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BuildinG Green & SuStainable StrategieS


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36 21 26 28 30 32

COVER STORY Stouffville Medical Centre – A splash of green Geothermal to fuel sustainability BREEAM sets sights on Canada Measuring for the life cycle Hempcrete insulates

6 8 19 40

2012 FORECAST Greening the building code Energy: What lies ahead? Is Net Zero realistic? Andrew Pride on conservation

10 16 34 36

FEATURES Construction goes modular Build to live When rubber hits the roof To heat or not to heat?

12 14 38 42

STRATEGY Eagle eye on performance Climate-proof your building envelope Five steps to sustainability Pay attention to solar thermal

january 2012




Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

From the Publisher’s Desk

GreenBuildinG GreenBuildinG GreenBuildinG & SuStainable StrategieS

Volume 1, Number 1 • Premiere Issue, January 2012 & SuStainable StrategieS

2109-256 Doris Ave. Toronto, ON M2N 6X8 & SuStainable StrategieS PUBLISHER: Giulio Marinescu 416-250-0664

MANAGING EDITOR: Saul Chernos 416-364-0725

Welcome to the premiere issue of Green Building & Sustainable Strategies!


s we look forward to 2012 and a time of global economic uncertainty, one thing is certain – sustainability is here to stay. Green building encourages the reduction of harmful impacts on occupants and on the world at large. Environmentally-minded design and construction practices address site planning, safeguard the quality and availability of resources such as energy, water and building materials, and achieve high standards in terms of indoor environmental quality and even aesthetics. Commercial and residential buildings are widely understood as accounting for 30 per cent of our total energy use in Canada, and 35 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, recognition is growing that design and building professionals have an opportunity and a responsibility to address climate change and other environmental threats, and to make the world a better place. However, green on its own does not necessitate truly sustainable practices. Sustainability has equally vital economic and social components and is about building a project that respects the environment but is also affordable and accountable

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

throughout its entire lifecycle, to everyone it affects, from builders to occupants. Sustainability values everyone involved in or affected by a project, and ensures that future generations will have the same or greater access to social resources as the current generation. Canada is recognized as a world leader in green building. Still, we have plenty to learn from best practices, both here and abroad. To that end, Green Building & Sustainable Strategies will cover the many projects and innovations emerging from Canada and around the world. We will report on noteworthy practices and developments and feature the people, companies and technologies that are making a difference. Ultimately, we’re here for you. You’re working in the green building industry in areas as diverse as architecture, engineering, design, planning and construction. Please keep in touch with us. Send us your letters and story ideas. We want your feedback!

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Tony Lomuto Graphic Designs Unlimited Contributors: Bobby Burnell Brian Burton Greg Hildebrand Andrew Horsman Robin Hutcheson AndrÊe Iffrig Bruce Karn Stephen Koch Richard Lay Petr Vegh Steve Wenc Cover Design: Mimi Shao Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement number 42332013 Undeliverable mail return to: 2109-256 Doris Ave. Toronto, ON M2N 6X8 Printed in Canada by: CoFax Printing Š 2012 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies. No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any means, in any form, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of this publication. Green Building & Sustainable Strategies does not specifically endorse the editorial, products or services presented in this magazine.

Subscription Rates Canada: 1 year $24, 2 years $40, single copy $6 United States: 1 year: $32 International: $36 Plus applicable taxes

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january 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

From the Editor 1-800-GET-PINKÂŽ or visit

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“Irreversible Climate Change in Five Years.�



his recent headline from the morning paper jumped off the page. The writer, a respected journalist, explained that we’re likely to build so many fossil-fuel power stations and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to prevent catastrophic, irreversible climate change. The storyline seems entirely plausible. At a New Year’s party, someone rang in 2012 by remarking that we’re so far down the road to oblivion that there may be no choice but to risk life as we know it and pump sulfur dioxide particles into the stratosphere to reflect a portion of the sun’s rays back into space in order to cool the planet. It’s a frightening prospect and makes me want to pack bare-bones necessities and head for the hills. On the other hand, as much as I love the countryside, with its cedar-tinged air, and red squirrels that prance about as noisily as the dirt diggers at the LEED Gold construction site in my downtown neighbourhood, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Besides, it’s hardly human nature to give up so easily. Certainly, political will is in short supply where it’s needed most. And, let’s be honest, global climate change talks, from Kyoto, Japan to Durban, South Africa, have proven unsatisfactory. However, while legislatures and parliaments dither, we as sustainable building professionals are uniquely positioned to 

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

lead the way. It is architects, engineers and builders, not politicians, who have mastered biomimicry, Passivhaus, and Net Zero. We register and certify our projects because sustainability makes profound environmental, economic and social sense, not because governments have mandated is to do it. Bolstered by an increasingly obvious business argument, and recognizing that the environment is, effectively, core capital, we’re inspiring, designing, building and operating alternative methods of power generation, turning to a dizzying array of natural, renewable sources, and then working overtime to maximize efficiency. And so here we find ourselves launching Green Building & Sustainable Strategies. We go to press this very first time looking at some of the trends and challenges that lie ahead. These include increased re-use of waste materials such as rubber from scrap tires, new

ways to achieve energy efficiency, and gains made towards greening our building codes. Our cover feature looks in depth at plans for a sustainable medical centre in Stouffville, a fast-growing community north of Toronto. Frank Deluca, the developer, tells us he was inspired in part by healthcare facilities that appeared unhealthy. We look forward to watching this project unfold, along with many others, in the years to come. In the meantime, we would like to hear from you. Please send us your letters, feedback and story ideas. Whether you know of a successful green project, are concerned about a roadblock hampering sustainable building, or simply wish to bend our ear, please keep in touch. Saul Chernos Managing Editor

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january 2012

january 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


June 11-13, 2012 | Toronto, ON

2012 Brings Greener Building Code to Ontario

Beyond Buildings: The Green City

By Bruce Karn


ne of the significant changes affecting Ontario’s construction industry in 2012 is the coming into force of new energy efficiency requirements in the provincial building code. As of January 1, whenever a building permit is applied for, the proposed construction must conform to these new energy efficiency requirements. These new requirements may present a legal risk to the construction industry. The Ontario Building Code acts as a minimum threshold for builders. By requiring greater energy efficiency from new construction projects, the building code has raised the standard of care expected of all parties responsible for the energy efficiency of new buildings. In the best case, failing to meet the new energy efficiency requirements will only result in the denial of a building permit. However, it is also possible that the denial of a building permit, and the redesign required to bring the project up to Code, will lead to project delays which could become the subject of litigation later on. Even after the building has been constructed, deficiencies could lead to negligence claims and other litigation. For projects which applied for a building permit after January 1, defendants in such litigation will be held to a minimum standard of care defined by the new requirements in the building code. These new energy efficiency provisions may require a greater level of expertise than builders currently realize. The construction industry in Ontario must therefore educate itself as to what 

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

the building code now requires. Housing and small buildings, which are intended to be occupied on a continuing basis during the winter, must achieve an EnerGuide rating of at least 80 or conform to a supplementary standard (“SB-12”) referenced in the building code. SB-12 was recently revised and as of January 1 recognizes Energy Star technical requirements as being building code compliant. The energy efficiency of larger buildings covered by these new requirements must exceed by 25 per cent or more the energy efficiency levels required by the 1997 Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB), although the building code specifies multiple compliance paths to achieve this level of energy efficiency. People familiar with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system may recognize some of the new energy efficiency requirements, particularly for larger buildings. As described in the outline for the LEED New Construction rating system, all new construction projects must meet certain prerequisites in order to be certified. Three options exist to achieve LEED’s minimum energy performance prerequisite. Option

1, Whole Building Energy Simulation, can be satisfied through the use of the 1997 MNECB. This similarity in requirements may present an opportunity for green builders with experience in energy efficient design and construction to expand their client base. Owners who previously considered green building too expensive may be persuaded to seek certification under systems like LEED now that the building code mandates greater levels of energy efficiency. Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing notes that future energy efficiency requirements for houses and large buildings are being developed as part of the next edition of the Ontario Building Code. At the time of writing, the Ministry expected the next edition of the building code to be released later this spring. If this happens on time, the Ministry expects that the next edition of the building code will come into effect on July 1, 2013.


Registration opens February 2012! Agenda and more information available at



Bruce Karn is an associate at the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in the Construction, Engineering, Surety, and Fidelity Group. His practice focuses on construction and surety law. He can be contacted by e-mail at GB january 2012


Cement Association of Canada january 2012

Association Canadienne du Ciment Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

2012 forEcast

By Stephen Koch

This is the context for my 2012 Canadian energy conservation predictions – with an insulation context

12 Energy Related Predictions for 2012 in Canada


. Rising energy costs will make the payback period for installing insulation even quicker. Despite a slower new home construction market and a slowing of insulation for these applications, it will be a record year for insulation used for home and industrial retrofits to deal not only with new homes but to upgrade the vast amount of under insulated existing homes. . More Canadian communities will adopt ‘solar-ready’ new home construction regulations like Campbell River, B.C. This will make the future installation of solar hot water appliances, for instance, easier and less expensive.


. More real estate agents will increasingly educate themselves on energy efficiency. Take the Calgary Real Estate Board, which has an online directory on its Go Green website listing agents who have passed a series of courses to help inform consumers of choices and rebates offered by governments.


. Banks and financial institutions will become more aware of the reduced operating costs associated with energy efficient homes and buildings. This will make loans for the upfront costs of retrofits and new green homes easier to obtain. Expect green mortgages to proliferate.


9 10

. As companies faced with flat sales results will be forced to focus more on cost controls, reviews of energy efficiency practices will become increasingly frequent. Expect more utilities and provincial governments to expand incentive programs for commercial and industrial sectors, especially where they can be demonstrated to reduce peak period electricity load.

Clearly, this is a gross simplification, but it’s estimated that almost a third of Canada’s current energy consumption is used for heating and cooling buildings and homes. This number could be cut in half with proper conservation initiatives. 

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

january 2012




Does Canada need more energy or more insulation?

. White or reflective roofs and green roofs, which have seen widespread use in warmer climates to reduce cooling costs, will be increasingly embraced across the country to combat summer cooling bills. . Adoption of technologies such as programmable thermostats to remotely control energy consumption when demand is highest, while at the same time allowing customers to individually manage their electricity costs in real-time. Adoption speed will depend on smart-meter deployment and will be controlled by phone-based applications.

. A record year for homes to meet higher energy efficiency standards in Canada than ever before. This is in large part due to the new Ontario Building Code, which came into effect this past January 1. But we also see more and more home builders across Canada adopting ever higher standards of green building. One of the easiest ways to meet this standard is through the intelligent application of various cost-effective insulation products.

