September 2010

In This Issue:

Calendar of events

Green building study

Edmonton’s conference centre

LEED for Existing Buildings in Alberta

Greenbuild Invite

Board retreat

Going for Gold in Canmore

Wood fair

Book review

Edmonton “pays for rays”

Edmonton’s net zero community

Lillian Osborne High School

Clean-tech Symposium

Calgary Green Associate courses

Help wanted

Calendar of Events

September 17
Alberta Chapter Board Meeting

Clean-tech Workshops

September 18
Clean-tech Convention

September 22-25
IIDEX/NeoCon Canada, Green Buiding Festival and Light Canada - Toronto

September 22
LEED Core Concepts & Strategies - Calgary

October 6
Design Charette - Edmonton

Prairie Wood Solutions Fair

October 7
Design Charette - Calgary

October 15
Alberta Chapter Board Meeting

October 20
LEED Canada for Homes - Edmonton

October 25
Prairie Wood Design Awards - Edmonton

October 26
LEED Canada for New Construction 2009 - Edmonton

October 28
LEED Canada Documentation Course - Calgary

November 1
Opening the Doors to Green Building Survey results presentation - Edmonton

November 2
Opening the Doors to Green Building Survey results presentation - Calgary

November 3 & 4
Buildex Calgary

November 17-19
Greenbuild - Chicago

November 19
Alberta Chapter Board Meeting

November 23-25
AUMA Convention - Edmonton

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.

Opening the Door to Green Building Study - Alberta

When the door to opportunity opens, take it. The Alberta Chapter Board took this sage advice recently to team up with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) in sponsoring a study of current market attitudes, perceptions and communication issues about sustainable building in Alberta. 

The study, called “Opening the Door to Green Building” and conducted by green research firm Sustainable Rhythm out of Ohio, was launched this week and will be completed by Thanksgiving. “This study will give us an invaluable source of information about the awareness and perceptions of many of our stakeholders to green building,” said Alberta Chapter Executive Director Tanya Doran. “Sustainable Rhythm will be approaching a wide range of professional associations and other organizations to ensure comprehensive input from Alberta businesses, industry and suppliers.”Altogether, the firm expects to complete 500 to 600 surveys. “We’re striving for a balance among all the sectors contacted, and will work toward that result for this Alberta study,” said Jeff Anderle, Sustainable Rhythm. Once the data is collected, Jeff will present the results first to Alberta Chapter members in Calgary on November 1 and 2, thend at Buildex Calgary on November 4.

“As well as seeing an overview of results, the data will be presented by sector so we can easily compare awareness and perceptions among different stakeholder groups. Knowing what information is needed and by which groups will be extremely useful in planning activities and communication pieces,” said Tanya.She said she will be looking specifically for information gauging the rural/urban split, how much impact green building has made in Alberta, perceptions of the required financial investment and the role of certification. 

Read the report of a similar study conducted in Ohio, posted on the Saskatchewan Chapter, CaGBC website. 

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LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings

Shaw Conference Center - in line for certification

Since it first opened its doors in 1983, the Shaw Conference Centre (SCC) – then humbly known as Edmonton’s Convention Centre – has commanded attention, interest and respect.Not to be overshadowed by its younger counterpart buildings, the SCC hopes to be the first such facility in Canada to receive LEED Canada for Existing Buildings certification.

“Achieving LEED silver certification is good for the environment and good for business,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, SCC Vice President and General Manager. “This is part of our continued effort to reduce the centre’s environmental footprint.”And what, exactly, has the SCC done to help it achieve the coveted certification? Lots! The Centre has: converted to 90 per cent green janitorial paper products,

added outdoor bicycle racks to promote alternative transportation, and

conducted an energy audit to examine potential energy savings

Does one of the recognized focal points of Edmonton’s downtown have a good shot at LEED cer.tification? “We’re confident that we’ll achieve certification by the end of 2011,” says Fitzpatrick. The SCC’s aspirations build on the Centre’s growing list of achievements: Green certification from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in 2007 

Diverting waste from landfills by 40 per cent through composting and recycling programs 

Helping clients plan green events through an eco report card and a sustainable event planning guide 

Featuring Alberta products in menus through partnerships with local growers and producers

Gaining momentum in Alberta

Scan the spreadsheet of existing Alberta buildings registered for LEED Canada for Existing Buildings certification – and be impressed!

