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LEED & green buildings in the region

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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 11:53 AM

The Capital boasts several LEED buildings and even more are being built. With fewer than 100 across the country, Victoria is definitely one of the leaders on a per-capita basis.

The following article discusses several LEED buildings from across the region and not just the med sci building up at UVic.

Medical Sciences building at UVic in rarified crowd
University spent thousands, worked two years to receive unusual honours

BY CAROLYN HEIMAN Times Colonist staff
UVic’s Medical Sciences Building opened in 2004, but a ceremony last week marked its entrance into a rarified world of buildings, that of being LEED certified.

LEED — which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is a word much bandied around in the development and municipal government community, but in practice it’s not so commonplace.

Catherine Nickerson, a Canada Green Building Council board member, said there are fewer than 100 certified buildings in Canada.

It took UVic two years after building completion to get its gold certification, indicating the rigour around the process.

Project architects estimate it cost $80,000 to complete application forms that took into account a wide range of environmentally friendly features, including reuse of water for toilets and urinals and placing offices on the north side to cut air conditioning needs.

“The LEED process takes people’s time, and people’s time costs money, said Rand Thompson, principal with Chernoff Thompson Architects.

“Every light fixture needs a report on why it is sustainable.”

Russell Chernoff, another principal in the firm, said the process starts at the design stage, and takes into consideration land the building is on. The construction company also has to buy in, because it has to account for where construction waste goes, little of which should be to a landfill.

In the case of the UVic building, 87 per cent of construction waste was diverted from landfill sites.

Nickerson said the LEED certification process should begin with the question “Do we need a new building?” or can we renovate the existing one.

That question came into play with the new Capital Regional District headquarters, where parts of the old police headquarters, including the historic facade, were incorporated into the design as a way of reusing materials.

Charles Kierulf, CRD building architect with de Hoog & Kierulf architects, called the certification process a “very detailed process that involves a lot of form filling.

“We had to demonstrate that we were at a higher density than the average in the neighborhood,” Kierulf said, adding that required calculating the density of buildings in the surrounding neighbourhood. “That’s not something we would normally do.”

A LEED consultant guided the CRD application, yet another indication of the complexity of the process. The application for gold certification was filed a year after the building was occupied to the Canada Green Building Council, the nonprofit agency that awards LEED certification.

LEED credits for buildings are accumulated in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Some items are essential LEED rating.

Scratch even thinking about being LEED certified if you don’t include storage and collection of recycled materials on site, a requirement that falls under the materials and resources category. But additional points in the category can be garnered for using renewable materials and materials that have recycled content. The Medical Sciences Building, for example, has laboratory cabinets that have been recycled.

Illustrating how the world has changed, UVic President David Turpin remarked at the recognition ceremony: “I remember when I was a graduate, getting recycled furniture — this was not a good thing.”

Buildings can achieve a maximum of 70 credits. Seventy to 52 credits would earn a platinum rating, 51 to 39 gold, 38 to 33 silver, and 32 to 26 certified.

Most agree gold certification on the Medical Sciences Building was ambitious, given the diverse uses taking place in the building.

Alongside administrative offices are


get a laboratories, lecture halls and small learning rooms.

To date, most LEED attention has been on commercial and institutional buildings, but this summer the building council will launch a rating system for homes. Full neighbourhood certification may be around the corner. The Dockside Green community is a pilot to look at how that process could develop.

Homes would get LEED points for everything from the kind of site they are built on to the planting around them. Avoiding farmland and choosing infill would garner high points. Invasive plants in the landscape design are a no-no under LEED. Bonus points are awarded for building near public transportation.

Kierulf said interest in attaining LEED certification is filtering through the marketplace faster than many developers thought.

“We’ve argued that if you’re going to spend that money why don’t you put it back into the building. But some people want the gold medal ... My experience is that lately the private sector is going for it.

“Partly it’s bragging rights.” But there is also a sense that environmental stewardship in a commercial building may start to be a factor in how the space is rated for rental rates, he said.

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#2 Mike K.

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 12:04 PM

Parks Canada building in Sidney certified as most environmentally friendly in the country

BY KIMWESTAD Times Colonist staff

Meredith Reeve has had many offices over the years, but never one where ocean water provides the heat, the sun creates much of the energy and low-flush toilets take advantage of the region’s ample rainwater.

From the drought-resistant plants that line the walkway to the natural light flooding the interior, no detail was ignored in the $4.5-million operations centre for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in Sidney.

“We’re walking the talk,” Parks Canada spokeswoman Reeve said of the building that has been given a certification that means it’s the most environmentally friendly building in Canada.

The Harbour Road centre is the only building in Canada to have been given a platinum rating by the Canada Green Building Council. The group operates the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, which rates buildings for their environmental performance. LEED has become the arbiter of what is a “green building” in Canada and the U.S., assessing buildings on a point system. Those points correlate to different levels, up to the highest: platinum. That was given the Parks Canada building last fall.