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. A rise in small businesses doing customized installations of weatherization, insulation and caulking.

. Discussions about energy independence and energy security at the local, provincial and national level will become increasingly prevalent.


. We expect the national building code to include energy efficiency measures for homes. This will make it much easier for provinces to adopt building codes that help reduce operating costs for home owners.


. An increased profile for energy conservation in the public policy debate. Debate will shift from thrift to how conservation can offset demand and reduce the need for investment in new generation and peak consumption.

Stephen Koch is executive director of NAIMA Canada, an association representing North American manufacturers of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation products doing business in Canada. For more information please visit GB

january 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


By Andrée Iffrig

Modular Construction: Prefab Reduces Residential Footprint

Photo: Karoleena Homes


he heyday of palatial suburban homesteads may be coming to an end. Pundits predict that, by 2050, today’s single family suburban residence will be home to three to four families. The average family in the future won’t have the resources on its own to afford a suburban lifestyle. In the near term, civic administrations are increasingly concerned about how to fund suburban infrastructure development and reduce the environmental impact of urban expansion. The housing industry is caught in the middle, uncertain about how the clamour for more sustainable growth will actually play out. While the industry dithers, consumer demand for eco-friendly homes is rising. In response, some builders are recognizing that small really is beautiful. They’re developing homes in the inner city and for recreational use outside city limits that achieve special efficiencies by using prefabricated modular elements. It’s the perfect answer for many home buyers looking to downsize. 10 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

The statistics are alarming. The typical suburban homestead is an energy guzzler and a disgrace to the environment. Just constructing it conventionally results in 10 to 12 per cent of new material going to landfill. Heating and cooling are a burden as well. In Canada, the average home creates almost 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This is equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions to running two cars or using 23 barrels of oil. If this isn’t enough to create a stampede to more sustainable housing, the price tag for big houses and their utility bills should be a definite incentive. A new generation of home buyers is looking for smaller eco homes and lower utility bills without compromising on style or function, and some manufacturers

are responding. Based in Calgary, Karoleena Homes builds modular eco homes, including the Karoleena cabin. This 650-square-foot recreational unit is one example of the trend to prefab, energy-efficient construction. Intended as a summer home, the cabin is also a potential candidate for use as a secondary suite in municipalities where these are permitted. Modularity, done with the environment in mind, should translate into quickly assembled yet well-built residences, without the long timelines and inconsistencies in quality sometimes associated with conventional building. The cost per square foot in a Karoleena home compares favorably with current market rates for well-designed and constructed units. The company recommends a fourmonth timeframe for custom-built designs using structural insulated panel (SIP) technology, and a matter of weeks for the steelframed Karoleena cabin. In contrast the average suburban home can take seven to nine january 2012

DIRTT Transformer Wall: The DIRTT wall in this modular design features a sustainably harvested teak veneer. Now you see the beds, now you don’t! Photo: DIRTT Environmental Solutions months to deliver. On the inside, the Karoleena cabin has a modular, movable interior wall system from DIRTT Environmental Solutions. DIRTT, also based in Calgary, is best known as a manufacturer of modular interior walls for commercial and institutional uses. The Karoleena cabin marks the first time the prefab interior system has been deployed for the wider residential market. Modular elements turn a small house into a spacious one and ensure flexibility of use. Material selection and clean assembly can dramatically reduce environmental toxins and improve indoor air quality. DIRTT’s most recent innovation for home buyers is the embedding of elements into walls. Featured in 2011 at the company’s booth for the Greenbuild and IIDEX trade shows in Toronto, foldaway beds and desks transformed a feature wall into a bedroom or office. Adaptability of this type ensures a small home is functional in spite of its modest size. january 2012

A kitchen and meeting area transforms overnight into bunk beds using modular elements from DIRTT Environmental Solutions. Photo: DIRTT Environmental Solutions

The advantages of modular construction on the interior include speed, quality of construction, minimal waste and economies of scale. Everything, including electrical wiring and flooring, is manufactured in a controlled environment, which means materials are not exposed to the elements or degraded by light and moisture conditions. Smart software for design, specification and manufacturing enables cost-effective customization of designs and reduces the manufacturing footprint by 30 per cent. Scaling down shouldn’t mean having to settle for less. With cities across Canada

struggling to implement more sustainable urban growth policies, modular and adaptable systems may be just what the market needs. Regardless of what the economy is doing, builders and manufacturers have an opportunity with innovative, small-scale residential offerings. Andrée Iffrig is a LEED AP and passionate advocate of sustainable design and development. A graduate architect and RAIC medalist, she works in communications for DIRTT Environmental Solutions. For more information please visit and GB Green Building & Sustainable Strategies 11


By Robin Hutcheson


hat’s next in the path to increasing sustainability and competitiveness in the commercial real estate market? Performance-based operations. With owners demanding continual high performance from their buildings in order to reduce operating costs and drive competitive advantage, building managers and operators will be held accountable for the building’s performance. The character of this accountability will vary somewhat from one building’s management to another. However, the requirement for accountability will impact how buildings are operated and, undoubtedly, the people involved. What’s the driving force behind scrutinizing, enhancing and tracking of building energy performance? Corporate sustainability reporting programs such as the Building Owners and Managers Association’s BOMA BESt (Building Environmental Standards), the Real Property Association of Canada’s REALpac 20/20, and the Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEEDEB:OM). Although these programs differ, the energy performance metric is the common paramount interest. The actual performance of constructed green certified buildings (notably LEED) came under fire recently after a number of buildings in the United States were found to be performing no better or worse than conventional buildings. This discovery was so profound that a class action lawsuit was launched against the U.S. Green Building Council. The case ultimately failed (see However, it exposed the assumption that a building designed to a higher standard will perform as expected in perpetuity. In reality, design is only one of three main aspects that will affect building performance. 12 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

What you should demand

A Consulting View: Performance and Accountability Demand an Eagle Eye Occupant behavior and building operations also play key roles. Design defines the thermal properties of the building envelope and the efficiency of the equipment installed, setting the fixed elements of performance. Occupant behavior influences performance through factors such as occupancy schedule, plug loads and lighting control. But it’s a building’s operations that present the most manageable opportunity to influence building performance, because these address the functional elements of the energy-consuming equipment and systems. From a performance standpoint, design and occupant behavior are largely out of the hands of the operators. This leaves operations and maintenance responsible for delivering the desired performance.Of course, there’s also the matter of accountability. This presents a bit of a conundrum. Who is responsible when a building falls out of conformance, loses certification or reduces in certification level? Is it management’s responsibility, or the operator’s responsibility? Are there tools in place to deliver on accountability? The fundamental issue driving accountability for performance is the fact that the building owner has made an investment to achieve certification. And, as with all investments, there is a responsibility to protect that investment and maximize the rewards. Because certification compliance is measured continuously from the initial performance period, when metrics are first measured, and is subject to renewal, it’s conceivable that certification could in fact be lost. This is not exactly a pleasant thought for a building owner or operator, and it highlights the need for proper risk management and accountability. In fact, risk management and accountability go hand-in-hand. Those who are accountable need a system of risk management. Simply imposing accountability for a building’s performance on the operations staff once the desired performance has been achieved does little to mitigate associated risks. Management needs a system to support the alignment of

operational practices and performance indicators with the requirements of the rating system or corporate sustainable reporting metrics. In other words, it’s vital to provide the tools staff need to deliver accountability. Forget clichés like “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” These don’t adequately describe the complex metrics and documentation required to validate conformance. Green building certification programs generally require management of two distinct types of indicators: performance metrics addressing the use of energy, water and indoor air quality; and operational metrics involving such things as building cleaning, purchasing, and waste management. Supporting documentation tracking performance metrics and a myriad of operational records for building operations and maintenance must be continually updated and managed. Furthermore, as renovation or alteration projects are carried out, green design and construction practices, commissioning, and processes for updating operations and maintenance records must all be managed to ensure that environmental performance is sustained and compliance documentation is available. Whether you’re addressing green building certification, energy intensity tracking or greenhouse gas emissions accounting, the need for continuous monitoring and reporting on performance is ever-present, and the need for systems to efficiently manage this diverse body of information has never been greater. As the industry that manages high-performing and green-certified buildings matures, management information systems will become essential to delivering on performance while providing accountability and transparency to building operations and maintenance.

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Robin Hutcheson, P.Eng., LEED AP O+M, is president of Arborus Consulting, a green building and renewable energy consulting and compliance verification company specializing in information management systems. For more information, please visit GB january 2012

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Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


TRENDS By Brian Burton, Petr Vegh and Greg Hildebrand

Weather Forecast: Climate Change Increases Risk to Building Envelope


ne thing we can’t predict with absolute certainty for 2012 is the weather, at least on a day-today basis. However, we do know our climate is changing, even while specific causes and effects are still being debated and Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto process. Engineers Canada and its partners have established the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee. Partly funded by Natural Resources Canada, the PIEVC defines climate change as any systematic change in the long-term statistics of climate elements, such as temperature, pressure, or wind, which are sustained over several decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural external events such as changes in solar emissions or slow changes in the earth’s orbital elements; by natural internal processes of the climate system; or by anthropogenic forcing – in lay terms, human impact on the environment. Regardless of the causes, which are almost certainly numerous, climate change is clearly affecting Canada’s building stock and building occupants. Significant changes in weather patterns will require us to substantially modify the way we design, construct, manage and maintain buildings. Canadians are 80 per cent urbanized and spend 90 per cent of their time indoors, according to the National Research Centre’s Institute for Research in Construction. We also know that the building envelope is particularly vulnerable to even minor climactic changes. For example, a 25 per cent in14