Would you believe an astounding 336 existing buildings from every part of our province are on the books? Of that number, about 10 per cent have received certification, illustrating the rigorous process involved in achieving the prestigious ranking. If the process goes astoundingly quickly, a building can move through the certification process in about two years; others take as long as seven or eight years depending on the detailed steps and upgrades they need to take. 

The following are registered for the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Rating System:

Suncor Energy Centre, Calgary

Fifth Avenue Place, Calgary

Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton

Enbridge Tower, Edmonton

Altius Centre, Calgary

Banker’s Hall, Calgary

Canadian Western Bank Place, Edmonton

Livingston Place, Calgary

Alberta Chapter Board retreat 
– many hands make light work

Some volunteer Boards serve themselves a heaping plate of commendation for finding the time to attend meetings. Other Boards – such as the Alberta Chapter, CaGBC – roll up their sleeves, ask how they can help achieve the organization’s objectives and when their tasks are due. 

The Chapter’s Board met in Canmore on July 26 to set specific tasks its annual plan. 

“Our mission and vision were clear from the onset. We just needed the activities plan to move us forward,” said Tanya Doran, Chapter Executive Director.

The Board reviewed the primary areas of Chapter activity: advocacy and awareness, education, conference, business development, and assigned tasks and set measurable targets for the next 12 months. Each Board member will submit written reports at the next Board meeting, September 17, on his or her progress.

“Our Board shows exemplary commitment not only to sustainable building but also to the process of achieving our mission,” said Tanya. “The Board spent some time identifying a process to help us, as a Board, achieve our objectives.” She said everyone – even rookie director John Bulmar from Medicine Hat - contributed to the energetic discussion, offering different perspectives on wide-ranging topics from alternate funding sources to increased administrative support. 

Greenbuild 2010 – Marketing Alberta green 

The Government of Alberta in cooperation with the Canadian Consulate Chicago, and the Alberta Chapter, Canadian Green Building Council extends an invitation for your company to participate as an Associate Exhibitor in the Alberta exhibit program at Greenbuild 2010.   

           Associate Exhibitor: 

  • your company literature (25 pieces) will be displayed in the Alberta exhibit, (however due to limited space, products or demonstrations cannot be displayed).

  • a one page profile, as provided by your company (approximately 150 to 200 words) will be inserted in an Alberta Green Building Products and Technologies reference booklet, to be distributed at the event.  The booklet also serves as a mini directory on Alberta companies who wish to do business in, or who are already doing business in the area of green building.

  • Deadline for company profiles is October 15, pls forward to Orest Warchola (

  • Alberta companies attending or already exhibiting at Greenbuild 2010, are welcome to have their literature  displayed in the Alberta booth. 

  • No Participation fee.

  • Companies planning to attend Greenbuild 2010, are also invited to attend the Canada Networking Reception, a green business speed dating event being held November 17 in Chicago. Interested participants please advise ASAP.   

For more information, please contact; 

Orest Warchola
Director, US Trade and Investment
Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations
Ph:  (780) 427-6257

Planning on attending Greenbuild 2010, November 17-19 in Chicago? Then make sure to stop by the Government of Alberta exhibit and say hello to Alberta Chapter Executive Director Tanya Doran, who will be showcasing the Chapter’s mission and work to attendees..

We hope you are able to participate with us at Greenbuild 2010 in Chicago.