So far it’s the only one in the country to attain that level, although several more projects are aiming for it. The third-party LEED assessment is done after the building is complete and documentation provided. Points are given in areas such as how sustainable the site is, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

The Parks Canada building was a dream project for Ron Kato. The Vancouver architect with Larry McFarland Architects Ltd. had done LEED-certified buildings before, but found the mix of the waterfront site and the commitment of Parks Canada to a building that reflected environmental values tremendous.

“We’ve got a project that exceeded everyone’s standards,” Kato said.

All new federal government buildings are to be built to at least a gold LEED standard. The 1,050-square-metre Sidney building excelled in all the point categories, Kato said, leading to the platinum rating.

The building seems to have a mind of its own. It regulates temperature depending on how many people are inside. The lights are equipped with photosensors that adjust lighting levels, and occupancy sensors to turn off lights when the rooms are empty. If there’s too much carbon dioxide in a room, fresh air is pumped in through the ventilation system.

All heating and hot-water needs are supplied by an ocean-based geo-exchange system. Seawater is pumped directly into the building. It’s heated or cooled depending on the season, and then distributed through the building via plastic pipes embedded in the concrete floors.

Twenty per cent of the energy comes from photovoltaic panels on the roof, converting sunlight into electricity.

Kato used the natural elements to best advantage. A lot or rainfall? No problem. It’s stored in a 30,000-litre underground storage tank and used for flush toilets. That means the amount of municipally treated potable water used to convey sanitary waste has been cut by 98 per cent. There’s no connection to the municipal storm-water system and it’s expected that over 108,000 litres of rainwater will be used each year.

The building will consume about onequarter of the energy of a comparable building designed with conventional heating and mechanical systems. That will result in its greenhouse gas emissions being reduced by about 32 tonnes annually.

Tucked away on a waterfront lot at the working Tsehum Harbour, the modernlooking building with clean lines tried to meld in with those around it.

The green ideology filters right down to seemingly small things that affect employees. Each of the 32 workers is near a window that actually opens to provide fresh air and ventilation, and there’s less reliance on artificial light. Even the cleaning products are environmentally friendly.

Green buildings do cost more to construct, Kato said, but recoup much of the expense in lower operating costs. Of the $4.5-million price tag, less than three per cent of the project cost was for specialized systems.

The project didn’t even need any emerging or prototypical technologies, Kato said. Rather, it largely used off-theshelf products, proven technology and local design and construction resources.

And while the energy savings are the main focus, Kato said there is also value in the esthetic. “Crummy things get demolished and replaced, but beautiful buildings remain.”

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#3 rayne_k

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 07:23 PM


Looks like there is also some movement on the Downtown Pages as well.

dig with patience..

#4 Mike K.

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:12 AM

Green ideas take root at new CRD building

BY BILL CLEVERLEY Times Colonist staff

The new Capital Regional District headquarters could soon be a growing concern.

The CRD is applying for $150,000 in funding to build a demonstration green roof and living wall project at 625 Fisgard St.

A green roof, also known as an ecoroof, as described by CRD staff, is an extension of an existing roof that is covered with vegetation. A living wall is essentially a vertical garden. Plants take root in compartments between two sheets of material anchored to a wall.

No two green roofs are the same but they all include a synthetic, high quality waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, a soil layer and light-weight, medium plants.

It’s a technology that’s taking root locally.

Grass was seeded last spring on the roof of the new engineering/computer sciences building at the University of Victoria. While some spots will have to be reseeded this year, the roof performed well through this winter’s rains, said Jerry Robson, university executive director of facilities management.

One of the primary objectives of the roof is to reduce runoff to minimize problems for creeks, he said.

“The green roof is actually like a big sponge. It will absorb a lot of water and then it releases it rather slowly.”

Robson said three more green roofs on the campus are planned within the next year. “We wanted to gain some experience early on to see if we needed to rethink the whole concept,” he said.

CRD directors have agreed to apply for funding through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund for their project.

While final siting of the wall hasn’t been determined, the current thinking is to locate it on the wrap-around corner near the entrance to the main reception area and Centennial Square — between the CRD building and McPherson Playhouse.

Native plants are to be used but the exact species are yet to be determined.

“What I hope we will end up with is that during different times and seasons the vegetative wall will have different flowers and stuff out . . . so it will really brighten up that area,” said Jody Watson, the CRD harbours and watersheds co-ordinator.

There are several sections of roof that could see plantings.

The hope is to cover the entire Phase One building roof with an extensive green roof and smaller sections of Phase Two totalling about 50 per cent of the roof area.

It will stand out to those arriving and leaving via sea plane.

“It will basically be this green piece in a carpet of grey,” Watson said.