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

crease in peak wind gusts would increase building envelope damage by 625 per cent, according to PIEVC. So, when it comes to building performance, climate change is already causing a shift in the type, form, pattern and intensity of precipitation, with freeze-thaw cycling, melting permafrost, freezing rain and rain-on-snow increasing in frequency. Other effects include shifts in the peaks and frequency of high humidity levels, increased frequency and intensity of wind and flood events, and changes in seasonal ranges of temperatures combined with increased frequency and longevity of heat waves and cold snaps. All these factors affect building performance. As well, the age of structures and the types of construction materials and building envelope systems can all influence the ability to resist the forces of climate change. Some older buildings offer no resistance at all. Most structures built over the last 60 years have used face sealing. Face sealing attempts to control moisture by sealing all of the openings in the building envelope, but the number of openings can literally number in the thousands, and this approach is simply not working. In our opinion, and according to insurance statistics, 70 per cent of all premature deterioration is caused by the penetration or accumulation of moisture in the building envelope. This is the most common source of building failures. It’s obvious that premature deterioration and failure reduce a building’s value. But effects from climate change also in-

crease health and safety risks for occupants, increase repair and maintenance costs, and negatively affect reserve fund contributions, energy expenditures, service disruptions, liability and insurance costs, and risks of catastrophic failure. The best solution, of course, is prevention. Building scientists are working to develop strategies designed to enable structures to resist and mitigate the effects of climate change, and modern construction needs to do its part to ensure that buildings are resistant to increasingly volatile weather. A good place to start would be to ensure that moisture cannot accumulate inside the building envelope and, just to be on the safe side, to provide a draining mechanism for any moisture that does find its way inside. For more information about the PIEVC, please visit Brian Burton, a research and development specialist for exp, is a Certified CGSB/ICPI Construction Inspector. He can be reached at or visit www.exp. com. Greg Hildebrand, C.E.T., M.Sc. (Eng), is the head of the Façade Engineering Group, Building Engineering Team at exp and is chair of the CAN/CSA A440 Task Group. He can be reached at greg.hildebrand@exp. com. Petr Vegh, Ph.D., P.Eng., heads the Structural Group at exp and is a member of the Executive Council with the International Association for Shell Structures Association (IASS). He can be reached at petr.vegh@ GB

DAMAGE DONE: Freeze-thaw cycles and moisture from increasingly turbulent weather patterns are stressing our buildings. Photo: Brian Burton january 2012

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By Saul Chernos

Slow Down, Breathe Deeply, Build to Live: Martin Liefhebber

BREATHE DEEPLY: This country house in Stouffville, Ontario relies on natural materials wherever possible. PHOTOS: Breathe Architects


itting down with Toronto architect Martin Liefhebber to discuss his work and his outlook on sustainability, I find myself imagining the occupant of a building as one of its material components, and of the building as an extension of the person living within. The notion of mutual dependence, of building and occupant as a single organism, seems absurd in today’s harried world where interaction between prospective homeowners and the myriad of building tradespeople and professionals is at best fleeting. At the frantic pace condominiums, green or otherwise, are filling out the cityscape, how can there pos-


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

january 2012

sibly be time for anything more than impersonal, tightly scheduled meetings with clients? From his storefront studio nestled within a residential offshoot of Chinatown East, Liefhebber could walk to Bay Street to do lunch with developers. Or, conversely, they could take the streetcar to visit him. But neither happens terribly often. Not that his firm, Breathe Architects, is hurting for work in these tough economic times. Design posters and blueprints abound, and it isn’t long before I’ve memorized Liefhebber’s ringtone. “I have a big problem with green building,” he tells me, with just enough smile to suggest a love-hate relationship. “The hubbub around LEED, new glazing systems and everything else is really to facilitate the construction of high-rise buildings, because that’s where most of the money is sitting.” This seems harsh from someone whose curriculum vitae is replete with green projects of assorted shapes and sizes. But then, again, these projects aren’t generally mainstream. Sure, there’s Calumet College at York University, built in 1990, and the high-profile Toronto Healthy House off-grid project of 1996. But there’s also The Roost, a january 2012

garden studio measuring a scant 100 square feet, and buildings made in part with discarded tires and pop cans. But Liefhebber, who teaches environmental design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, says he’s more concerned about an occupant’s lifestyle than he is with building size, and sees a greater need to consider how materials function than rely on machines. A 900-square-foot house Liefhebber designed is currently under construction in Meaford, Ontario and is centred around his client – a woman, recently retired, who wanted simple, low-cost, active country living. “It’s very efficiently laid out and has a fairly steep steel roof that collects rainwater to flush the toilet and water the garden,” Liefhebber says. A cistern beneath the kitchen floor supplies potable water, and his client is considering breeding tilapia, a fish species in the carp family people pay for in supermarkets, in an outdoor pond and indoor pit that are interconnected. But it’s the lack of a furnace or other heating and cooling equipment that stands out. “It’s designed on passive principles,” Liefhebber says, explaining that gobs of Roxul and vermiculite insulation will help ensure comfort even during the coldest weather. A greenhouse that will add warmth on sunny days can be closed off at night or when it’s cloudy. However, it’s a third component to the home’s heating plan that stands to make all the difference – the occupant, and the various activities such as cooking and making tea, that occur within. “The whole idea of PassivHaus, as I interpret it, is that the house is heated because someone is living inside.” Liebheffer considers the use of machinery to heat and cool buildings antithetical in sustainable building and says his client’s interest in farming tilapia speaks to the relationship between home and occuGreen Building & Sustainable Strategies


strategy BREATHE DEEPLY: Martin Liebheffer designed these premises for homeowners who needed allergy relief. PHOTOS: Breathe Architects

pant. “The idea is not to go out to Starbucks and pay $3.50 for a latté, but to make your own latté at home, or to invite friends over for warm wine. The whole thing is like the slow food movement, a slow way of life. It works with no energy and by keeping our imaginations strong.” While the countryside might seem idyllic for active, PassivHaus living, Liefhebber is convinced it can also work in cities. “We have a social problem, not an engineering one,” he says, tying modern building to a lifestyle built around consumption, excess and waste. “You need a lot of money to maintain that. Instead of buying fossil-fuel-based energy, we need to be a little bit more active, walk to work, wear a sweater and close our drapes at night.” Liefhebber says he sees little merit in designing green buildings if their occupants spend little time in them and commute long distances to work, or if energy-efficient heating and cooling systems require ongoing maintenance and replacement within scant decades. He’s particularly outraged that green buildings are so dependent on pricey components. Drawing on the recent Occupy protests, which laid bare the fact that less than one percent of the people control the world’s wealth, he says it’s high time the sustainability industry pays attention to the bulk of the population. “A glazing sandwich that allows sunlight or direct light to come in, and passive solar to heat buildings – they’re wonderful and I do many of them, but they cost a lot of money and are for very welloff people.” The answer, Liefhebber suggests, lies in going back to basics and planning more thoughtfully at the neighbourhood and community level – for instance, locating jobs and services within walking distance rather than in designing cars that use less gas. He says LEED for Neighbourhoods “comes close to the mark” but calls for a more fundamental shift in attitude. Walking to work and shopping in one’s immediate neighbourhood would undermine certain sectors of the economy, but others would thrive. Instead of big-box stores and massive, central factories, there would be increased emphasis on local jobs and sustainable communities. “When something destabilizes it creates new opportunities. Everything would just shift a little bit,” he explains. Many of Liefhebber clients fall within the 99 per cent bracket he’s concerned about. Some are on fixed incomes; others work in creative areas that don’t pay well; a few prefer to grow their own food and be as self-sufficient as possible rather than being tied to jobs to pay utility or mortgage bills. So, when it suits his clients, he sources materials that are inexpensive and whose reuse constitutes an environmental virtue. He’s built several straw bale houses over the years and even crammed discarded pop cans and rubber tires with earth and placed them inside walls to support buildings, much like pillars. 18 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Analysis: Should Net Zero be Today’s Goal?

By Richard Lay

N The Knell Tire House in Price Edward County, near Belleville Ontario, is a perfect example. Designed by Liefhebber, the occupants built the house themselves. The building has a pitched roof, increasing the capacity for storage and roof insulation, but does not have any central heating or cooling, and uses rainwater wherever possible. More to the point, Liefhebber salvaged the tires and cans from the recycling bin and redirected them to what’s considered even more environmentally virtuous – re-use. Most of Breathe’s clients are low-rise residential, but he’s incorporated his green ideas into a daycare, a veterinary clinic and a cultural centre. In 2001, he designed a housing project for people with chronic fatigue syndrome in Clarkson, a Mississauga neighbourhood. Four households pooled their money and each got independent 1,200square-foot apartments inside a building with straw bale insulation and a solar photovoltaic system that supplies one-third of the power. “They shared an allergic reaction to chemicals in the air and were thinking of renovating,” Liefhebber says. Pop cans, tires, straw bale and huge wads of insulation aren’t the stuff which condos are made of. But then, again, towers aren’t what Liefhebber and his associates want to work on. “I don’t have a big thriving office with tons of people working here, just a handful of colleagues. What drives all of them is the search for alternatives. They don’t want standard jobs, and our clients don’t want a standard product.” For more information, please visit GB january 2012

et Zero is the latest buzzword in the green building industry. The Living Building Challenge is asking that we strive for buildings that consume no energy, and the 2030 Challenge has set a target of zero carbon emissions for buildings by 2030. But, is this goal of Net Zero realistic? While achieving Net Zero is laudable, Net Zero for most individual Canadian buildings will require considerable forethought, creativity and planning, not to mention significant capital investment in on-site renewable energy generation. In the pure sense of the term, Net Zero may not be realistic in that it assumes a building to be an island, ignoring its interaction with the rest of the city. Does a Net Zero building in suburbia, where everyone has to drive to work, truly have a net zero impact? Perhaps Net Zero Ready should instead be viewed as a goal, and any serious exploration of the subject compels us to look at where green buildings and standards are today, in terms of energy consumption. Currently, the average Canadian commercial/institutional building uses 394 equivalent kilowatt hours per square meter (ekWh/ m2) on an annual basis. Schools, offices and multi-unit residential buildings are on the low side of this number, while hospitals, sports facilities and retail centres are on the high side. Enermodal recently certified its 100th LEED project. Looking at back at these 100 projects, we discovered that the monitored (actual) energy use of our LEED projects is 45 per cent less than the Canadian average, or just over 200 ekWh/m2. For the most part, these savings were achieved by focusing on a few critical areas: airtight envelope, effijanuary 2012

Waterloo Region Police Service’s Investigative Services Building in Cambridge, Ontario. PHOTO: Enermodal Engineering cient lighting and high performance mechanical equipment – including ventilation heat recovery. But, 200 ekWh/m2 is just the average. What about the very best performing buildings from an energy perspective? If Net Zero isn’t realistic based on where standard and most green buildings are today, then what is? Net Zero Ready buildings use under 100 ekWh/m2. This is a realistic goal, and it’s achievable. Of Enermodal’s 100 LEED certified projects, eight of the top ten energy performers were designed by Enermodal’s mechanical and electrical design team and would meet the Net Zero Ready goal. In fact, the 2030 Challenge allows, in its fine print, for 20 per cent of energy to be from green energy purchases. In other words, the actual building energy consumption for their Net Zero buildings needs to 20 per cent of current values, or 80 ekWh/m2. That’s pretty close to the 100 noted above. 100 ekWh/m2 is no less an accomplishment than zero: only a handful of buildings in Canada have achieved this level of performance. Furthermore, a building using under 100 ekWh/m2 is perfectly set up to meet its energy use by on-site renewable energy gen-

eration or by connecting with neighbouring buildings to use complimentary heating and waste heat requirements. So, what sets these buildings up to be great energy performers? There are several common features of Net Zero Ready buildings: First, concept design workshops. An integrated design process and a shopping list of energy efficiency features created by an experienced energy modeller can allow a design team to make informed decisions on the best building systems to incorporate. Second, a competent design team, with experience delivering buildings that are Net Zero Ready, needs to commit to elegantly simple design. Also needed are extended commissioning, including a peer review of design and operator training, and measurement and verification, to confirm that predicted energy and water savings have been achieved – and, if not, why not. So, can Net Zero coexist with elegantly simple design? Simple designs are a challenge to produce. Engineers are prone to oversizing equipment, adding unnecessary control complexity and using old rules of thumb that were developed when energy Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


