GB & SS Magazine - April 2012

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Green BuildinG Green & SuStainable StrategieS

& SuStainable StrategieS SPRING 2012



Installing a House




Let Mother Nature In

After the (LEED) Gold Rush

Passive House

Enbridge’s new “Savings by Design” incentive program for green buildings






Smart is saving money. Without sacrificing comfort.

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spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

From the Publisher’s Desk


GreenBuildinG GreenBuildinG GreenBuildinG & SuStainable StrategieS

Volume 1, Number 2 • Spring 2012

spring 2012

Green GreenBuildinG

& SuStainable StrategieS


a Welcome Relief


his month the Ontario government concluded its review of the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program and, not surprisingly, it created some reactions because of what it said, what it didn’t say and what hasn’t yet been released. In general, however, solar installers breathed a sigh of relief. They may not agree with everything the government is doing, but a recommitment to the program was critical to their livelihood. Life is more difficult for Ontario solar products manufacturers, who have been hurt by a worldwide drop in panel prices and by the strength of the Canadian dollar. FIT Program changes of course include significant cuts to the price that will be paid under future electricity generation contracts, but this was expected, and really should be seen as reasonable. More importantly, there are commitments to greater municipal and local involvement and the suggestion that contract application processing will be streamlined, particularly for smaller projects. These are critical and must be delivered. Taxpayer groups have argued that the original 80+ cents paid for MicroFIT projects was too high, and so it was, economically speaking. On the other hand, although FeedIn-Tariffs allow governments to keep their regions involved with profitable businesses of the future, rather than increasingly unviable businesses, they are not economic programs really; they are political programs. They drive change using an incentive designed to attract attention and to stimulate transition in industry,

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

expertise, innovation and technological development. To this extent, Ontario has begun to achieve its purpose. In less than a decade 9000+ MW of clean energy has been added, enough to power both Toronto and Ottawa. Last year wind and solar produced more energy than coal in the Province. The largest 10 solar farms in Canada are all found in Ontario, with the FIT program attracting $20 billion in investment and creating about 20,000 new jobs. It is appropriate to start making some downward adjustments, so that once the economy has fully completed the transition, incentives can disappear. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. The oil industry is still being subsidized. In any case, solar installers can now get on with satisfying the continuing huge demand for solar power from ordinary Ontario citizens. This is good news indeed. Until next time, Giulio Marinescu Publisher

2109-256 Doris Ave. Toronto, ON M2N 6X8

& SuStainable StrategieS SPRING 2012

PUBLISHER: Giulio Marinescu & SuStainable StrategieS 416-250-0664

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Tony Lomuto Graphic Designs Unlimited

aPPlEwood aIR coNdItIoNING Hurtling toward tomorrow


Photographer: Graham Dickhout Photography Contributors: Niklas Moeller • Robert Middlebrooks Mimi Shao • Marylene Vestergom Anne O’Hagan • Jim Harris • Terry Petkau Glenn MacMillan • Chris Magwood Raj Mohabeer • Paul Keenan Jason Rivait Submit articles, event, news to 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 © 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

Installing a House




Let Mother Nature In

After the (LEED) Gold Rush

Passive House


Cover photo courtesy of William R. Dewson Architect

16 4 Installing a House 8

Acoustical Challenges in Green Buildings


Let Mother Nature In


This Year’s CaGBC National Conference & Expo Looks Beyond Buildings Toward ‘The Green City’

15 North Bay Regional Health Centre: Challenges in Greening Healthcare 16

Better HVAC Design Decisions with Infinite Computing


LAW: Questions & Answers


Enbridge as a Leader in Sustainable Initiatives Launching the Savings by Design Program


23 Rebel With a Cause 28

GREENbilt Homes


Questions & Answers: Paul Dowsett Arch.