Living walls and roofs are said to provide payback over the life of a building including:

• Longer material life span — green roofs can be expected to last two to three times longer than conventional roofs;

• Provide savings on heating and cooling due to a lower peak energy demand; • Potential for reduced storm water; • Potential for greenhouse gas trading emissions. Environmental benefits include: • CO2/oxygen exchange: 1.5 square metres of uncut grass provides enough oxygen for one person for a year;

• Cleaner air: one square metre of a grass roof can remove 0.2 kilograms of airborne particulates from the air;

• Reduction of the ambient air temperature (green roofs do not absorb as much heat as conventional roofs.);

• Cleaner storm water as the roof will absorb 95 per cent of the cadmium, copper and lead;

• Less storm water and a slower water flow;

• Improved waterproofing capacity.

Europe a leader in green technology

Bill Cleverley/Times Colonist staff

The seeds of living walls and green roofs are just being planted in Victoria but have already taken root in other parts of the world.

“They’re extremely popular in Europe and most cities in Europe have many, many green roofs,” said Jody Watson, Capital Regional District harbours and watersheds co-ordinator. He added that the technology has been used there for decades.

“The work done in Canada has been in the eastern provinces, specifically in Ontario and Quebec and they’ve done a fair bit of research on green roofs.”

BCIT in Burnaby established a centre for the advancement of green roof technology about three years ago, Watson said.

Victoria Hospice has an intensive green roof (thick enough soil to grow trees and vegetables). The University of Victoria has installed an extensive green roof planted with native grasses on its recently completed Engineering and Computer Sciences building.

The University of Waterloo, an institution on the cutting edge of green technology that boasts the lowest energy use per square foot of university building space in that province, has a couple of living wall/green roof projects growing.

The university’s new Accelerator Centre, the cornerstone of its research and technology park, is home to one of the largest green roofs of its class in Canada.

The green roof supports masses of a low-growing, water-storing species that are framed by a perimeter planting of ornamental and native grasses. The roof, which cools and filters the air and reduces runoff, provides a cover from UV radiation and is expected to extend the lifespan of the underlying roof structure by a factor of three, says the university’s website.

The university’s Environmental Studies 1 building is home to three living walls — one in the interior foyer and two in the adjoining courtyard.

The plants work as biofilters — improving indoor air quality naturally by filtering out contaminants, says the website.

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#5 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:32 PM

I don't understand why this article's author refrains from pointing out that Chicago is the North American leader in green roof implementation. Is it another case of Canadian touchiness regarding American leadership? Yes, Germany pioneered it in the 1960s, and now there's a lot of this stuff in Europe, but if you want to see how a North American city is implementing the trend close to home, why not cast your eye to Chicago?

Chicago is home to over 200 green roofs, covering 2.5 million square feet, more than any other U.S. city. They sit atop Mayor Daley’s City Hall, Target, the Apple store, and a McDonalds. But they’re not just for large institutions anymore. Thanks to the City of Chicago’s Green Roof Grant Program, they’re literally sprouting up everywhere.

Last year, the city program awarded $5000 grants to twenty particularly promising residential and small commercial projects, including True Nature Foods, an old automotive shop turned health food store and neighborhood destination for all things eco-friendly. A food co-op, recycling center, and so much more, the corner store supports local farms, contributes to charities, and aims to “put the control of food sources in the hands of the people.”

The project, designed and proposed by a collaboration between local firms Urban Habitat Chicago and Echo Studio, includes not just a green roof, but vegetated thermal mass benches to moderate temperature, solar curtains for regulating sunlight, custom-made solar heaters for collection of radiant energy, and exterior raised planters. [url=http://www.inhabitat.com/2006/08/01/chicago-green-roof-program/:a3a14]source[/url:a3a14]

(Lots of pictures on the above site, too.)

More articles (and refs to Chicago) on [url=http://www.greenroofs.com/:a3a14]Green Roofs[/url:a3a14].

Here's a Feb.17, 2007 Toronto Star article on Toronto's moves toward general greeniness, including green roofs, with reference to its sister city's progress (T.O.'s sister city being Chicago): [url=http://www.thestar.com/News/article/182867:a3a14]Toronto's Green Blueprint[/url:a3a14].
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#6 Holden West

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 08:53 AM

LEED and they shall follow

Re: “Building A Green Reality,” Monday Magazine March 22-28

A few of our marketing staff at Aviawest—developers of Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa—were just enjoying the article on sustainable development. We were really pleased to see information on green buildings and LEED certification getting out into our community, but we noticed Parkside wasn’t mentioned as a local LEED project.

As sustainable development is a top priority for Aviawest, we’ve kept Parkside on target for Platinum certification and are currently pursuing Gold for our expansion of new homes at our Parksville destination, Pacific Shores Resort & Spa. We look forward to seeing more LEED projects and increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable development.

"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#7 Holden West

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 05:40 PM

Green Unseen
Environmentally friendly buildings don't need to look like cheese wedges.

By Witold Rybczynski

Slideshow: http://www.slate.com/id/2170511/
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#8 Jackerbie

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 08:55 AM

Thought I'd put this here, not sure if there's a better thread for it.


A webinar opportunity came up at work about BC Step Code for apartments. Case study: Peatt Commons West out in Langford! Seems that they achieved Step 4 of the Step Code.


Here's the write-up: https://zebx.org/pea...-commons-west/ 


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