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Going for Gold in Canmore

Ecole Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore offered the Alberta Chapter Board a very attractive setting and an up-close look at a LEED certified school constructed primarily of wood for part of its July Board retreat. 

The school, which opened in September 2008, was striving for LEED Silver – but may achieve Gold certification because of its range of sustainable features. Lawrence Grassi is also a great example of how wood construction can meet all building science and code challenges while meeting tight budgets and providing extraordinary architectural appeal. 

Aesthetics, of course, won’t earn LEED certification, but the school abounds with features that will. Its design, for example, is expected to result in energy use about 50 per cent below the baseline defined in the Model National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. It also includes high-efficiency HVAC systems, and the design uses motion detectors, occupancy sensors and low water plumbing fixtures to achieve additional energy savings and reduced environmental footprint. Natural light was used to reduce electricity costs. 

As well, the regionally harvested and manufacturing materials, components and assemblies can harness local skills, enhance the local economy and create a durable and functional building with great appeal. 

That’s only part of the story. As part of construction management for the project, 85 percent of an existing building on the site was diverted from the landfill. Materials from the previous school were salvaged and shipped to Guatemala for use in schools there.

A construction period waste management plan set an objective of recycling or diverting 75 per cent of waste (by weight). Every contractor and sub-contractor used the recycling bins and reuse piles. Recycling bins were inspected to ensure materials weren’t contaminated.

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Prairie Wood Solutions Fair – free, futuristic and fun!

Wood: old as Mother Earth herself and still offering the potential of fresh, eco-friendly approaches to sustainable building. 

To find out more about innovative uses of wood material, hybrid construction with timber and concrete, sustainable design with western red cedar and more, plan to attend the Prairie Wood Solutions Fair at Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino on Wednesday, October 6. 

Sponsored by woodWORKS!, part of the Canadian Wood Council, the event is free of charge – and attracts an audience of up to 600 architects, engineers and other specifiers and designers interested in wood-based products. Its program offers:

  • technical information from suppliers, manufacturers, wood engineering consultants and industry associations, 

  • seminars,

  • a range of structural wood products and finishing wood products, 

  • wood and related product exhibits,

  • consultation with wood industry experts and product specialists, and

  • Continuing Education Credits for architects attending the seminars.

Register at

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Book review by Trina Larsen, P.Eng., M.Sc, LEED AP
Whole Earth Discipline – An Ecopragmatist Manifesto
by Stewart Brand, 2009

My grandmother used to say she was in God’s hands in the garden – without her there would be weeds instead of flowers. Similarly, Stewart Brand argues without human intervention the environment would become overgrown. Tackling topics of cities, nuclear energy, genetic modification and resource management, he makes a strong case that traditional positions of most environmentalists may end up harming what they’re trying to preserve. 

His position on cities is championed by those of us involved in green buildings: densification and walkable communities are part of the solution to climate change.  However, his glorification of the slums became a bit spurious to this reader.  Regarding nuclear power, he discusses the carbon footprint and radioactivity of coal versus nuclear, and the wilderness return after Chernobyl.  With bioengineering he contends that by using genetic manipulation the biologist chooses specific traits without unforeseen residual resulting from breeding techniques. The book’s final chapters focus on how bioengineering, gardening and other human interventions can improve the environment, yet points to a balance between managed and unmanaged landscapes.  

Mr. Brand’s arguments are challenging and worth exploring.  He proposes it’s time to attempt something new rather than continuing down the same harmful path, regardless of the precautionary principle.  

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Edmonton “pays for rays”

In response to greater demand for ways to reduce CO2 emissions and growing interest in renewable electricity generation, the City of Edmonton introduced a solar-electric pilot program on September 1. 

This one-month program is allocating a total budget of $200,000 in the form of rebates for home and business owners interested in installing solar panels to generate electricity.

Response has been impressive; by September 13, the residential component of the program was at capacity, with the budget fully committed although some funding remains for commercial interests.