LED Retrofit Revolution Signaled by Sears $4.5M Lighting Project


Habitat for Humanity Canada is in the LEED with Affordable Green Building


37 Passive-Aggressive Home Building 40

Dennison Homes Builds with the Future in Mind

42 Now Available in Canada Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control 44

How to Make Canada’s Greenest Home


Transit to Transform our Communities Lessons from South of the Border

20 spring 2012 2012 spring

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



Installing a House


uring winter on January 25, 2012, Nexterra Green Homes installed a house in North York, Ontario in just one afternoon and evening. That’s right, ‘installed’ rather than ‘built.’ It was a modular prefabricated home. The difference between this house in 2012 and prefabs installed during the past 50 years might be the price tag. This Ray Kappe design sells for about $1.7 million. Three more modular homes will be installed on the same site. For pre-fabs to make a comeback and become the next big thing, you might think they would have to represent a less expensive way to build. In fact, despite the hefty asking price on this first Senlac Avenue home, it is competitive in its neighbourhood, and there are a lot of good reasons to look at factory built construction. The Next Big Thing? “I don’t think in the future every house will be a pre-built modular,” says Nexterra’s Gary Lands, “But I think there will be more homes built this way and in particular there will be more modules used, perhaps in combination with site-building.” He points out several advantages, such as total construction time, reduction of waste material and minimal weather damage during construction. The house in question was installed in a single day, but of course total construction time is more like six months. It took only about 6 working days for a large team of factory tradesmen in Indiana to build the modules, but this could not begin until all materials and parts had been received at the plant. Ordering and receiving these was a twomonth process. In addition, the building site had to be prepared, the basement built, and utility work completed. The difference is that this process could be undertaken simultaneously with the factory creation of the upper floor modules, rather than on the traditional linear con Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

struction timeline. You don’t wait for the basement to be complete before starting the upper levels.

Green appliances: Available in stainless steel

Built In Half The Time In both cases, once the shell is in place, finishing begins and takes months. The first Senlac house will be shown for sale in early April, about 11 weeks after installation. Because the modules arrived with windows already installed and most of the external facing in place, this was faster than usual too. Not bad for a three-storey 2,130 square foot detached house with 10 foot ceilings, four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, finished 9 ft high basement, two-car garage, plus multi-level exterior decks. “I think if it was not a modular home, this particular house would have taken about a year to build, or about twice as long,” says Lands, “This is significant if you think about the cost of capital.” Solidly Built “And there are other advantages. In a climate controlled and quality controlled factory environment, there is less chance of human error caused by bitter cold, high winds or precipitation. Tradesmen are patient and precise. They usually live near the factory so there is reduced cost of travel and reduced worker stress. There is more control over design execution and the geometry of a box provides strength. The result should be a higher quality home. And it has to be solidly built because it is going to be transported by truck to the site, with the windows already in it.” The North York home travelled about 725 kilometres, then was lifted by cranes from flatbed trucks onto the foundation on-site. Modules were nudged into position with a backhoe.

For 25 years Euro-Line Appliances Inc. has made some of Europe’s greenest appliance brands available here in Canada. A track record of selecting brands that represent the best in class for energy efficiency, sustainable design and superior performance make them the natural choice for Toronto’s first modern prefab community – the Nexterra LivingHomes ®. Visit our website to learn more about the preferred appliance brands of Nexterra Green Homes.



Continued on Page 6 spring 2012

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Continued from Page 4

As with any factory process, it gets more efficient over time. Waste material is more precisely calculated and avoided. Leftover material doesn’t sit in the mud for several weeks. The building itself is exposed to the elements for shorter periods and therefore sustains very little damage during construction that might haunt a builder later. And the neighbours complain less. Leed Platinum The house is extremely energy efficient and Nexterra expects it will be LEED Gold, or possibly LEED Platinum. It will be heated and cooled using a geothermal system of three 300-foot deep wells. It features a white roof, which reduces energy consumption, and it was built to be solar-ready. The factory-made envelope is super-insulated using soybased polyurethane foam insulation. Energy Star® certified fiber-

glass windows and Energy Star® appliances have been installed. Plumbing fixtures are low-flow and much of the lighting is LED. LEED awards four points for off-site fabrication, and the plan scores high for environmentally preferable products and waste management. One of the unique features of this long-life house design is a special rain screen system that permits rainwater to flow between exterior panels and the building wrap, allowing air flow between structure layers for effective drying. This means less rot over time because water penetration is minimized. Not all projects are built on prime ravine lots with premium budgets, but if pre-fabs continue to make a comeback, housebuilding might be able to increase efficiency. Perhaps this will permit more designed-in green and long-life features; in other words home building the way we all know it should be. GB

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Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

spring 2012

spring 2012

© 2012 Lennox Industries Inc.

