BLC highlights from Market Engagement

CAGBC Awards
Green Building

On June 1-2, 2023, CAGBC welcomed Canada’s green building leaders in Vancouver for Building Lasting Change (BLC), our annual conference. There, attendees were able to participate in sold-out building tours, contribute to market development discussions, and hear from panels and plenary presentations by over 40 green building experts and business leaders. 

Building tours  

Set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, attendees strolled the city to visit two of Vancouver’s pre-eminent Zero Carbon Building-certified projects:

  • The Stack is Canada’s first commercial high-rise office tower to be awarded CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard. At the time of ZCB-Design certification, The Stack was among the largest certified Zero Carbon-Design projects in the country. The Stack employs low carbon building systems, enhanced air tightness, as well as a rooftop photovoltaic array. 
  • The Bentall Centre, one of Canada’s leading Zero Carbon Building – Performance certified commercial high-rises. Winner of CAGBC’s 2022 Existing Building award, the Bentall Centre is powered 100% by renewable electricity and carbon neutral across operations.

Stakeholder engagement  

Green and low-carbon building influencers were invited to participate in stakeholder-engagement sessions with CAGBC to discuss programs and government policy initiatives. After informative presentations, the sessions featured cross-sector roundtable discussions where we identified market needs and ambitions for meeting 2030 carbon reduction targets. 

Celebrating green building leaders  

The Gala Welcome Reception and dinner was the perfect chance to reconnect with peers from across the country and celebrate the presentation of our 2023 CAGBC Awards winners.  

The Collège Sainte-Anne was presented with the Zero Carbon Design award, and this year’s award for Government Leadership went to André Cazelais (MGP, arch. Head of the Ecological Transition and Innovation Department, City of Montréal). You can read more about the zero-carbon innovations in the Collège Sainte-Anne project and André Cazelais’s remarkable achievements here.  

During the Gala, CAGBC also presented its 2023 Lifetime Achievement honour recognizing an extraordinary career in green building. This year, Michael Brooks, CEO of REALPAC, was celebrated for his over 25-year career advancing green building in Canada and around the world. You can click here to learn more about Michael’s remarkable achievements, and discover the other recipients of the 2023 CAGBC Awards.  

Stay tuned for upcoming Ask-the-expert articles with our Green Building Leadership winners and Case Study webinars from our Green Building Excellence winners. 

BLC attendees felt regenerated about our shared mission after the Gala keynote presentation by Craig Losos, Executive Director of the Nature + Climate Projects Accelerator, Nature Conservancy of Canada.  

Learning session highlights 

In addition to technical sessions that BLC is known for, this year’s program introduced expert panels that shared strategies for financing and de-risking investment in commercial real estate. 

The panel about “Upcycling existing large buildings to get to zero” reflected on the challenge of addressing existing buildings to meet Canada’s carbon reduction goals. When existing buildings near the end of their usable lifespan, owners have two options: tear down or revitalize and adapt the existing structure. Using a case study and panel format, this session showcased Canadian and international project examples and best practices that illustrated how to leverage this once-in-a-generation opportunity to breathe life into existing buildings, reinvigorate their use, and meet decarbonization targets. 

Another inspiring session – “Closing the sustainability / valuation gap for capital market investors” – explored the Canadian real estate sector’s changing capital market conditions and the impact on market participants’ view of decarbonization initiatives.  

This panel examined how to unlock retrofit capital investments and ensure that sustainability strategies and objectives are included in building appraisal, valuation, and financing processes. The discussion considered available tools and standards for targeting and prioritizing investments and addressed what still needs to be done to ensure sustainability considerations are integrated into future capital market assessments. 

Looking ahead 

Canada’s green building leaders walked away from BLC 2023 feeling invigorated, informed, and inspired to implement real-world decarbonization strategies. We look forward to continuing these discussions and seeing you all in Toronto for BLC 2024

For conference attendees, stay tuned as access to all session recordings will be available later this summer.  

If you are collecting GBCI (Green Business Certification Inc) continuing education hours from this year’s conference, you will need to self-report hours on your credentials account at USGBC (US Green Building Council). Please refer to the email sent to you on June 14, 2023, from BLC 2023 for more details.

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