Ask the Expert: BLC Special Edition

Member Profiles

Over the years Building Lasting Change (BLC) has turned into a not-to-be-missed event for building and design professionals looking to lead the efforts in designing, building and operating buildings that are mindful of the environment and less resource intensive. As we get ready to welcome delegates to Canada’s premier green building conference, here’s a preview of what to look out for from some of our key speakers’ perspective.

Peter Busby
Principal, Perkins & Will

You’re speaking at BLC. What point(s) are you looking to drive home?

An important point we need to focus on is fulfilling the potential of zero carbon buildings, and this starts with architects, planners, and engineers realizing the potential of zero carbon communities. We have proven that zero carbon buildings are achievable, and so are carbon-free operations. Now we need to take it a step further and aim for zero carbon communities.

This is a realistic goal with zero carbon energy systems and materials with low embodied carbon. We have learned valuable lessons over the past 20 years from projects such as Dockside Green in British Columbia to more recent ones like Zibi in the national capital region. The question now is how can we find ways to adopt zero carbon at scale. If we can transition whole communities to zero carbon, we can make zero carbon the new normal. We have the solutions. Now we need to scale them.

What are you most looking forward to?

Building Lasting Change is always a great occasion to connect with like-minded professionals who share a commitment to design excellence. I am looking forward to engaging with the next generation of green building leaders and taking part in conversations that will shape Canada’s buildings in the future. There are a lot of young enthusiastic architects, planners and engineers who are achieving great things, and I am interested in hearing what they have to say, and at the same time sharing my perspective on green building practice and commitment to sustainable design.

Guy Grainger
Head of Sustainability Services & ESG, JLL

You’re speaking at BLC. What point(s) are you looking to drive home?

The property industry has always used historic evidence to drive decision-making and valuation. This rear-view mirror approach using lagging data will not address the industry’s response to climate change. We need to acknowledge that buildings and the property industry are a big part of the problem – we account for nearly 40 percent of harmful emissions in the world.

The only way to address this is to use “leading indicators” not lagging indicators. What tenants used to pay for buildings powered by fossil fuels is not a healthy indicator of what they will pay in the future.

We need to explore the trends which are leading to a huge gap between current supply of low carbon buildings and future demand. This provides a value creation opportunity which is rare.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am really interested to hear from peers who are actioning decarbonization plans. There are plenty of proof points out there demonstrating the clear economic case to decarbonize – the key is how we accelerate and do things at scale.

Josée Lupien
President, Vertima inc.

You’re speaking at BLC. What point(s) are you looking to drive home?

Above all, my goal at Building Lasting Change is to highlight the importance of the tools and solutions we must move forward towards a carbon-neutral future, how we can take advantage of the support offered by CAGBC to achieve our own goals, but also Canada’s climate objectives. Over the years, I have realized that my clients have the motivation to initiate their decarbonization journey but do not necessarily know where to start.
The objective of the opening plenary session I am participating in will be to inspire participants to get training and to learn how to stay informed in and be well equipped.

Each company or professional has a journey of their own, a reality that is specific to them, with their own needs and this is where it all begins. As industry leaders, we must understand our needs and those of our customers to chart an accessible path that inspires trust. Finally, I would like to help soften the image that certain professionals and clients may have of sustainable buildings to converge the environmental and human aspects of tomorrow’s buildings. Democratizing and making green buildings accessible is a collective effort and I am proud to be part of it.

What are you most looking forward to?

For me, Building Lasting Change is an opportunity to reconnect with my colleagues from all backgrounds, and put our collective brain to good use. This always gives us a burst of energy to pursue our mission. Participants find motivation, learn from their peers and return to their daily activity with a head full of ideas. This year I am primarily looking to participate in discussions around lessons learned, benchmarking and data collection.

Buildings’ lifecycle and embodied carbon are of great concern to me. Being one of our fields of expertise at Vertima, I hope that through conversations we will have the means to evolve towards better practices and skills development.

Another aspect of the conference that I find very enriching is getting access to experiences and perspectives from all Canadian provinces. I will be on the lookout for what is happening in other provinces, particularly in terms of regulations, to see how things are evolving across the country, and how to think of new ways to harmonize practice and finally have a common language across the country that will improve collaboration. I look forward to participating in many engaging discussions that will help us think and design the buildings of tomorrow.

Michael Brooks

You’re speaking at BLC. What point(s) are you looking to drive home?

I’m looking to drive home commercial reality and the need to work with businesses at all levels to overcome hurdles. The leaders get it and will lead. But the buildings market is huge, and we will need carrots, sticks and tambourines to get everyone on board and make lasting change. I’m looking for holistic solutions. The grid needs work everywhere. I fear the lack of redundancy in an electrified world. What’s our vision? How do we “unplug”? I’m looking for low tech, realistic solutions that scale. And inspiration.

What are you most looking forward to?

Networking is a major component of Building Lasting Change as it offers opportunities to connect with professionals who share the same passion. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and learning from them all.

Kathy Wardle
Principal & Regional Director of Regenerative Design, Perkins & Will

You’re speaking at BLC. What point(s) are you looking to drive home?

I am honoured to join Thomas Mueller, Kit Milnes, Josee Lupien, and Colin Guldimann in a discussion about the CAGBC and where it is heading in the future. With growing momentum across the country to advance the building industry’s decarbonization and material circularity efforts, it will be important to understand how the CAGBC can continue to support and collaborate with practitioners and other industry leaders to innovate in these areas.

What are you most looking forward to?

Each year I look forward to connecting with peers and industry leaders from across the country at Building Lasting Change to share lesson learned from our projects and gain insights on new emerging and innovative solutions that will enable us to deepen the performance of our work.

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