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Acoustical Challenges in Green Buildings

Workstation panels should also be absorptive – at least on the inside, above the work surface – in order to reduce the volume of the occupant’s voice before it is reflected into the space. If the space is narrow in order to promote natural light penetration, absorptive wall panels should also be used in order to prevent sounds from ricocheting between the exterior wall and core. Soft flooring should be used to reduce footfall or ‘traffic’ noise. Block Green buildings generally feature a large percentage of open plan. In these areas, the height of workstation panels is essential to blocking noise. Panels should extend beyond seated head height (60 to 65 inches) or they will do little more than hold up the desks. If day lighting is a concern, compromise by using absorptive panels to a 48-inch height and top them with 12 inches of glass or another transparent material. Also ensure that the panels have a high Sound Transmission Class and that they are well-sealed along any joints, with no significant opens between or below them. In order to reduce waste, many green designs use movable walls to create private offices and meeting rooms. However, these walls may not provide the level of sound isolation needed from one space to another. Gaps along the ceiling, exterior walls and floor should be addressed during installation. A good septum dividing each side of the wall is also advisable in order to prevent sound leakage along any cable raceways.

By Niklas Moeller, MBA

A sound masking system installed in an open ceiling. Photo Mark Trew © SHW Group


ost occupancy evaluations reveal that the acoustics in sustainable commercial interiors are typically worse than that of their traditional counterparts, a deficiency the United States Green Building Council is attempting to address with the introduction of LEED® Pilot Credit 24: Acoustics in November, 2010. While an acoustic credit certainly helps draw attention to this vital aspect of workplace performance, it is also important to have a firm understanding of the elements involved in providing speech privacy Hard surfaces such as glass, concrete, wood and metal can be aesthetically appealing; however, they also reflect noises, allowing them to last longer, travel further and cause more disruption. Photo © iStockphoto. com/Clicks.

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

and controlling noise, and why many of the current strategies used to improve airflow, temperature regulation, energy conservation and daylighting tend to lower acoustic performance. The ABC Rule provides a good framework for this discussion. This acronym stands for the principal methods used by building professionals to achieve effective acoustics: absorb, block and cover. Absorb Many green buildings feature an exposed deck. While it may assist with temperature regulation and day lighting, this tactic also eliminates what is often the most significant source of absorption in a facility: a suspended ceiling. Ideally, open spaces should feature a ceiling tile with at least a 0.75 Noise Reduction Coefficient. Tiles used in closed spaces should have a high Ceiling Attenuation Class, because they will be better at containing sounds. If this route is not taken, absorption needs to be provided by other means. Even adding absorptive panels to 30 percent of the deck will have some impact. Another option is to use vertical baffles. If a concrete deck is not being used to implement passive heating/cooling, but an open ceiling is still desired, an alternative is to use a perforated and corrugated metal deck with an absorptive material placed behind the perforations before the concrete is poured. spring 2012

Cover Many people believe they will achieve effective acoustics by implementing just these first two strategies: absorbing and blocking noise. While important, these methods simply reduce and contain noise. The final step of the ABC Rule involves ensuring that the background sound level in the space is sufficient to provide speech privacy and reduce the amount of disruption caused by the remaining noises in the space. The background sound level in most conventional offices is already too low. The use of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems means that it is generally even lower in green buildings. Conversations and noises can easily be heard, even from afar, and are more disruptive. These problems are exacerbated when open windows are used to assist with air circulation, allowing exterior sounds to drift inside. A networked sound masking system should be used to replenish the background sound level and maintain it at an appropriate volume, which

Absorptive materials reduce the energy and, therefore, the volume of noises reflected off their surfaces back into the space.

spring 2012

The workplace should provide occupants with speech privacy, comfort and freedom from distracting noises, and enable them to work without disrupting others. Photo © iStockphoto/erel photography.

