challenge remains to increase the number of owners, developers and builders who agree that green building increases energy efficiency. On the other hand, the long-term financial return on investment (ROI) of green building must be illustrated more clearly and better communicated to all audiences within the industry.

Initial cost of sustainable buildings. The perception of upfront cost of building green is clearly a challenge for the industry. Effective planning can mitigate the initial increased cost of green building, but those involved need increased understanding of options, outcomes and available products and supports.

Certification programs must be simplified and presented in a more straightforward, transparent manner so they are seen as a support rather than an impediment. These programs need standardized requirements, terminology and definitions. Consistency is also needed in certification of materials. 

More comparative data, presented in a straightforward manner, on the outcomes of sustainable building would be welcomed throughout the industry. Overall interest is high in green building, which points positively toward increasing work on support processes (rating systems) and capacity building so each industry sector has the knowledge, tools and resources to anticipate and meet the future challenges and opportunities.

Increased communication is essential – what is green building, who can deliver it, its benefits, what buyers should look for in a green building, etc.

“The study gives the Alberta Chapter some very useful data it can use as the foundation for measuring the progress of sustainable building initiatives in future years,” said Jeff Anderle, Sustainable Rhythm. “Both the many positive points – and areas highlighted for attention – give a good snapshot of the state of green building in Alberta.”


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Congratulations, Alberta Cleantech Industry Alliance!

A new member – the Alberta Cleantech Industry Alliance  – was added to the Alberta sustainability family during the Clean-tech Alliance conference held in Red Deer in September.

More than 120 delegates comprising clean-tech interests from the community level, business, post-secondary institutes and government, approved over 20 resolutions that advance the adoption of clean technologies for Alberta.

Among those resolutions was the approval to form the Alberta Cleantech Industry Alliance to lead our province’s clean-tech industry.

The alliance’s founding Directors have in-depth knowledge of and experience with sustainability issues and opportunities in Alberta – and several have alliances with the Alberta Chapter, CaGBC.

They are: Peter Lehner, Chair, from Plasser Canada; Axel Meisen, Alberta Innovates; Rick Stuckenberg, Alberta Association of the Institute of Planners; Paul Cabaj, Alberta Green Energies Alliance; Rob Harlan, Alberta Solar Energies; Dean Turgeon, Alberta Geothermal Energy Association and Alberta Chapter member; Simon Knight, Climate Change Central and founding member of the Alberta Chapter; Klaas Rodenberg, Alberta Chapter, Canada Green Building Council; Dan Cloutier, EcoSystems; Rus Matichuk, Sumex Capital; and David Bromley, Engineering and Rampart-Avenir.

“Clean technology is an important part of sustainable building, and evolving technologies should be encompassing this segment of the sustainable environment more and more,” said Chapter Executive Director Tanya Doran. “Clean technologies are an inherent part of how built infrastructure will become more sustainable in the future.”

Tanya said the Chapter will offer assistance to the new alliance as it builds its own momentum, ensuring appropriate cross promotion of initiatives and also helping ensure the new organization’s agenda complements other mandates without duplicating programs and initiatives already available to make best use of limited resources.

Clean-tech conference in a nutshell

Following up on the work done at the clean-tech conference in March, the Red Deer event was energetic, forward-looking and packed with important decisions for the future of sustainability in Alberta.

At the convention’s luncheon, Tom Rand alerted delegates to the risks of climate change and the options for applying clean-technologies to resolve the pending crisis. He also explained the possible role of Green Bonds for immediately financing the adoption of clean-technologies.

Following the election, an inspiring presentation by Satya Das created a buzz among delegates. Satya challenged the new-found Alliance to apply their mandate for establishing Alberta as a world leader in the application of clean technologies. His presentation was followed by a panel of industry leaders in forestry, agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing and clean-tech addressing the progress and the challenges Alberta faces in diversifying its economy.

More than 120 delegates gathered September 17 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre to attend the eight workshops, with an additional 150 guests attending the evening reception.

Among the Conference's concluding remarks by Council President, Perry Kinkaide, were two announcements:

  1. Dedication of ABCtech activities in 2011 to the theme of "Electrifying Transportation" and 

  2. The launch of ABCtech's Student Support Program for engaging Alberta's post-secondary students in Council events free of change plus development of the ABCampus Facebook.

