In This Issue:
Perspectives is the bimonthly e-newsletter of the Alberta Chapter, Canada Green Building Council.
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!
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.”
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.”
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.
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:
Book review by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., M.Sc, LEED AP
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations to those involved in the following projects that have achieved LEED certification.
IHS Calgary Office - LEED Canada-CI 1.0, Gold
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
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
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
This is a 3,600-square-foot district energy facility and interpretive centre.
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.
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 www.canamobuilding.com.
NOTE: Do you have a product you would like to profile? Get in touch – and get published!
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:
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 www.cagbc.org 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.
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:
To register your arena facilities in this pilot project or for more information, e-mail Monique at GREENUP@cagbc.org or call her toll free at 1-866-941-1184, ext. 1066.
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.
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!
Submit responses to Trina Larsen, Alberta
at TLarsen@designdialog.ca by
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