is typically between 40 and 48 dBA in commercial interiors. This type of system consists of a series of loudspeakers that are usually installed in a grid-like pattern in or above the ceiling. Unlike airflow, the sound they distribute is continuous and has been specifically engineered to increase speech privacy. Masking also covers up intermittent noises or reduces their impact by decreasing the amount of change between the baseline and peak volumes, improving overall acoustical comfort. Finally, by using a networked masking system, users have the flexibility to easily make adjustments to its setup as their needs change (e.g. volume changes in a specific area). Attention to acoustics does not have to be at odds with sustainability. Indeed, one could argue that providing a fully functional environment is vital to creating a truly ‘green’ space: one that, as the U.S. Green Building Council stipulates, not only wastes minimal resources, but is also healthy and nurturing to occupants. Though applying the ABCs incurs some cost, even a small positive impact on productivity can easily outweigh this initial investment. Niklas Moeller is vice-president of K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd., a global developer and manufacturer of sound masking system, LogiSon Acoustic Network ( K.R. Moeller is headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. He can be reached at GB

Blocking noise is achieved through barriers such as walls and workstation panels, as well as through an effective layout.

A sound masking system covers noise and increases speech privacy with an engineered sound most often compared to that of softly blowing air. Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Let Mother Nature In

Light. Air. Earth. Sun. Water. Harmony.


t the celebration to mark the unveiling of 27 Farnham Avenue in Toronto, soft-spoken Architect William Dewson made a respectful speech, thanking the owner, the general contractor and many other building partners. It felt unforced, modest and natural, yet he had designed and realized an outstanding creation; a home that brings together many of the ideal elements of contemporary house-building. Dewson works on dream homes and cottage properties, and he loves the outdoors. This is obvious when he describes his practice. “The symbiotic relationship between the natural environment and our projects is inspired by organic architecture and sustainable solutions to shelter.” They aren’t just words. LIGHT The LEED Gold or Platinum home on Farnham is filled with natural light as the back wall of each floor is nearly all glass, and a big central skylight spills luminescence through three floors, even into a basement apartment, through a glass floor on the ground level. There are more skylights over the kitchen and top floor rooms. Generous windows are Canadianmade, Loewen triple glazed, low-E argon filled, with thermal edge spacers and Douglas Fir wood frames. The exception is the huge living room sliding glass wall from Bauhaus, which is eco-glass doubleglaze plus reflective heat-mirror film and Krypton. This solution equates to triple glazing, achieving a 9.9 Rvalue, but with less weight. Heat mirror film is transparent to visible light, and reflects radiation back to the source; keeping the room cool in summer and warm in winter.


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

spring 2012

Artificial light includes LED strips and a daylight harvester which continuously samples the light levels from natural and artificial sources and adjusts control output to the fixtures, maintaining a set point. Settings can be locked in, or override dimmers can be deployed. AIR The big windows and many of the skylights are operable and complemented by a reductive cooling system which pumps air through a fan coil and along dynamic partitions in the ceiling toward the windows. “This allows it to float down, rather than blowing cold air on the feet and up the spine. Cooling works best from above and heat should radiate upwards from the slab,” says Dewson. In winter the house is conditioned via the geo ground source pump, through bottom-up radiant floor slabs, and also through an energy recovery ventilator, a fan coil, humidifier and HEPA air filtration. The envelope of the building is at near-Passivhaus standards. It’s ultra-insulated exterior walls reach R-35. The insulated lowest level concrete slab is R-20. Structural framing is wrapped with exterior polyisocyanurate foil faced panels that eliminate 95% of thermal bridges (and emit zero HCFCs). Also a reverse insulation system on the rooftop below the membrane achieves R-40, because it is applied to the exterior. Window shim and joist cavities are filled with spray foam from soy/vegetable oils and polyethylene from recycled plastic bottles. PIC joints, seams, fixture wells, filter housings, electrical and communication boxes and vent ducts are all carefully taped and caulked. Paints are low VOC. Wood flooring and Oak, Maple and Birch millwork are low or no VOC; including veneers which are locally pressed onto respring 2012