Book review by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., M.Sc, LEED AP
Green Oil

by Satya Das, 2009
Green Oil seems like an oxymoron, particularly to those knowledgeable about the carbon economy.  However, Satya Das makes a compelling case that Canada and Alberta have to embrace their Oil Superpower status and move towards a more sustainable and ecologically viable methodology of extracting this resource. Noting there will be a global thirst for oil for the foreseeable future, he contends we’re the only nation with significant oil reserves capable of making changes.

Organizations throughout the world are working to brand the oil sands as dirty oil; however, it’s not a foregone conclusion that such oil has to be dirty.  The Alberta government needs to take a significant role in greening the oil sands through royalties, regulations that match the most stringent standards in the world, enforcement and research on more environmentally benign extraction methods.  Mr. Das proposes several methods of implementation of such policies.  He also compares the sustainability of the oil sands to oil from the Middle East, factoring in ongoing wars, transportation, and the impact of dealing with dictatorial regimes.

This book should be mandatory reading by federal and provincial politicians to provide policy ideas for greening one of Canada’s most important natural resources.

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AUMA – on board with sustainability

If you’re attending the 2010 AUMA convention in Edmonton later this month, take time to say hello to Alberta Chapter Executive Director Tanya Doran at the Chapter’s trade show booth.

Chances are, she’ll be busy chatting with an elected official from one of Alberta’s hundreds of municipalities about one of the planks in the Chapter’s platform of sustainable building. And, chances are, she’ll be reinforcing messages that elected official has heard before – because AUMA’s efforts at growing its sustainability agenda are taking hold.

This year’s convention features a number of sessions and discussions focusing on various sustainability components – including energy, water and construction. The convention’s theme, GameOn! Stronger. United., dovetails well with the progressive agenda for increasing sustainable building in municipalities throughout the province.

“I sense momentum is building within the AUMA environment for all things sustainable. That’s great news for the Chapter because AUMA members represent both key stakeholders and key clients of sustainable building,” says Tanya. “Members of municipal councils and their administrations are pivotal in developing supportive policies and accompanying regulations.”

She added municipalities are also green building clients, many publicly committed to putting their sustainable building principles into practice.

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LEED™ for Homes Platinum coming to Calgary

What does it take to achieve LEED™ for Homes Platinum status in the heart of oil country? Stubbornness.

Nicolle Pittman and her family started Coley Homes in 2005 solely to build their Brama Project – a pair of attached inner city homes capable of producing more energy than they use annually.  In the heat of Calgary’s building boom, it was the only way to make sure every exhaustive detail was considered. Five years later, the building has received a preliminary LEED™ for Homes Platinum rating with plans in progress to submit for full certification.

Coley’s Brama Project is a concrete fortress oriented to maximize passive solar gain and built to stand long after any memory of Calgary’s building boom has faded. Key systems include ICF/SIP construction, suspended concrete floors, geothermal heating & cooling, PV solar, earth tube ventilation with heat recovery, FSC and reclaimed wood products, VOC-free glues and finishes, water conserving fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and home automation technology that keeps everything talking to each other.

Calgary architect David Ferguson was given the challenge of reprioritizing the construction budget, putting more into structural and mechanical systems and less into finishing. “We built out of better stuff, then left much of it exposed,” says Pittman. “Concrete floors, Q-deck ceilings, raw steel staircases – anything I could cover them with wouldn’t be half as nice as what’s underneath.”

The result is a uniquely honest home, especially in a market plagued with cookie cutter options. Says Pittman, “People tell me it doesn’t feel like a Calgary home. I grew up in the Calgary suburbs, so I’m not sure how that happened. Rebellion, maybe.”

But is there a market for carbon-free living in the petroleum capital of the world? Apparently so.  Since opening up Brama’s east side for public tours on Earth Day 2010, over 2,000 people have toured through. The home is currently for sale, which has realtors watching very closely. If LEED homes can command a premium, it’s a whole new market for their industry, too.

Stay tuned for details on a LEED™ member tour.

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 LEED Canada for Homes building momentum

The July edition of Perspectives reported LEED Canada for Homes had almost 800 homes registered across Canada.