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Station Pointe – targeting community-wide net zero

August 4, 2010 was a milestone day for the Vital Engineering team of Sherwood Park – the day many hours of work paid off when the team’s Station Pointe project in northeast Edmonton was named the first project under the Government of Canada’s EQilibrium ™ Communities initiative and awarded $481,000 in research and development funding. 

Station Pointe Greens is one of six winning projects under the federal initiative. The projects represent three new builds and three to existing buildings. Station Pointe Greens is one of the new builds and the only project selected in western Canada. 

The funding will primarily be used to research building techniques, materials and systems that support the project’s net zero target for energy use while keeping it affordable.

The Vital Engineering team, including Hartwig Architecture, was selected as prime consultants by project development consultant Communitas Group for the mixed-use community, located north of Yellowhead Trail on Fort Road near the Belvedere LRT Station.  

“We’re focusing first on exploring the use of passive energy elements, essentially a non-mechanical approach,” says Dean. “For example, we’re taking advantage of the vast amount of air the development needs. If you have enough warm air rising, you should be able to create the ability to draw air into the building with very limited mechanical means.” 

He envisions a whole system of tubes to draw air in and circulate it through the development. “Buildings use a lot of energy in heating fresh, cold air brought in from the outside. We’ll draw it through tubes that serpentine below ground, then draw it through the solar towers, which will heat the air, and then draw the heated air through the interior spaces.”

The Station Pointe plans call for a 16-storey residential tower and multiple-storey condominium and townhouse buildings with businesses on the ground floors and a courtyard in the middle of the 200-unit development.

In addition to sustainable energy, the development boasts many other sustainable features. 

Recycling water is high on the list. “We want to recycle water. Not just a little – but most, including black water.” Dean says the team is investigating a solar aquatic treatment system that uses a series of plants, bacteria and fish that will treat and neutralize sewage.” He says the water would be pure enough to drink at the end of the filtering process, although provincial regulations won’t yet allow it.  In fact, some of the research dollars will be used to identify the policy and safety issues with teh hope that these can be addressed and the system implemented as a pilot project.

As well, Station Pointe’s location near an LRT station and bus routes encourages the use of public transit. 

“We’re talking a development that targets net zero for the whole community. You have to think big. Even if certain ideas don’t fly, look at what we’re learning,” concludes Dean. 

Construction is scheduled to begin after the research is complete, likely in late 2011. Read more.  

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Students learning sustainability first-hand

LEED targets, standards and certification have proven a learning experience for everyone involved. Nowhere is more apparent than at Edmonton’s Lillian Osborne High School. 

The school, which opened to its first 300 students in 2009, is the first school within the Edmonton Public School District to be designed as a sustainable building. The facility is targeting LEED Silver certification. 

“When we started the design, we weren’t considering LEED certification. About a year and a half into the process, we adapted our targets to comply with the provincial government’s new mandate that all public buildings target LEED certification,” said Terri Gosine, Lillian Osborne project coordinator for the school board. 

With many sustainability features from the landscaping to the windows and water-saving devices, the school is setting a new standard for school design and operation in Alberta. 

Exterior features were the first order of the day. “We oriented the building on the site to get the most daylight possible into the building. We also limited the paved surfaces wherever possible, installing the minimum number required by the City of Edmonton. Lillian Osborne also has more bike racks than a normal school,” said Terri. As well, the school is located directly across from a transit centre, encouraging students and staff to use public transit. 

Inside, things are bright for staff and students. “We included lots of windows – and they can be opened. Almost all classrooms have natural light.” And speaking of lights, all lights operate on occupancy sensors, which turn off the lights if there is no motion in the room for 20 minutes. 

The school also features no flow and low flow toilets and urinals to limit water consumption. Its effective ventilation systems help to ensure thermal comfort. Carpets, paints and adhesives were selected for their low volatile organic compounds (VOC), and the school uses only “green” cleaning products and chemicals. 