COVER STORY use was not a priority. Achieving designs below 100 ekWh/m2 requires a complete re-think about how we design buildings. And not just mechanical and electrical design but architectural as well: proper orientation, narrow floor-plates, optimum window-to-wall ratio are all important. We did this in our new headquarters, A Grander View, which is running at 69 ekWh/ m2. And, for the record, it cost us around $250 per square foot to build and fit up. Here are three further examples of how elegantly simple design works in practice: First, throw out rules of thumb – rules which say, “We’ve been doing it like this for years.” One of the biggest mindsets holding back sustainable design is the use of outdated engineering rules of thumb and common practices that are not reconsidered from an energy efficiency perspective. It is common practice to fill up an empty rainwater cistern (used to supply toilets or irrigation) with city water if the cistern goes empty. However, this requires the city water to be repressurized in the cistern, which uses energy. Most engineers do not even consider other options to maintain the pressurization and still save energy. On many of the projects designed by our mechanical-electrical team, including the Waterloo Region Police Service Investigative Services Building, we have the city water bypass the cistern altogether, joining the building plumbing system after the cistern system so the water maintains the correct pressure from source to building. A second way to achieve elegant design is to eliminate as much equipment as possible. If you plug it in, it will use energy. So, eliminate as many unnecessary pieces of mechanical equipment as possible. At A Grander View, for example, we’re built into a hill. The resulting slope creates drainage problems, with a typical solution being a sump pump to pump out water. This type of thinking is so ingrained that most design teams would install a pump without even considering options that do not require energy. Instead, we relandscaped the site around the building to allow for gravity drainage to storm drains. This eliminated the need for a pump. Finally, waste not! The traditional approach to server rooms is to install a dedicat20

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Healthcare Complex Calls for Sustainability - With a Splash of Green!

ed air conditioner to deal with the tremendous amounts of heat generated by the electronic equipment. Not only is this an extra piece of equipment that serves no other purpose, but the heat energy generated by the equipment is wasted. Instead, at Northlands Park Collegiate in Manitoba, the building’s variable refrigerant flow heat pumps (integrated into the groundloop heat pump) are designed to provide heating and cooling to the computer rooms and server room which have a different load pattern from the rest of the school. Most of the heat removed from these rooms can be used to heat domestic hot water.

One can also look to the kitchen for energy savings. Commercial kitchens are often overlooked because much of the load is considered unregulated and is therefore not incorporated into mandatory modelling for LEED. Yet, in the case of the Northlands school, the electrical demand in the kitchen exceeded that of the rest of the school. Enermodal’s mechanical-electrical group therefore selected low-flow, variable-speed range hood ventilation, a dedicated high-efficiency tankless booster heat for the dishwasher, thicker insulation panels for the walk-in coolers and freezers, a water-cooled refrigeration plant connected to the ground heat exchanger, higher efficiency defrost and control for the refrigeration, and electronic pilot lights for the gas cooking appliances. Net Zero is not realistic for the vast majority of Canadian buildings given how we design buildings and communities today, or even the near future. Perhaps, by throwing out rules of thumb and investigating new engineering opportunities, we can still take on the challenge offered by Net Zero thinking and achieve more Net Zero Ready buildings. Richard Lay, P.Eng, is senior mechanical designer at Enermodal Engineering. He has designed the mechanical systems for energyefficient buildings such as Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co., Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation, and École Secondaire Romeo Dallaire. He can be reached at For more information, please visit GB january 2012

Stouffville Medical Centre rendering


Frank Deluca speaks with Saul Chernos

january 2012


oronto-based developer DCL Equity Partners is looking to build what it says will be the first-ever sustainable healthcare centre in Canada. The four-storey, 40,000-square building will house general practitioners, dentists, a compound pharmacist, a walk-in clinic, and laboratory and ultrasound facilities in Stouffville, Ontario. DCL says it wants to provide a building that can serve as a healthcare hub for Stouffville, which is on the northeast edge of the Greater Toronto Area and has been identified as one of the top ten fastest growing communities in Ontario.

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies spoke with Frank Deluca of DCL Equity Partners about the development and about his vision for building sustainable healthcare facilities. Our conversation follows: Saul Chernos: We understand you’re planning to break ground this summer. Can you tell us more about your plans? Frank Deluca: The project will consist of approximately 34,000 square feet above ground and 6,000 square feet below ground, and we’re looking to open by the fall of 2013. Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Stouffville Medical Centre South West rendering Stouffville Medical Centre rear view rendering

Our objective is to be the healthcare hub for Stouffville and surrounding areas out to a 10-kilometre radius in order to take pressure off Markham Stouffville Hospital. We’re also looking at being a leader in sustainable healthcare, with initiatives such as geothermal and radiant-floor heating and cooling, clean-air technology, rainwater harvesting for toilets and outdoor irrigation, LED lighting, smart-building systems, solar panels, and a Hemcrete building envelope. We’re even considering a rooftop garden.

Frank Deluca, CEO DCL Equity Partners


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

SC: How did you identify the need for a green healthcare facility? FD: My journey started as it does for most entrepreneurs – with the question Why? Why do medical buildings generally look so dull, depressing and uninspiring? Why do people often feel worse whenever they visit a medical facility? We’ve all heard about sick building syndrome. It’s fairly common in older buildings. I explored Canadian healthcare facilities and found most medical space to be old, tired and highly energy inefficient, and I wondered if healthcare buildings are actually sicker than the patients who visit them.

I’m not saying Canada doesn’t have some outstanding hospital wings, but these have been built largely through donations from Canada’s wealthiest citizens. It’s generous, but most healthcare facilities aren’t achieving such high standards. I find it troubling that major law firms, banks and department stores can embrace green sustainable office space, yet the buildings we entrust for our health and wellbeing simply aren’t meeting the mark. This motivated me to see if I could design, engineer and build a better medical office building that would embrace the kinds of green features that can contribute to health and wellbeing, and yet also be economically sustainable. SC: Environmentally and economically sustainable – aren’t those contradictory? FD: Not necessarily. Certainly, there are green features that simply cannot yield a reasonable return on investment. But there are green features that can produce a healthy ROI. Green buildings are sometimes perceived as unattainable – too expensive and complex for small to mid-size developers. But I’m not so sure this needs to be the case. january 2012

I might add that, despite the Ontario government preaching green, there are no incentives or tax breaks for green or sustainable development in this province. I wish politicians and the financial sector would come up with things like green mortgages for commercial development. SC: So you see it as a balance. How did you translate this into your own project planning? FD: I decided to build an environmentallyfriendly healthcare centre that respects and enhances patient health and wellbeing without sacrificing a strong economic case. One thing I needed to set straight in my mind right from the outset was whether we should seek certification through LEED or some other yardstick, to measure our initiatives. I asked what value any certification model would bring to my building, and balanced that against the cost of certification. In the end, I decided I couldn’t justify the cost of LEED certification because these costs are inevitably passed on to tenants. If I was in downtown Toronto or in New York City or Washington, certification might make economic sense. But not in Stouffville. Still, I wanted some kind of road map and decided that BREEAM, a European assessment method that’s been widely used outside North America, might work in our case. january 2012

From left to right: Frank Deluca, CEO, DCL Equity Partners; Gino Di Rezze, president, Groundheat Systems International; Cid Negre, director of commercial projects, Groundheat Systems International

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Centre Stands to Help – Stouffville Mayor

heart The

of your


Stouffville Medical Centre aerial view rendering SC: How did your project evolve from there? FD: I began to look at the existing medical office inventory age, and at energy efficiencies and inefficiencies. I got my hands on as many building financial statements as I could, from private to public, and realized just how much of tenant costs were directly related to elements beyond the landlord’s control. From there I simply became obsessed with elements that could reduce energy costs, thereby mitigating the risk of rising future costs. Then, I started assembling a team of partners to provide necessary components such as geothermal. I had met up with Andrew Bowerbank (former executive director of the World Green Building Council) at the Earth Rangers building, a truly amazing model of sustainability in Kleinburg (Ontario). I told him about my plans, and he’s been at my side ever since. He reached out to BREEAM, and we’ve begun to develop the Bespoke assessment model for our building. This is nothing new for BREEAM because its assessment is not so much a check-list as it is a building-science approach to sustainability. From there, I simply began to match up sustainability initiatives I thought made sense, and I looked ahead at a potential 8 to 15-year pay-back. And, wow, did the picture ever change! Suddenly, engineering a building to be highly efficient made much more sense – espe24

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

cially factoring in high energy costs build owners and tenants generally face in more conventional settings. SC: All of this preliminary work has led to a design charrette? FD: Andrew has nurtured some great partnerships for DCL, and organizations such as Sustainable Buildings Canada, BASF, Enbridge, Hydro One, American Lime Technologies, Philips Canlyte and PLANiT Measuring have come on board. Andrew has also organized and will be leading the design charrette on Jan. 25 at Black Creek Pioneer Village Conference Centre in Toronto. It’s a one-day workshop where experts in areas such as design, engineering, renewable energy and energy efficiency will work together to find ways to improve environmental performance using an integrated design approach where the building is seen as a system. Sustainable Buildings Canada and PLANiT Measuring will also use energy and BIM modeling software to measure the potential energy efficiency of our planned building, and we’ll publish the findings in a white paper. Sustainable Buildings Canada and other partners will use this to promote this joint initiative. SC: This sounds exciting. We wish you well in the months ahead.