gionally milled non-formaldehyde boards. Polished ultra-low maintenance concrete floors require no sealers or waxes. To guard against interstitial condensation, dryers and bathrooms vent to the exterior. Plumbing is not located in outside walls. Cold water pipes and toilet tanks are insulated. EARTH The geothermal system consists of six 180-foot deep wells. Each well supplies one ton of Mother Nature’s heating or cooling. The water-to-water system uses organic ethanol in the below-grade section, ensuring that any leak would not contaminate the water table. During excavation and construction a comprehensive erosion and containment plan protected the soil. SUN On the roof of the house 25 bifacial panels work with a white roof to generate 7 kilowatts of electricity that feeds directly into the Ontario power grid. The system will pay for itself in 10 years, after which the homeowner will enjoy 10 more years on her Feed-in Tariff contract, receiving 80+ cents per kilowatt/hour generated. The white roof reflects 89% of the suns rays, which helps photovoltaic efficiency and reduces the heat island effect, cutting cooling costs by more than 20%. Bifacial panels use direct sunlight plus reflected sunlight and are considered about 30% more efficient. Electricity costs will be reduced with the use of Energy Star appliances. The solar panel array was also designed to hang over the rear roof edge, providing window shade, and later when a planned deck is added, partial shading for the deck. Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


This Year’s CaGBC National Conference & Expo Looks Beyond Buildings Toward ‘The Green City’

WATER Not surprisingly, plumbing fixures are low flow and toilets are dual flush. Domestic hot water heating costs are minimized by geothermal pre-heating. A rainwater system and cistern were considered but Dewson opted instead for drought-tolerant native plants, no invasive species, a dry well and a permeable parking pad area. The pad is pre-wired for installation of an electric-car charging system. Numerous specifications such as drip edges, sealing and extra membrane protect the house from moisture and control water flow.


ith a theme that looks Beyond Buildings toward The Green City, this year’s CaGBC National Conference & Expo promises to lay the groundwork of ideas for future innovation, as the industry works to move Canada toward a more holistic approach to city planning and neighbourhood design. Taking place in Toronto this June, this event – the largest of its kind in Canada – will bring together green building experts and enthusiasts from across the country for three days of great events, ideas and networking.

HARMONY Before the previous home was dismantled Habitat for Humanity inspected and recovered both kitchens, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, doors and windows. Recycling of demolition waste was more than 80% efficient thanks to fastidious organization by general contractor Southpark Design Build. “I can’t say enough about how great Southpark was throughout the process,� says Dewson. “They took sustainability very seriously and managed all of the materials well.� Brick for the project was reclaimed from a warehouse demolition in Woodstock, Ontario at a cost of about half what it would be worth. Douglas Fir timber for trusses and steel columns and beams came from Canadian forces airplane hangars in Trenton and Ottawa. Floor joists came from a factory near London Ontario. Harmony. Water. Sun. Earth. Light. Symbiotic indeed. GB

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Here are just a few highlights of the sessions taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this June: Existing Building Commissioning: Making the Best of It, Starting now and Making it Last As building owners and operators look to improve building performance and reduce utility costs, energy audits have become more popular. Join John Kokko, Vice-President and Director of Commissioning Services for Enermodal Engineering, and Jason Manikel, Mechanical Building Systems Engineer with Halsall, for an in-depth look into how no- or low-cost operational improvements can get your building operating at the highest level possible as soon as possible.

To accomplish this, there will be over 30 education sessions being led by a stellar line-up of industry experts. These sessions are organized in six comprehensive streams that look at everything from Revitalizing Existing Neighbourhoods, to Sustainable Building Materials, Moving Beyond Zero: Next Generation Buildings and Communities, Advances in Building Performance Management, Innovation in Greening Homes and Affordable Housing, and of course The Greenest Cities: Planning, Policies and Implementation. Even better, all sessions at the 2012 conference are accredited for continuing education.

Â’ČŹ Ž•˜Œ’Â?¢ȹ ¢ÂœÂ?ÂŽÂ–ÂœČąÂŠÂ›ÂŽČąÂŽÂ—Â?’—ŽŽ›ŽÂ?ČąÂ?Â˜ČąÂ?Ž•’Â&#x;Ž›ȹšž’ŽÂ?ČąÂŒÂ˜Â–Â?˜›Â?Ç°ČąÂœÂžÂ™ÂŽÂ›Â’Â˜Â›ČąÂ™ÂŽÂ›Â?Â˜Â›Â–ÂŠÂ—ÂŒÂŽČąÂŠÂ—Â?ȹŽ—Ž›Â?¢ȹŽĜŒ’Ž—Œ¢ǯ ÂŽÂ?ČąÂ?‘Žȹ Čą ¥™Ž›Â?ÂœČąÂŠÂ?Čą —Ž›Â?¢ȹ ŠÂ&#x;’—Â?Čą ›˜Â?žŒÂ?ÂœČąÂ‘ÂŽÂ•Â™ȹ¢Â˜ÂžČąÂŒÂ‘Â˜Â˜ÂœÂŽČąÂ?‘Žȹ