“The kids love all the daylight. They have really taken ownership of the school. They really take care of it. They enjoy learning about what we did differently with their school.”

Terri hopes to hear before Christmas whether the project has achieved LEED Silver certification, but she says the work toward sustainability won’t stop there. “The students and staff are continuing the sustainability work we started. The kids are working on getting a recycling program started. Our design helps because we ensured there is room for a recycling bin wherever there is a garbage can.”

At full occupancy, Lillian Osborne will house about 1,000 students.

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Clean-Tech Symposium – exploring this cutting-edge industry sector

If you’re planning to attend the Clean-tech Symposium September 17 & 18, good for you! You’ll learn why clean-tech is one of Alberta’s fastest-growing industries – and hear some great presentations!

On Friday, September 17, the Clean-tech workshops in Lacombe include eight educational workshops designed to address contemporary economic and environmental, social, and political issues of clean-tech.  

The Alberta Chapter’s own Klaas Rodenburg is facilitating a workshop on Green Building and Construction, targeting architects, engineers, real estate professionals, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders and government officials. The workshop will review the basics of green buildings and explore the clean-tech opportunities. The expert panel will discuss the successes and challenges of the current state of high performance buildings through LEED, Challenge 2030, and Living Building Challenge rating systems as they shift into the mainstream of our industry. A delegate discussion will explore the emerging ideas and technologies that will help us achieve our NetZero goals. 

Cliff Soper will offer the luncheon address, “The Art of Possible Politics - How a bird farm attracted Dubai financing,” on the workshop day, exploring the broad appeal of environmental projects for capitalizing on the growing market for environmental sustainability.

The Clean-tech Conference on September 18 focuses on the establishment of  the Alberta Clean-tech Industry Alliance and the guiding resolutions derived from the Calgary and Edmonton Symposia this spring and features speakers/facilitators Tom Rand and Satya Das. 

Tom Rand, author of the best seller Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit - 10 clean technologies to save our world, will offer an insightful and timely presentation on the status of the clean-tech evolution and the relevance of green bonds for financing the adoption of clean-tech.  

Satya Das, author of Green Oil – Clean energy for the 21st century, will lead a feisty panel and engaging audience discussion on diversifying Alberta’s economy and achieving green status through clean-tech. 

Check out the Alberta Council of Technologies website ((link to for more information and registration.   

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Calgary Green Associates’ post-secondary courses

Mount Royal University - Building Green with LEED®: Core Concepts and Strategies

(Sept/ 27 – Nov. 8) Designed by the Canada Green Building Council, Mount Royal University's course helps green associates prepare for the first LEED exam. It doesn’t stop there. Experienced instructors, Alberta Chapter members William Thompson and Adam Stoker go beyond basic concepts to give you a deeper understanding of sustainable building practices.

SAIT - Architecture 125 Building Green with LEED: Core Concepts and Strategies

(Oct. 25 – Dec. 1) Develop a working knowledge of core concepts and strategies to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment in Canada. This course highlights how these core concepts and strategies can be used in various LEED rating systems and provides a comprehensive overview of techniques, approaches, materials and technologies used in creating greener buildings and communities. This course is suitable for anyone interested in developing a basic understanding of LEED; for LEED Green Associates, this course provides an excellent foundation for preparing for the exam.

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Help Wanted

Sustainability intern - Stantec
Position title: Sustainability Inter
Closing date: Sunday, October 3

This is an ECO Canada internship position. Applicants must meet all of the eligibility criteria for an ECO Canada youth internship. Preference will be given to pre-approved candidates.

Stantec’s Sustainable Development practice area is responsible for growing Stantec’s sustainability consulting business as well as coordinating performance improvement projects designed to reduce the environmental and social impacts of the organization. The Sustainability Intern will work with Stantec’s Sustainable Development group to help progress various performance improvement projects.

Visit Stantec careers for more information and to submit your application. 

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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.