When the Stouffville Medical Centre is completed, it stands to take pressure off local hospital facilities, says the town’s mayor, Wayne Emmerson. “It’s one of the biggest projects we’ve ever had in our municipality involving green, sustainable buildings,” Emmerson says. While Markham Stouffville Hospital is currently undergoing a renovation and addition, with completion slated for 2013, Emmerson says the hospital will still be bursting at the seams and area residents will need to rely more and more on walk-in clinics rather than emergency departments for minor situations. “It’s exciting for our municipality and it’s going to be a very big benefit for our residents.” Emmerson also praises the plans for sustainability. “It’s the way of the future,” he says. “The more buildings that do this the better off we’ll be and the better it will be for future generations.” Saul Chernos

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FD: Thank you. GB january 2012

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january 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



to Fuel Sustainable Healthcare Centre Geothermal heating and cooling are front-and-centre to plans by DCL Equity Partners to build Canada’s first sustainable medical centre. The four-storey, 40,000-square-foot Stouffville Medical Centre will serve as a community healthcare hub for the town of Stouffville and surrounding areas, offering a diverse range of medical services, including general practitioners, a compound pharmacist, a walk-in clinic, varied specialists and laboratory and ultrasound facilities. A building of this size and function would generally draw an enormous amount of energy for heating and cooling, however DCL has turned to geothermal technology from Groundheat Systems International to reduce the building’s heating and cooling-related costs and carbon footprint. The system will even meter individual suites. Green Building and Sustainable Strategies asked president Gino Di Rezze to tell us about the company, geothermal technology, and what Stouffville Medical Centre can expect in terms of energy savings and performance:

O Photos: Groundheat Systems International


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

ur story dates back to 1979, when I began commercializing geothermal pump installations. Geothermal technology was in its relative infancy in Canada, and I was involved in these early years. I went on to form Groundheat in 1985, and over the years the company installed the first geothermal systems ever used by IKEA, in Milan, and Wal-Mart, in Burlington, Ontario, as well as at a 1,000-unit condominium complex in Rome. Plans to incorporate geothermal into the Stouffville Medical Centre represent yet another milestone in the technology’s adoption in Canada. Generated and stored in the Earth, geothermal energy essentially harvests energy in the ground to heat and cool buildings and is currently responsible for producing close to 11,000 megawatts of thermal power in 24 countries annually. This technology is also known as geoexchange, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize it as the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning system available today. Geo-exchange systems outperform the most efficient gas technology – high-efficien-

Gino Di Rezze, president, Groundheat Systems International

cy gas furnaces, air conditioners – by an average of 36 per cent in heating mode and 43 per cent in cooling mode. Energy costs with geo-exchange are typically 25 to 50 per cent less than other HVAC systems. High-efficiency geo-exchange systems are, on average, 48 per cent more efficient than the most efficient gas furnaces and more than 75 per cent more efficient than oil furnaces. This ultimately lowers electricity demand by nearly one kilowatt per ton of capacity. What is particularly exciting is that geo-exchange systems generate virtually no carbon dioxide emissions because they burn no fossil fuels on site. Geo-exchange systems have lower life-cycle costs than conventional systems, even in arctic and sub-arctic regions where demand for heating is relatively high. An essential feature of geothermal energy systems is long equipment life – systems regularly have a warranty of 25 years and ground pipes often last more than half a century. In the case of Stouffville Medical Center, geothermal technology will allow for excess heating and cooling equipment to be removed. Boiler rooms will become superfluous and mechanical rooms stand to be scaled down in size, leaving more space and design options for other amenities. This design flexjanuary 2012

ibility extends to other commercial buildings and even the renovation of heritage buildings. By using smaller heat pumps in place of unsightly outdoor and rooftop condensers, enhancing the historic charm of older heritage buildings, where outdoor appearances matter. Take DCL Equity Partners’ geothermal sustainability plan for Stouffville Medical Center and apply it to every school district in North America requiring heating and cooling system replacements in the next ten years. The total energy savings would exceed $11 billion and save enough electricity to power a million homes for one year. Government offices around the country could achieve comparable savings by using a similar sustainability strategy. Geo-exchange technology is also a key contributor to achieving carbon neutrality. In 2006, more than 650,000 geothermal heat

pump units were installed in the U.S., resulting in annual savings of 5.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and 26 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of fossil fuels. These systems also reduced electricity demand by 1.7 million kW and eliminated nearly four million tons in carbon dioxide emissions. This is equivalent to taking 840,000 cars off the road, planting 250 million trees, or reducing reliance on imported fuels by 14 million barrels of crude oil per year. As impressive as these numbers are, they are just the tip of the iceberg. While geo-ex-

change is one approach to achieving carbon neutrality in buildings, it is becoming increasingly powerful in leading the building industry towards a carbon neutral future. The Stouffville Medical Center is only the first medical facility in Ontario to demonstrate the advancement of geothermal technologies, and represents a benchmark for future sustainability projects across Canada. For more information on geothermal technology and geo-exchange systems, please visit GB

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Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University in the U.K. scored 85.16 per cent at the post-construction stage under BREEAM Higher Education 2008. PHOTOS: Building Research Establishment (BRE).

Situated in Nanterre, near Paris, Spring scored 90.83 per cent at the design stage under BREEAM Europe Commercial: Offices 2009.

By Saul Chernos

BREEAM Comes to Canada


ews that a four-storey, 40,000square-foot multi-tenant medical office building, planned for construction in Stouffville, Ontario, will seek certification through the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) marks a milestone for the international standard. Established 21 years ago by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as a tool to measure the sustainability of new buildings, BREEAM measures the sustainability of the built environment using local knowledge and standards and has been a mainstay in the United Kingdom. However, green building proponents have adapted and adopted it in various forms around the world. BREEAM is widely credited with inspiring Green Star in Australia, Haute Qualité Environnementale (High Environmental Quality, or HQE) in France, and Leadership in Energy and

Environmental Design (LEED) in North America, among many others. There are key similarities and differences between BREEAM and LEED. BREEAM certifications range from Pass to Outstanding, while LEED’s range from Basic to Platinum. BREEAM trains assessors to evaluate completed projects, which are then checked by BRE. BRE then issues certifications when warranted. LEED, meanwhile, operates through national green building councils, and their assessors evaluate projects. BREEAM director Martin Townsend says his organization currently lists more than a million buildings as assessed or registered. “Our key objective is to build buildings that people want to live and work in, as well great communities to live, whilst improving the performance, functionality, flexibility and durability of the building itself,” he says.

Martin Townsend Houghton le Spring Primary Care Centre is the first healthcare building in the U.K. to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating, scoring 86.38 per cent at the design stage under BREEAM Healthcare 2008. 28

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

january 2012

Operated by an independent board representing industry stakeholders under the wider governance of BRE Trust, a not for profit organisation, BRE Global is looking to further involve international experts and the global BREEAM community. “I see BREEAM as a movement for sustainable development, with local schemes, processes, science and governance cooperating internationally under an overarching framework defined by core standards, core science and metrics” Townsend says. He adds that BRE Global is currently seeking nominations for experts from countries such as Canada to join its Standing Panel for Peer Review and to participate in regular BREEAM Conferences on research and practice. “We hope, as we develop our network in Canada, that experts will come forward so that they can also play an active role in ensuring that the tools and standard are the correct ones to drive the improved performance of new communities, buildings as well. If we are to quicken the debate about building better buildings we need to do so by sharing our knowledge and experience.” Townsend adds that BRE Global hopes the Canadian market will integrate its own data on the actual performance of existing buildings into the work it is undertaking with the International Sustainability Alliance (ISA). ISA was launched at Expo Real in Munich in 2009, and its membership represents an estimated $196 billion in real estate ownership and management, according to Townsend. “BREEAM is ultimately a tool through which sustainability goals can be measured and improved on an international level,” he says. “Up until this point, although many of us have wished to improve the buildings we live and work in, we have felt inhibited by the financial implications,” Townsend says. “The environment and the economy have long been pitted against one another, and many feel that they must choose between their pocket or the planet. BREEAM offers a realistic, cost-effective solution to this and supports the notion that these old sparring partners need not do battle after all.” For more information about BREEAM please visit GB january 2012

Energy design specialists for sustainable green building Homesol Building Solutions provides accurate, cost-effective energy design services, inspections, certifications and training. We are Certified Passive House Consultants and LEED Accredited Professionals. Count on Homesol for your next green building project.

© 2012 Homesol Building Solutions. Homesol Building Solutions is a trademark of Homesol Building Solutions. All other brand names are the property of their respective holders. The R-2000 and ecoENERGY marks are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada. Used with permission.

613-278-0467 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


ta includes, for instance, heating and cooling equipment and lighting and plumbing fixtures which will form part of any spreadsheet or reporting document. Having the consolidated database already set up and ready for migration to a compliant energy analysis software, the outlook for the client and the energy modeler is quite different and twofold. BIM captures the singular energy baseline of a building instead of relying on statistical averages that normalize a building’s behaviour. The normalization approach is usually taken just to facilitate mass comparative analysis and compensate for lack of information. Despite its popularity, it is severely limited when compared to the singular baseline BIM process. That’s because the BIM approach fully integrates all of the precise architectural volumetry, weather information and unique equipment system infrastructure necessary to generate customized, automated, and government compliant energy modeling files that are ready for retrofit simulation. The BIM method alleviates the need to reconstruct a separate building model to work with compliant applications and also makes it unnecessary to go back and repopulate multi-

Measuring for the Life Cycle


By incorporating Building Information Modeling into existing building technology and processes, PLANiT Measuring is revolutionizing the energy auditing process and establishing a sustainable platform to manage and account for a building’s assets during its entire lifecycle. 30

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

As of the second quarter of 2011, The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has accepted the BIM energy audit approach as qualified for energy audit funding incentives – great news for building owners and occupants wanting a comprehensive set of building information deliveries that exceeds those found in conventional audit reports. Each BIM energy analysis starts with a building survey to construct a threedimensional virtual model, an accurate digital representation of the building’s inherent architectural attributes and its location traits. Right out of this exercise, and as complimentary tangible benefits, all rentable and usable areas are consolidated, and all floor plans, sections and elevations are digitized. It’s safe to say that, from this point onward, all the building’s spatial information has been overhauled to a consistent, nonredundant and accurate database that

ple databases or forms. Without clerical tasks to worry about, the energy modeler can instead focus on adjusting mechanical zones, trying out multiple formulas, and delving deeper into optimization scenarios. Conventional standalone energy audits, for example, have limited usage due to their static and generic nature. But, as the BIM is


Project Incorporates Building Energy Audits he DCL Stouffville Medical Centre project plans to incorporate Building Information Modeling (BIM), through PLANiT Measuring of Mississauga, Ontario, to manage the building’s assets over its entire lifetime. BIM is playing an increasingly prominent role in this regard in sustainable buildings, and we’ve asked PLANiT’s director of business development, Alberto Palomino, for his perspective:

Alberto Palomino, PLANiT’s director of business development

Systems International

will impact positively to the key departments of real estate management. Once a building’s bare-bone model has been constructed and automatically checked for interferences or clashes, all the envelope technical attributes such as walls, roof and window compositions are incorporated to the model. At this point, the complementary benefits expand to a higher level, including precise tabulated information, or material lists, that will organize all the technical attributes under area, volume, story, type and cost. For example, it is plausible now to extract a spreadsheet focusing on the bricks, namely their number, weight, area, cost and technical specifications for a given floor or side or for an entire building. And the last step: Now that the model carefully represents the architectural profile of the building, mechanical information is loaded up. This set of dajanuary 2012

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leveraged through the energy analysis iteration, the model continues to fuel revenues and cost saving opportunities with additional value-adding benefits and diverse applications. BIM is malleable and elastic, empowering the building owner to measure progress more accurately and act with greater confidence. PLANiT is able to use BIM to quickly, easily and affordably generate the information required to qualify for the lucrative rebates. BIM’s contribution to sustainability begins with an energy audit and extends its usefulness to provide the building owner with a full set of digital blueprints plus BOMA certified rentable area measurements and materials, volumes, and components spreadsheets. These can all be exported to generic formats such as AutoCAD, MS Excel and Adobe PDF. Customizations allow the export of LEED certification data or GHG emissions to a variety of reporting formats such as checklists and pie charts organized bi-weekly, monthly or seasonally. Reports are both accessible and easy by-products of the fully integrated database. For more information, please visit GB

GROUNDHEAT™ performs engineering assistant in the field of renewable energy, the sourcing and use of energy and the design and building of renewable energy systems. Savings of 30-60% can be achieved with geothermal heating and cooling.

HEATING, COOLING & HOT WATER SERVICES • Assist Mechanical and Soil Engineers for Geo Design • Design Loop Field • Design / Build (Smaller Projects) • Turnkey Operation – Project Management • Help with Financing Documentation • Help with Government Grants Paperwork • Soil Conductivity: Drilling + Test + Reports • Geothermal Loop Installation (Complete) – Drilling + Trenching 80 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Suite #8 Concord, Ontario Canada, L4K 5W9 Telephone: 416.410.0586 • Fax: 416.410.0856 • Toll free: 866-565-0586 january 2012

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The Road To A Greener Planet Starts With Dryvit At Dryvit, being “green” is nothing new. Since being introduced to North America in 1969, Dryvit EIFS Outsulation Systems™ has been helping the environment. Excess CO2 released into the atmosphere is the principal cause of global warming. Dryvit Outsulation Sytems™ requires considerably less fossil fuel than stucco and brick in the production stage.

Find out how to turn your project “green” by using Dryvit. Call us today.






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Hemcrete under manufacture in the U.K. PHOTOS: Lime Technology U.K.


For more information, please visit: GB



Gaining Ground in North America


insulate but to also regulate moisture. It’s not brittle, like cement, so it doesn’t necessarily require expansion joints. The product is marketed under trade names such as Hemcrete, Canobiote, Canosmose and Isochanvre. DCL Stouffville Medical Centre will include modular exterior hempcrete panels with the trade name Hemclad. They’re manufactured by American Lime Technology and fall within the company’s Tradical Hemcrete product line. According to the company’s marketing materials, Tradical Hemcrete locks up approximately 110 kilograms of carbon dioxide per cubic metre of wall. “They (panels) will be filled with a combination of Tradical Hemcrete and another breathable natural fibre insulation called Breathe,” says Matt Engelmann, American Lime Technology’s North American sales manager.



ame a building material that is waterproof, fireproof, insulates well, is completely recyclable, doesn’t rot when used above ground, and can be used as fertilizer if the building it’s in is ever torn down? It’s called hempcrete, and it’s slated for use as part of the DCL Stouffville Medical Centre project. Now, just to be clear, no one’s smoking it. Hempcrete does use industrial hemp, and this is illegal to grow in the United States, but it contains virtually no THC. Plain and simple, it’s a building material with applications ranging from roof insulation to flooring, but it’s mainly used in walls. It’s been available for years in the United Kingdom and other countries but is starting to show up in North America. Hempcrete contains the woody plant core, of course, but a key ingredient is lime, which is used for binding. This biocomposite building material is reputed to offer strong thermal and acoustic benefits, and many builders consider it easier to work with than more conventional lime mixes, with a big plus its ability not only to


By Saul Chernos

In addition, being significantly lighter, Dryvit Outsulation Systems™ require less fuel to transport and once it is part of the building less fossil fuel is required to heat and cool the structure.


You can’t see it, but there’s Hemcrete underneath this U.K. bus terminal’s wood panel façade.

O p e r at i n


Tiny Footprint

HUGE Benefits! Work crews are casting Hemcrete into wall panels on-site at a house under construction in Norfolk, England.


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

january 2012

january 2012

129 Ringwood Drive | Stouffville, ON L4A 8A2 905-642-0444 | |

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


TRENDS Look at the roof of Enviro Gazebo and you’ll see Enviroshake, a composite roofing product made partly from recycled tires. It’s used in place of cedar shingles. Photo: Ontario Tire Stewardship

By Andrew Horsman

Recycled Tires Drive Green Construction: Ontario Tire Stewardship


ld car and truck tires. You’ll find them lining docks in cottage country, neatly adorning gardens and playgrounds, and – sadly – tossed thoughtlessly into our lakes, rivers, streams and ditches. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) wants to see scrap tires in the province responsibly managed after their useful life has ended. At OTS, we want to expand the markets for Ontario tire-derived products, and as a result we’ve diverted more than 25 million tires from landfills and burning in the province since 2009. What connection, you might ask, does this have to the building industry? OTS participated in the 2011 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Toronto, and many people there asked us what a tire organization might possibly contribute to green building. In fact, OTS is involved in design and construction in many different ways, and we’ve been engaging with key players in the building products industry since the program’s inception. Participation in Greenbuild allowed us to showcase the technological advancements that have led to new and improved building products made from scrap tires. The show also offered us an opportunity to seek out new ways to work with influencers across the building industry to foster sustainability and product innovation. 34

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Through this kind of interaction, and our experience in the sustainable building space, we’ve observed many interesting trends that apply to construction. Here, then, are just a few of the green trends we predict the construction industry will see in 2012: 1. More projects and products opting for LEED certification In order to gain LEED certification for their projects, we are finding construction teams are increasingly open to using recycled content products, including those made from scrap tires. Historically, there has been a lack of awareness about tire-derived products, but OTS has increased its efforts to educate the construction industry and the public about the positive environmental impact and performance benefits of these products, and so we are seeing a marked increase in interest. People have heard of tires being reused as playground tiles or garden mulch, but there is a growing appreciation that they also make up commercial flooring, rubber shakes as roof shingles, carpet underlayment, rubber pavers for landscaping, and roof pavers for building protection and proper drainage. OTS recently helped five recycled rubber product manufacturers complete a thorough assessment of their product across all current LEED rating systems, priming these products to be integrated into the LEED building certification process.

2. A holistic approach to sustainability, including a focus on the lifecycle of products used One project that focuses on holistic sustainability, while putting tire-derived products to use, is Villa Angela, home of the Ursulines in Chatham, Ontario. The building was planned with the purpose of reducing environmental impact – 16 per cent of the materials used in the building are from recycled sources, including Enviroshake roof shingles. Unlike real cedar shakes, Enviroshake is maintenance-free and mold, mildew, and insect-resistant. In fact, 95 per cent of the materials used in the product are reclaimed materials involving a mixture of post-industrial plastics, recycled rubber, elastomers and cellulosic fibre materials. Additionally, any scrap materials generated during the Enviroshake manufacturing process are recycled back into the system, and the final product itself is recyclable. Projects like Villa Angela, which demonjanuary 2012

strate that a building’s lifecycle goes far beyond initial construction, are becoming increasingly commonplace. 3. Building sustainable structures that reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint Not only do structures need to last, they need to ensure they are reducing their carbon footprint from the moment they become operational. The redevelopment of Garrison Station, an office and retail site in Lakewood, Colorado, illustrates this. The building design includes a vegetated roof system to manage stormwater, and incorporates SofSURFACES’ SofTILE AP roof pavers, another tire-derived product. This helps reduce a building’s carbon footprint by creating functional access ways throughout the system and providing thermal and mechanical protection to the underlying roof membrane. SofTILE AP roof pavers help protect the commercial roof, improve drainage capabilijanuary 2012

ties and are built to distribute wind lift evenly across the entire roof surface. 4. Zero Waste Construction Through programs like LEED, the construction industry has become increasingly dedicated to reducing waste through sustainable practices such as the use of recycled materials and the incubation of take-back programs for building products. However, it’s going to take time to see a significant shift. For new construction projects, LEED awards up to two points for diverting between 50 and 75 per cent of demolition, land-clearing and construction waste from landfills, and redirecting recyclables back to the manufacturing process. LEED guidelines allow diversion to include the salvage of materials on-site and the donation of materials to charitable organizations. However, the construction industry has a long way to go in terms of reducing the amount of materials used and in increasing material re-use. According to Construction

Specifications Canada, construction and demolition waste makes up 23 per cent of the overall waste stream. The fact that a longterm waste diversion schedule is needed in Ontario to designate residential and industrial, commercial and institutional materials for diversion, including construction and demolition materials, was noted in the 2010/2011 Annual Report of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. In a few years, as our shift toward more sustainable living gains traction, it’s likely that these ‘trends’ will become commonplace. For inspiration, the building industry can also look to other industries that have managed the transition to more environmentally responsible practices. The packaging and auto industries are a far cry from construction, yet both are becoming increasingly sustainable and have important lessons to share in terms of marketing, consumer education and manufacturing. The outlook is certainly positive. As the construction industry maintains its focus on increasingly comprehensive sustainability strategies, we will continue to see new trends, new product innovations, and former tires working their way into building design and construction. Andrew Horsman is executive director of Ontario Tire Stewardship. Incorporated in 2009 under Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act, OTA operates the Used Tires Program, a provincewide recycling program. For more information on OTS or to find out how to make your next building project more environmentally-friendly by incorporating tire derived products, please visit GB Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