The numbers keep growing. Now, the program shows 906 units registered in total, with 147 of those in Alberta.

LEED Canada for Homes applies to single family homes and multifamily buildings up to three residential storeys. Mixed use projects can apply in certain circumstances. Existing homes are able to participate in LEED Canada for Homes provided they meet certain conditions.

Alberta homebuilders interested in participating in the LEED Canada for Homes program are encouraged to contact either Tyler Hermanson, 4 Elements Integrated Design Ltd. in Calgary at 403-250-45514 or Stephani Carter, EcoAmmo in Edmonton at 780-466-7616 or toll free 1-866-430-7616.



Success! LEED certified Alberta projects

Congratulations to those involved in the following projects that have achieved LEED certification.

IHS Calgary Office - LEED Canada-CI 1.0, Gold
1331 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary
Registration date - 19/2/2008
Certification date - 16/3/2010

The project is a tenant fit-up of floors 2,3,4,5 and part of 6.  IHS Energy (Canada) Ltd is committed to achieving a healthy and environmentally friendly office space and has therefore integrated LEED into the design process. An example are the excellent public transport links from the building.

Future Shop-South Edmonton Common - LEED Canada-NC 1.0, Certified
1320 - 99th Street NW, Edmonton
Registration date - 16/4/2008
Certification date - 23/3/2010

The South Edmonton Future Shop project is a prototype store that offers new customer experiences. Our developed interior design is planned on few punctual zones organized in quadrants around a central hub. This allows the client to engage with different experiences and specified services.

Signal Hill Fire Station #33 – LEED Canada-NC 1.0, Silver
3800 69th Street SW, Calgary
Registration date - 1/9/2005
Certification date - 22/7/2010

Fire Station No. 33 will serve the rapidly growing communities in southwest Calgary. The 1,600 square metre building is located on a small, sloping site with limited access.

Community Energy Centre – LEED Canada-NC 1.0, Silver
NW 1/4 Sec 26, TP 52, Rg 23-W-4th Meridian, Lot J, Plan 4097 – TP, Strathcona County
Registration date - 14/12/2005
Certification date - 8/9/2010

This is a 3,600-square-foot district energy facility and interpretive centre.

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Provincial product profile – hemp: back to the future
by Shane Korithoski, Canamo Enterprises

One of the biggest challenges facing today's green builders is finding materials that are non-toxic, have lower embodied energy and support the local economy. Rating systems such as Cradle to Cradle and the Pharos Lens standard create more transparency around these issues.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of choice regarding healthier building materials. Materials that are petroleum free and free of fire retardants and blowing agents are almost impossible to find. So what should a forward-thinking green builder look for?
One material appropriate for the Alberta climate is made from hemp. Combining the shiv & fibre of the plant with lime creates an organic masonry material with superior insulation R-values to any earth building mix. 

Building with hemp is not new. The Romans and Japanese both used it, and the material has been making a comeback for some time throughout Europe. The hemp-lime system caught on about 25 years ago in France and has since spread to other areas of Europe, including Ireland and England. It’s been said that growing hemp on just 1% of the farmland in the United Kingdom would be enough to build 180,000 houses a year! Only within the past five years have North Americans begun opening their eyes to the awesome potential of hemp.
Hemp has been called a bio-composite superstar: it’s a fast-growing and versatile plant with a unique closed-cell structure that sets it apart from other kinds of cellulose. While most straw yields about three tonnes of fibre per hectare, hemp straw weighs in at 10 to 15 tonnes. The plant sequesters carbon, producing carbon-negative products and helping to combat global climate change.
Hemp buildings are resistant to fire and mould and can be incorporated into passive solar design strategies due to the material's impressive thermal mass. Living in a "hemp house" can be viewed, in a sense, like living in a tree. The walls act like a permeable skin, releasing negative ions (as opposed to positive ones) into the air; thus residents have fewer problems with static electricity and electromagnetic fields. In addition, the hemp home supports the local economy and is pleasant to be in!

Even the Alberta government has begun to take notice of this plant and its amazing properties; our province can now be considered Canada's leader in bio-materials development, and hemp is one of the main interests. Check it out at

NOTE: Do you have a product you would like to profile? Get in touch – and get published!

