Forward thinking architects,
designers and builders know that eco-friendly building is critical to creating
a sustainable future. Many tenants, employees and homeowners are requiring
green building practices and principles be applied their residences and offices,
been proven that green building leads to healthier living
spaces. Sustainable building practices have now become a core business practice
for building owners and portfolio managers who are seeking ways to stay
Statistics show that energy efficient buildings have higher
occupancy rates, higher lease rates, and greater valuation than less efficient
holdings. Energy inefficiency results in recurring cooling, heating and
lighting costs that are unnecessary. Annual energy costs for Canada's
commercial building sector amount to a whopping *$17.6 billion, a figure that includes a lot of waste.
These same activities create an astronomical amount of greenhouse gases, more
than 65 million tonnes per year. It's easy to see that making commercial
buildings more energy efficient can lead to great benefits for both the bottom
line and the tenant.
What Makes a Building Environmentally Friendly?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) is a rating
system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green
building in over 130 countries. This global
standard aims to ensure that new and existing buildings that strive to be as
environmentally friendly as possible are evaluated against the most stringent
criteria. There are several factors that go into making a truly "green”
Some of these include:
- The right site
- Minimal energy use
- Sustainable materials
- Healthy ventilation
- Water conservation
- Energy conservation
- Green amenities
- Good building management
Obviously, when architects and
designers work as an integrated team and are employing green principles on new
construction, all of these factors can be taken into consideration. But many of
the key factors can also be applied to existing buildings in order to improve
Green buildings create a healthier working environment for staff and
tenants, through better air ventilation and more natural daylight. Green
buildings reduce waste, conserve energy, decrease water consumption, and drive
There are so many reasons to build green.
Did you know that since 2005, LEED Canada has led to:
- Energy savings of 2,630,652 eMWh which is enough to power 89,271 homes in Canada for a full year.
- A 512,672 CO2e tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which equates to taking 96,913 cars off the road for a year.
- Water savings totaling over 5.6 billion litres, the equivalent of 2,253 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Recycling over 2.7million tones of construction/demolition waste which represents 841,126 garbage trucks.
- Installing 121,309 sq metres of green roofs, or an area the size of 80 NHL hockey rinks, to reduce the urban heat island effect and mitigate storm water flows in urban areas.
Pretty impressive! But there is
always more to be done. Remember – you can’t manage what you don’t measure, so
if you don’t know how well or how efficiently your buildings are performing,
maybe it is time to contact the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and ask
them how to start.
*Statistics from: Natural Resources Canada.