To Heat or Not to Heat: SolarWall Taps Sun from Stratford to Spain

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Valenciennes France


ext time you travel to Stratford in southwestern Ontario to get your fix of Shakespeare, look carefully at the walls of the Avon Theatre. Not only does the black cladding stand out visually, but it’s tapping the sun to heat the building. Conventional fuel-based heating systems pipe in cold outside air and then warm it up. On the other hand, solar air heating systems like the one lining the Avon Theatre convert solar radiation into hot air before it enters the building and reaches indoor heating and ventilation equipment. It’s designed to reduce fuel consumption and energy costs, it’s used in buildings around the world, and it’s Canadian. “Solar air heating offsets the heating load on a building and is used primarily in commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural applications,” says Victoria Hollick, vice-president of operations with Conserval Engineering in Toronto. Conserval is credited with inventing the technology back in the 1990s and holds various patents under the trade name SolarWall. While the name implies a wall-mount, SolarWall systems can also be placed atop a roof. In either case, it needs a metal exterior panel to allow the heated air to travel inside. Systems can even be combined with photovoltaic panels to create a hybrid system 36

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Toyota dealership, Oviedo Spain generating both heat and electricity. SolarWall systems have seen duty in more than 33 countries, with end users as diverse as Toyota, Wal-Mart and the U.S. military. However, it makes perfect sense that SolarWall was invented in Canada – indoor space heating represents the largest chunk of energy used in buildings in our northern climate, at between 40 and 60 percent, according to Hollick. She adds that SolarWall systems typically save between 20 to 50 per cent of a building’s heating costs. “Any building that has a heating de-

mand has potential application,” Hollick says. “The capital costs are significantly lower than any other renewable energy technology out there, and we’re able to convert up to 80 per cent of the solar resource into energy.” Conserval was formed in 1977 with a view to conducting energy audits for large industrial buildings such as those owned by auto manufacturers. Solar technology had begun to flourish in the early 1980s, thanks to government incentives, but the programs ended and Conserval responded by looking at issues associated with indoor ventilation. This led to a precursor to the SolarWall technology, and the rest is history. Over the years, Conserval has built its Canadian user base, looking to unconventional markets such as agriculture. “Animal barns have high ventilation, high air turnover, so january 2012

we’re helping to heat that air and, in turn, reduce their propane costs,” Hollick explains. Multi-residential buildings such as apartments and public housing are also prime candidates, especially if they need to be reclad. “Instead of putting up regular metal siding which has no energy benefits, they can put up a SolarWall system,” Hollick says. At the Avon theatre in Stratford, Solarwall systems cover the south, west and east-facing walls. The 2010 installation, part of an overall building upgrade, is projected to reduce more than 28,000 cubic metres of natural gas consumption annually, reduce heating costs by $7,000, and save 59 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Conserval. Other recent projects include the Canadian Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology building at McMaster University in Hamilton, which is seeking LEED Platinum certification through the Canada Green Building Council, and Goodyear Tire in Medicine Hat Alberta, where manufacturing operations boost high ventilation requirements and, consequently, heating needs. While Canadian-based, Conserval Engineering has taken a decidedly international approach. In 1990, it opened Conserval Systems, a subsidiary based in Buffalo, N.Y., and in 2009 formed SolarWall Europe, which operates from Paris and manages the company’s direct sales and dealer network across the pond. This past year, Conserval completed two projects for Toyota in Europe – a roof-mounted system to help heat a car dealership showroom in Spain, and a project for Toyota Manufacturing in France. “They’re bringing in air and then exhausting it,” Hollick explains. “They’re large users of energy, and they have a corporate manjanuary 2012

Avon Theatre, Stratford Ontario

CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory at McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton Ontario date to undertake these types of initiatives.” The ongoing drive to reduce costs and carbon emissions stands to help technologies such as SolarWall. “People think of automobiles as being the Co2 polluters, but in the developed world the bulk of Co2 emissions come from heating, cooling and powering buildings,” Hollick

says. “The most efficient way to help buildings tackle Co2 is to help them reduce their carbon footprint, and heating is a huge part of that.” For more information about Conserval Engineering and SolarWall please visit GB

Goodyear Tire, Medicine Hat Alberta. Photos: conserval engineering Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



By Steve Wenc

Five Tips for Achieving Sustainability

Taking on sustainability initiatives for buildings can seem daunting. However, tools such as environmental certifications, which help identify essential initial activities, can make green projects easier to achieve.


ools such as environmental certifications can provide competitive advantage and assurance that a building meets certain standards for sustainability. We recommend and outline five key steps building owners should consider before diving into green building certifications or other related programs.

STEP 1: Determine your project’s objectives If your project is a renovation or retrofit of an existing building, evaluate the building’s current sustainability accomplishments, procedures, and programs – from waste management and energy efficiency to indoor air quality and responsible use of materials and resources. Then, assess whether there are opportunities for improvement. Chances are, these will become your project objectives. By defining these objectives right away, you eliminate redundancy and ensure the completion of any unaddressed environmental initiatives. For new construction projects, the planning and design phase is critical. Use this time to outline your core objectives and prepare a course of action for meeting those objectives. It’s also useful to survey stakeholders in order to determine which environmental impacts are of highest priority to them. To help get you started, consider conducting a baseline analysis for existing buildings to determine the building’s sustainability efforts. We also recommend identifying which environmental impacts your stakeholders consider highest priority, and conducting research to understand which sustainability initiatives will yield the biggest return on investment. STEP 2: Establish a sustainability goal If a sustainability strategy is not already in place for the building, take time to define the goal of your building’s sustainability efforts. Refer to your baseline analysis and set priorities, starting with ‘lowest-hanging-fruit’ activities that will offer the greatest return with the least amount of effort. Encourage participation from other employees and staff to promote collaboration and broad adoption of critical activities, such as water use reduction or carpooling. Sustainability goals could include assessing what your company or building needs to do to become certified, and identifying two or three easy initiatives that would save money each year. STEP 3: Assess environmental certifications Look for credible, third-party product certifications that match your sustainability goals to ensure that your building’s products complement your project objectives and help


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

you achieve your desired level of green building certification. Product certifications include GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification, EcoLogo, or UL Environment, and products can be evaluated and certified for a variety of sustainable attributes including low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, recycled content, and lifecycle analysis (LCA). The same type of scrutiny should be applied to green building certifications. When evaluating products, ask if the environmental claims related to the product have been certified or verified by a truly independent, unbiased, third-party organization. It’s also worth considering whether or not the product’s environmental attributes complement your project objectives and sustainability strategy. STEP 4: Gain stakeholder buy-in Reaching your sustainability goals is much easier if you have the support of stakeholders, including the building owner, occupants, the builder or contractor, and the property manager. Make sure they approve your plans before initiating work – this will help ensure successful adoption of those plans. STEP 5: Develop a project turnover plan Having a project turnover plan is critical to ensuring your green building stays green, as occupants and maintenance teams can change multiple times over the lifespan of the building. A plan requires that new tenants, property managers, and maintenance teams have a training manual on how to operate and maintain the building properly so that sustainability performance stays on track. This manual can also be shared with staff members so they, too, can support the sustainability efforts of the building or company. Our final advice: Don’t give up! Some projects might be slower than others, and some green building certifications may be harder to achieve. Keep your sustainability goals and project objectives handy and reference them often. A greener, high-performance building is closer than you think. Steve Wenc is president of UL Environment, a business unit of UL (Underwriters Laboratories). He can be reached at Stephen. For more information, please visit GB january 2012

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) green building rating system evaluates a building’s environmental performance from a whole-building perspective and over a building’s entire life cycle, from planning and design to construction and operation. BOMA BESt: This four-level performance certification program, launched by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada, includes standards for energy and environmental performance of existing buildings. Green Globes: This certification system, developed by the Green Building Initiative (GBI), offers online auditing tools to assess the design of new buildings, significant renovations, the

Green Building Certifications and Resources

performance measures and guidelines for sustainable site and building design for new development: www. greendevelopment.htm. Find out what your municipality is doing about green building by visiting that municipality’s website.

management and operation of existing buildings, and more.

International Green Construction Code (IgCC): This green construction code provides a practical regulatory framework to help reduce the environmental impact of commercial construction.

Municipal Green Construction Standards: Cities in Canada are taking on green building in some unique ways. Vancouver has its own Green Buildings program, which aims to align regulations and bylaws to facilitate the design and construction of green buildings: Toronto’s Green Standard offers

BREEAM: An environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, BREEAM helps to set the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation. Steve Wenc GB

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By Saul Chernos

Andrew Pride: Energy Conservation a Hot Ticket for 2012


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


nergy conservation gained momentum in the latter part of 2011 and this trend stands to continue in 2012, says Andrew Pride, vice-president of conservation with the Ontario Power Authority. “Conservation is on the cusp of becoming really mainstream,� says Pride, who led green efforts at Minto before joining the OPA nearly two years ago. The current economic slowdown has increased the public appetite for conservation and sustainability, but Pride says there was interest in better times, too. “It’s shifted between need and want, but it’s always sat in a fairly decent zone, and as the decades have gone by we’ve seen these cycles go up and down. In the last while, though, we’ve seen a strong, continual upward motion on conservation, and we expect this will continue to accelerate.� Perhaps it’s no surprise, but Pride attributes this in part to incentive programs and a strong message that conservation is good for the pocketbook as well as for the electricity grid and natural gas services. Ontario Hydro had programs back in the 1980s and 1990s, but recalls efforts back then as somewhat fragmented, with a surge in interest that soon faded. However, more recent programs have renewed interest and activity. Pride says the Ontario government included conservation in its long term energy plan, and this is starting to pay off, with forecasts that the province will cut consumption by 7,100 megawatts, or 28 billion kilowatt hours, by 2030. “I’m seeing nothing but acceleration in the conservation world,� Pride says, adding that Ontario is increasingly being seen as a world leader in conservation. So what’s on tap for 2012? Industry and other businesses will continue to look for ways to find efficiencies and trim their bottom line, and sustainability is key in this regard, Pride says. “To get good economic returns they’ll need to look at operating costs, and utilities represent a big portion of those operating costs, so the trend will continue to move

Features include refrigerator and freezer pick-ups, rebates for new furnaces, and programs for businesses that reduce their power consumption. The OPA has also provided funding for local electricity distributors and large industrial users to hire energy engineers and managers to source solutions. “There’s a lot of training and capability building going on, with funding for people to go and sniff out ideas to reduce energy consumption in their buildings,� Pride said. “We started these programs in 2011 and have seen a lot of take-up. We haven’t seen verified numbers yet, but the last quarter of 2011 looks like it’s going to be pretty stellar.� The OPA has also used its conservation

down the path of reducing dependency on electricity, gas and water.� One major concern for developers, builder and property owners going forward is the Feed-In-Tariff program and its MicroFIT counterpart. These are currently under review, and Pride says the OPA received substantial stakeholder input late last year and it’s too early to comment or make predictions. Still, Pride says he expects the conservation programs he oversees will continue to accelerate. For starters, the province’s local energy distributors are required as a condition of licence by the Ontario Energy Board to achieve specific kilowatt-hour hour reduction targets. “This goes from 2011 to 2014, so that’s a strong mandate to ensure it’s in place, and it’s helping drive our conservation success in Ontario,� Pride said. “Voluntary efforts such as LEED certifications are now being backstopped by the fact that the people who deliver electricity have to provide ideas and topics to try to reduce the amount of electricity you consume.� As well last year, the OPA launched saveONenergy, with incentives targeted at different constituencies, including consumers, business, industry and Aboriginal communities.


