The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) saw a very strong start to 2015 in terms of green building certifications in Canada, with 135 registrations and 202 certifications between January 1 and April 30, 2015. This brings the total number of LEED certified projects in Canada to 2,252.
Year-to-date-totals (up to April 30, 2015) by LEED certification level are as follows. Of particular note is that LEED Gold, the second most rigorous level of certification, was the most common in this period.
- 36 LEED Certified
- 67 LEED Silver
- 90 LEED Gold
- 9 LEED Platinum
CaGBC has also announced that following the success of the pilot program, it has launched a permanent Affordable Green Housing Program. To date, the pilot program has provided free registration and certification fees for 24 affordable housing units, with another 44 registered for certification. Among those who have benefitted from it, the Program has supported Habitat for Humanity projects in Winnipeg, St. Catharines, and Quebec City.
In keeping with the theme of the positive health impacts of green building, the first quarter of 2015 also saw two prominent Southern Ontario hospitals achieve LEED Silver certification:
- Bridgepoint Hospital is an internationally-recognized healthcare and research centre that was specifically designed to provide care for patients needing rehabilitation, as well as those living with complex health conditions. This 680,000 sq. ft. facility’s sustainability measures include 29 per cent energy cost savings, and a smart irrigation system that is connected to local weather stations.
- At nearly 1M sq. ft., Niagara Health System’s St. Catharines Site is a comprehensive acute care hospital that also introduced much-needed regional services to Niagara, to provide residents with access to care closer to home. It incorporated a high-performance building exterior to keep the interior temperature cooler in summer, and a 35 per cent reduction in water usage as a part of its sustainability strategy.
Apart from the obvious sustainability benefits, one of the biggest impacts for hospitals and healthcare facilities is that green buildings are also inherently healthier buildings.
“Given their function, hospitals must dispense public services in an environment that is as healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically,” says Chris Gower, executive vice president at PCL Constructors Canada Inc. which designed and managed construction for both projects. “Evidence-based design studies have shown that access to natural daylight and views contribute to patient rehabilitation and recovery, and feelings of well-being, comfort and wellness for building occupants, as well as increased productivity for hospital staff and caregivers.
“By their very nature, hospitals are not efficient buildings since they have more air exchanges and require significantly more water than most other buildings. When designing these facilities, it was therefore essential to balance energy efficiency with patient comfort. This included maximizing the quality of the indoor environment and providing access to daylight.”