The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) comes bearing positive news, reporting that 1,000 projects have now been LEED certified in Canada. The certifications total 145 Certified, 316 Silver, 447 Gold and 92 Platinum projects across Canada, in six different ratings systems. The certified buildings range from single family homes to condo and office towers; from schools and arenas to retail outlets and industrial complexes.
Canada has the second largest number of certified buildings in the world, after the United States. Since certifying its first project in 2005, the CaGBC has been collecting data to evaluate the impact that LEED Canada has made on Canadian energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste diversion. In a “Fun With Numbers” exercise, the results show :
- Energy savings of 1,600,321 eMWh which is enough to power 54,307 homes in Canada for a full year.
- A 312,006 C02e tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which equates to taking 58,980 cars off the roads for a year.
- Water savings totalling over 3.3 billion litres, the equivalent of 1,336 Olympic sized swimming pools.
- Recycling over two million tonnes of construction/demolition waste which represents 639,642 garbage truck loads.
- Installing 100,239 sq metres of green roofs, or an area the size of 66 NHL hockey rinks, to reduce the urban heat island effect and mitigate storm water flows in urban areas.
“I am very proud of how far we’ve come; it is a testament to the growth of the Canadian green building industry which has embraced LEED over the past decade,” says Thomas Mueller, who has been the president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council since 2005. “Canada is now considered one of the global leaders in green building with some of the most innovative and advanced buildings in the world. But we cannot become complacent in the wake of the progress we have made. We need to strive to design buildings that are not only sustainable but regenerative, and make more inroads in the retrofit and operations of existing buildings to counteract the steady decline of ecosystem health worldwide.”
LEED has changed the landscape of the downtown cores of many large Canadian cities. Large commercial real estate land owners such as Oxford Properties Group and First Capital Realty have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to sustainability. Oxford Canada currently has 29 buildings registered or LEED certified, representing 18.8 million square feet. “Oxford recognizes our responsibility to develop and operate efficient, green buildings and LEED provides us with a globally recognized leadership approach for doing so,” says Andrew McAllan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Real Estate Management, Oxford Properties Group.
“Over the past decade, LEED has played a pivotal role incorporating sustainability into business operations. First Capital Realty is proud to have been one of the early leaders to mandate LEED beginning in May 2006,” says Rosemary Martin, Chief Sustainability Officer, First Capital Realty Inc. “The company currently has 32 projects at 23 properties comprising over 700,000 square feet of gross leasable area (GLA) certified to LEED standards.”
Canadian cities have been some of the most influential drivers of the adaption of LEED Canada as they recognize the need for green building policies and higher sustainability standards. For example, the Cities of Vancouver, Calgary and Montréal have LEED Gold targets for their new building stock. In total there are 29 cities or municipalities that currently have a LEED certification policy.
The City of Vancouver is known for its advanced green policies, and was one of the earliest and most fervent adopters of LEED. And while the city has a solid LEED Gold policy in place, it also now certifies many of its buildings to LEED Platinum.
“The City of Vancouver uses LEED not only in our own projects, but also in our public policy and it’s a key part of our effort to become the greenest city in the world by 2020,” says Sadhu Johnston, Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver.
The City of Calgary has also been a leader in building green since it first adopted LEED Canada as part of its Sustainable Building Policy in 2004, most recently increasing its new building targets to LEED Gold in 2008. The City now has a total of 17 LEED certified buildings either owned or funded.
“We are committed to LEED certification for all new buildings, and all types of buildings. This demonstrates the City’s pledge to creating the great city that the citizens of Calgary have envisioned and directly benefit from in their daily lives,” says Bruce Cullen, Director of Infrastructure & Information Services for the City of Calgary.