january 2012

january 2012

fund to help companies test new energy-saving products and get them to market, and also worked with architects, engineers and builders to address building and electricity codes and standards and how they relate to energy efficiency. “That’s a huge trend,� Pride says. “People use to be challenged with how to get to be 25 per cent better than the model national energy code for buildings, and today we’re seeing buildings coming in at over 50 per

cent better efficiency. The OPA’s New home construction program started 2011. Geared at energy efficiencies and savings, it has had limited exposure in 2011 but Pride sees it ramping up this year as people hear more about it. “I think the marketplace is really transforming. I certainly saw it when I was doing condos when I was working at Minto, and I’m seeing it now here with a lot of the large builders.� GB

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ÂŽÂ?ČąÂ?‘Žȹ Čą¥™Ž›Â?ÂœČąÂŠÂ?Čą—Ž›Â?¢ȹŠÂ&#x;’—Â?Čą›˜Â?žŒÂ?ÂœČąÂ‘ÂŽÂ•Â™ČąÂ˘Â˜ÂžČąÂŒÂ‘Â˜Â˜ÂœÂŽČąÂ?‘Žȹ



By Bobby Burnell

—œž•ŠÂ?ÂŽÂ?Čą–Š••ȹ’Š–ŽÂ?Ž›ȹ •Ž¥’‹•ŽȹžŒÂ?ȹ ’Â?‘ȹ˜ž—Â?Čą ‹œ˜›‹’—Â?Čą ——Ž›ȹÂ˜Â›ÂŽÇ°ČąÄ™Â?ÂœČą Â’Â—ČąÂŒÂ˜Â—Ä™Â—ÂŽÂ?ČąÂŠÂ›ÂŽÂŠÂœČąÂ Â’Â?Â‘ČąÂ—Â˜Čą Â–ÂŠÂ“Â˜Â›ČąÂ›ÂŽÂ–Â˜Â?Ž••’—Â?


—Ž›Â?¢ȹ–Š›Â?ČąŠ›’Š‹•Žȹ Â›ÂŽÂšÂžÂŽÂ—ÂŒÂ˘Čą›’Â&#x;ÂŽČą˜Â?˜› œŠÂ&#x;ÂŽÂœČąÂŒÂžÂœÂ?Â˜Â–ÂŽÂ›ÂœČąÂžÂ™ČąÂ?Â˜Čą Ĺ›Ĺ–Ć–ČąÂ˜Â—ČąÂ˜Â™ÂŽÂ›ÂŠÂ?’—Â?ČąÂŒÂ˜ÂœÂ?Âœ Š—¢ȹĴ›ŠŒÂ?Â’Â&#x;ÂŽČąŽ—Â?Čą•ŠÂ?ÂŽČą Â’Â—Â’ÂœÂ‘ÂŽÂœČąÂ&#x;Š’•Š‹•Ž

Photos: Solistic Energy


n today’s volatile economic and climatic environment, the daily news is alarming. Floods, twisters and other weatherrelated disasters rang up a $1.5 billion insurance bill in 2011, the second highest in Canadian history, according to news reports. While the impact of climate change is real, solutions seem beyond reach. However, we could make a difference towards preserving our environment for future generations worldwide if each of us took even modest steps. The Ontario government has opened the door with its Feed-In-Tariff program, fa-


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

cilitating the installation of photovoltaic (PV) electric grid systems, geothermal and wind turbine systems. However, initial investment costs make this challenging for many of us. As a retired woodworking manufacturer and concerned citizen, I was looking for a more economical way to help our environment when I discovered solar thermal technology. Unlike PV systems, which generate electricity, solar thermal systems can be integrated with existing hot water systems in order to help offset their dependence on fuel sources such as propane, natural gas and electricity. Facilitated by

the sun’s ultra violet rays rather than by direct sunlight, solar thermal systems can also help existing hot-water-on-demand systems and furnaces during winter as well as summer months. Through the simple introduction of a water-to-air coil to the cold air intake on a furnace, and a heat exchanger to a hot water tank, a home or business owner could reduce the demand placed on a conventional furnace or hot water tank. I’m not suggesting solar thermal systems would solve all our problems.

Â?ŽŠ•ȹÂ?Â˜Â›ČąŽœ’Â?Ž—Â?’Š•ǰȹ ž•Â?Â’ČŹÂ?Š–’•¢ǰȹÂŽÂ?›˜ęÂ?ȹŠ—Â?Čą Â˜Â–Â–ÂŽÂ›ÂŒÂ’ÂŠÂ•Čą™™•’ŒŠÂ?’˜—œ ÂŠÂ’Â›ÂœČąÂŽÂŠÂœÂ’Â•Â˘ČąÂ Â’Â?‘ȹÂ?‘Žȹ

Â’ČŹŽ•˜Œ’Â?¢ȹ’›ȹž›’ęŒŠÂ?Â’Â˜Â—Čą Â˘ÂœÂ?Ž–ǰȹ ’Â?‘ȹ‘˜Â?Â˜ČŹŠÂ?Š•¢Â?Â’ÂŒČą Š—Â?ȹȹ’Â?‘Â?ČąŽŒ‘—˜•˜Â?Â’ÂŽÂœ



Continued on Page 44 january 2012


january 2012

ÂžÂ•ÂœÂŽČąÂ’Â?Â?‘ȹ˜Â?ž•ŠÂ?Â’Â˜Â—Čą ÇťǟȹÂ˜Â—ÂŽČą˜—Â?Â›Â˜Â•Â•ÂŽÂ›Čą Â’ÂœČąÂŠÂ&#x;Š’•Š‹•ŽȹÂ?Â˜Â›Čą˜Â?ž•ŠÂ?’—Â?Čą ’›ȹŽ•’Â&#x;Ž›¢ȹÂ?Â›Â˜Â–ČąĹ—ČŚĹ˜ČąÂ?Â˜ČąĹ›Čą˜—


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Solar Thermal Continued from Page 42 However, they’re a practical, affordable start and could easily be implemented in all existing and new housing stock. In fact, architects are already integrating energy efficiency systems into schools and other buildings, substantially reducing operating costs. However, while solar thermal is becoming commonplace throughout Europe and Asia, Canada is lagging behind and needs to step up to the plate. The reduction of overall demand on fossil fuels through the introduction of green energy alternatives should be the rule, not the exception, and our governments need to encourage the adoption of solar thermal by offering incentives and easing the bureaucracy. Incentives and rebates could be administered directly through manufacturer and dealers of energy-efficient and energy-reducing products. Alternatively, the industry could be encouraged to grow and expand independently through measures such as tax relief, reduced import and shipping taxes, and manufacturing incentives. Governments also need to amend building and other codes regulating new construction and retrofits. For example, the government in British Columbia government has recommending building regulations be altered to incorporate obligations required for the installation of solar hot water systems. Governing bodies could promote energy-reducing products and services by simplifying the process and making the savings immediate so that consumers are encouraged to purchase such products rather than avoid them as a result of ignorance or frustration. Instead of more bureaucratic jobs, we need more installation and manufacturing jobs. With product costs reduced at the source, going green would become more affordable. The Ontario Government recently announced a proposed tax credit to address this very issue. Unfortunately, the proposal references tax relief for biomass, wind turbine and PV systems, but does not mention solar thermal or geothermal. An existing rebate for solar thermal installations exists, however there are strings attached. A home inspection and re-inspection is required, with the homeowner footing a portion of the inspection bill following a successful installation. Solar Thermal hot water systems offer an economical option for the average home or business owner. My own company, Solistic 44

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Energy, has documented this through a study based on a residential installation with five occupants in Acton, Ontario. Details on our web site demonstrate an annual savings of approximately $1,000. Costing as little as $5,000, the payback could be as early as five years. Individual actions do not have to be herculean to be meaningful. If we all change the way we think in modest ways, working with the systems we already have in our homes

and businesses, we could make a difference through the application of solar thermal, PV, geothermal and LED systems. If each of us takes that first step forward, we will achieve a greener world one step at a time. Bobby Burnell is managing director for Solistic Energy Inc. He can be reached at For more information please visit GB

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Taking LED LED to to the the next nextlevel level THE EnduraLED EnduraLED 10W 10W MR16 MR16LED LEDLAMP LAMP

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Energy Saving Products......................... Page 43 Flowmax Technologies.......................... Back Cover Groundheat . ......................................... Page 31 Homesol Building Solutions................... Page 29 Martino Contractors............................... Page 13 Quest Geothermal.................................. Page 39 Owens Corning....................................... Page 5 Philips Canlyte....................................... Inside Back Cover

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Reliance Home Comfort......................... Page 3 RHVCA.................................................... Page 25 YT Architectural Services........................ Page 27 january 2012

january 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Comfort and control.

Tankless condensing combination water heaters from Flowmax Flowmax condensing wall hung water heaters with on-demand domestic water production represents the latest technological know-how in producing space heating and domestic water production. The efficient Energy Star approved compact design products allows for ease of installation for new construction and retrofit applications. The availability of three model capacities and burner modulation affords flexibility in design and the ability to meet varying requirements for domestic water. The Flowmax water heaters can be used with multiple hydronic heating systems incorporating radiators, fan coils or in-floor heating while maintaining high efficiency levels and control. The products are manufactured with a corrosion resistant stainless steel heat exchanger for long life. The units also have a built in expansion tank, circulating pump and a flat plate heat exchanger. These Energy Star approved products offer a 10 year warranty on the main heat exchanger and 5 years on parts. The direct venting for these units can be installed with 2” or 3” PVC ULC S636 pipe and fittings with a maximum length up to 100 ft. These units have been certified by Intertek.

71 Innovation Drive, Unit 8 & 9, Vaughan, 46 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies Ontario L4H 0S3 Tel. 905.264.1414 Fax: 905.264.1147 january 2012

GB & SS Magazine - January 2012  

Green Building and Sustainable Strategies Magazine - January 2012 Issue

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