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Andy Kesteloo Memorial Award

Calling all EGBs and students! If you’re into all things green and are passionate about inspiring others about sustainability, consider applying for the Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award.

The award, offered annually through the Canada Green Building Council, recognizes an innovative student project that demonstrates leadership and creativity, and encourages sustainable planning, design, construction, maintenance and renovation of buildings. 

The winning project will inspire and teach others about sustainable building practices that help lessen the impact of global warming (climate change). The project should demonstrate this through creative and innovative strategies that recognize real world needs.

The Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award includes:

  • a $2,000 cash award,
  • free conference registration to the 2011 CaGBC’s National Symposium in Toronto, including attendance at the gala dinner and award ceremony where the winner will be announced to the public,
  • transportation costs to and from the conference,
  • two nights’ lodging in Toronto during the conference, and
  • $100 in expenses.

In addition, the award recipient’s professor will be provided free entry to the CaGBC’s 2011 National Symposium, gala dinner and awards ceremony.

Any full-time student enrolled in the second or third year of his or her program during the academic year starting September 2010 is eligible. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at a Canadian university or college that is a member in good standing of the Canada Green Building Council (see for a list of CaGBC members). Project groups must select one group representative, and the project award will be awarded to only one group member.

The Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award is in memory of Andy Kesteloo, a visionary green building advocate, who with humour, insight and passion shared his commitment for a sustainable earth.

For more information, e-mail  or call Crystal Finnigan, CaGBC LEED Green Associate, at (613) 288-8073.

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GREEN UP launches arena pilot project

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has announced the launch of a pilot project for arenas as the GREEN UP program continues to address new building sectors. This national pilot project will benchmark arena facilities across Canada, identify and audit top-performing facilities, establish national performance and design standards and enable participants to track performance trends in their own facilities and the sector as a whole.

The GREEN UP Program provides tools, performance standards and resources to help building owners and operators understand, measure and compare on-going performance of their building portfolio - helping them find efficiencies and improvements to achieve deep reductions in energy use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Pilot participants will be able to:

  • monitor actual energy, water and emissions savings of their arena facilities over time,
  • benchmark energy, water and emissions performance for their own facilities compared with a growing national database of arena facilities,
  • access energy and environmental performance standards, baselines and best practices derived from top-performing facilities,
  • contribute to the development and testing of:
    • a standardized Building Performance Audit for arenas to document building systems and highlight areas for improvement,
    • a normalization and target-setting protocol for identifying energy and water conservation potential in individual facilities, and
    • an easy-to-use operations log and reporting system for use by arena managers to help track ongoing performance.

To register your arena facilities in this pilot project or for more information, e-mail Monique at or call her toll free at 1-866-941-1184, ext. 1066.

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Certification: helping with your green job search

You’re scrambling like mad trying to meet the demands of 8 to 5. Make that 8 to 8, plus weekends. You’re trying to find the time to work on your professional certification – and still have time to breathe.

Is certification that important to your future career, which seems to be at an all-time high?

Yes, definitely yes. Education and certification are crucially important factors in ensuring your career develops as you want it. Read what one professional has to say on the subject.

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Greenbuild 2010 – check out Booth #2589!

Planning on attending Greenbuild 2010, November 17-19 in Chicago? Stop by the Government of Alberta exhibit, Booth #2589 and say hello to Alberta Chapter Executive Director Tanya Doran, who will be waxing poetic about the Chapter’s many initiatives and successes.

As well, stop by the Canada 2011 host booth and offer a special Canuck welcome to other visitors. Next year, Toronto will host Greenbuild – the first time it’s being held outside the U.S. Go, Canada, go!

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Help Wanted

Administrative Assistant
The Alberta Chapter is hiring!  An Adminstrative Assistant is required on a part-time contract basis, 12-20 hours weekly from a home office.  The positions responsibilities will include office managment, event and executive support. For more information on this opportunity click here.

Submit responses to Trina Larsen, Alberta Chapter Chair at by 4 pm Friday, 
November 26th.

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For more information on the Alberta Chapter of the CaGBC visit

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.

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Alberta Chapter - Canada Green Building Council
Box 34024, Kingsway Mall
Edmonton, Alberta T5G 3G4

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