The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has announced that the country now surpasses 100 LEED v4 registrations, representing over 681,000 m2 of building floor area. As the world’s most established green building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is now used in over 160 countries, with this latest version of the rating system providing the most rigorous energy and environmental thresholds to date.
In addition to the significant energy and carbon reductions LEED buildings represent, the LEED metric touts a holistic approach to green building, taking into account many aspects of sustainability in buildings and communities. These include water efficiency targets, mandatory thresholds that promote wellbeing in interior spaces, and an expanded focus on materials and waste – particularly the lifecycle performance of green products and materials. In addition, LEED prioritizes access to alternative modes of transportation and protection of the natural habitat, along with increasing the resilience of buildings to withstand more frequent extreme weather events.
Projects like Technopôle Angus, which is registered and targeting LEED v4 Platinum certification, are demonstrating this applicability. As a Neighbourhood Development project located in the heart of Montreal, developer Société de développement Angus deployed LEED v4 to simplify and streamline the design process in order to turn what was once a contaminated industrial park into a walkable, car-free, and diverse neighborhood. The project plan proposes a densely built environment with an affordable residential component and an attractive public space designed to deliver an ecologically autonomous, greened and integrated infrastructure. Green corridors were integrated into the project plan to alleviate rainwater management, but will also mitigate the displacement of biodiversity on the site and act as a catalyst for change in the city.
“Canada is currently undergoing a massive shift as we move toward a low-carbon economy with governments and industry alike recognizing that the time to act is now, and, as the most widely used rating system, LEED is taking on a prominent role in scaling up that transition,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “While it’s absolutely critical to address carbon as a key building performance metric, LEED v4 also provides a holistic approach to design, operations and maintenance. For example, green buildings need to balance increasing energy efficiency standards with a healthy building design that provides fresh air, access to daylight and views along with non-toxic and comfortable environments for building occupants.”
The cumulative impact of LEED certifications in Canada since 2005 further demonstrates the rating system’s unique ability to touch on multiple facets of building sustainability, including:
· Enough energy saved (over 9,320,000 eMWh) to power 315,000 homes in Canada for a full year.
· Reduction of over 1,800,000 tonnes C02e in greenhouse gas emissions, which equates to taking 380,000 cars off the road for a year.
· Over 2 million tonnes of construction waste diverted from landfill, representing 655,000 garbage truck loads.
· Water savings totalling 17.9 billion litres, the equivalent of 7,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
· Over 280,000 sq. metres of green roofs, or an area the size of 185 NHL hockey rinks, which is reducing the urban heat island effect and mitigating storm water flows in urban areas.
To date, governments are leading the pack with 28 LEED v4 registrations (10 provincial and 18 municipal), showing an increasing acknowledgement of the effectiveness of LEED and its ability to not only reduce GHG emissions and operational expenditures, but to provide occupants with happier, healthier indoor environments. Other top owner groups for LEED v4 registration include commercial owners (24 registrations) and residential owners (21 registrations). There are also a diverse mix of building types represented, with office buildings, residential projects, and schools leading the way. This growing diversity of building types demonstrates LEED’s reach and applicability in the changing low-carbon landscape.
Among the regions taking a leadership position with LEED v4, Ontario has 29 registrations (totaling 274,395 m2 worth of registered space), and Alberta has 19 (with 189,459 m2 registered space). Other regions represented include: British Columbia with 15 projects (140,192 m2), Quebec with 29 projects (37,371 m2), Manitoba with nine (34,178 m2), and New Brunswick with one project (5,888 m2).
These LEED v4 registrations join a cumulative total — as of June 30, 2017 — of 7,088 LEED certified and registered projects in Canada.