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

˜Â?ž•Š›ȹ Š—ȹ Â˜Â’Â•Čą —’Â?Âœ Ä™Â?ČąÂŽÂŠÂœÂ’Â•¢ȹÂ’Â—ČąÂ–ÂŽÂŒÂ‘ÂŠÂ—Â’ÂŒÂŠÂ•Čą ›˜˜–œǰȹȹŒ•˜œŽÂ?ÂœÇ°ČąÂŠÄ´Â’ÂŒÂœÇ°Čą Œ›Š Â•ÂœÂ™ÂŠÂŒÂŽÂœÇ°ČąÂŠÂ—¢ Â‘Ž›Žǡ

Building Infrastructure Climate Risk Assessment as a Means of Growing Canadian Cities Sustainably This presentation outlines the building infrastructure climate risk methodology developed by Engineers Canada’s “Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committeeâ€?, using as context three institutional buildings in southern Ontario. The intent of presenters Jeremy Carkner, Principal, Manager at GTA Sustainability, and Sean Capstick, Principal at Golder Associates Ltd. GTA, is to introduce the green building industry to a framework for assessing and responding to future climate change within the Canadian context, and to influence policy decisions and standards development for government implementation and application by the design community.

Environmental stewardship is one of the core values at Loewen. We are a socially responsible company recognized for our leadership in energy conservation, environmental protection and sourcing of materials derived through sustainable methods. For more information about our commitment to sustainability, contact: Loewen window Center of oakviLLe 2650 Bristol Circle, Suite 400 Oakville, ON L6H 6Z7 Phone: 905-829-1310 Discover the world’s most inspiring windows and doors at


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

—Ž›Â?¢ȹ –Š›Â?Čą Š›’Š‹•Žȹ ›ŽšžŽ—Œ¢ȹ ›’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—¢ȹ Ĵ›ŠŒÂ?Â’Â&#x;ÂŽČą Ž—Â?Čą •ŠÂ?ÂŽČą Â’Â—Â’ÂœÂ‘ÂŽÂœČą Â&#x;Š’•Š‹•Ž

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Design. Create. Inspire.

spring 2012

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



Designing Carbon Neutral from Buildings to Communities In this session, Peter Busby, Managing Director at Perkins+Will Canada, will take an indepth look at Perkins+Will’s leading sustainable projects including the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) and the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre (buildings at the community level), and the growth of new cities, in particular the Edmonton City Centre Airport Lands Development. A New Way of Thinking about Revitalization Join Raj Mohabeer of Green Community Planning and Design at Halsall, who will speak about the revitalization of Trenton, NJ’s downtown area in the 1990s. The Department of Transportation – the major landowner – changed its thinking, and led an innovative planning effort to remove a highway and replace it with a series of walkable streets and blocks to create the backbone of a vital downtown.

Demand Side Strategies for Ensuring the Path to Continuous Improvement John Godden of Clearsphere, Gary Botelho of Empire Communities, and John Bell of HTO Water Technologies all know a thing or two about green homes. Join them as they discuss how the new Building Code in Ontario has changed the landscape for low-rise housing. This will include an examination of the barriers to creating a sustainable green economy will include a history of branding, labeling and rating homes in Ontario since 1984, and look at what the vision is for residential energy efficiency programs, among much more. Urban Renewal, Community Revitalization and Well-Being Many urban neighbourhoods face multiple challenges. Join Joe Lobko of du Toit Allsopp Hillier, Jennifer Sanguinetti, Director of BC Housing’s Smart Buildings and Energy Management, Program and Project Management Consultant Monica Morgan, and Sadhu Johnston, Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver, for this session, which will

examine two aspects of how green innovations can help transform these communities: the themes of food systems and community food hubs within the context of urban living, and how some of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside’s single room occupancy hotels (SROs) are being upgraded through an innovative revitalization project including capital and energy retrofits of heritage buildings through a public-private partnership model. After a full day of learning there will be the CaGBC 2012 Leadership Awards and Gala Dinner at the beautiful Fairmont Royal York Hotel, which will celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. After the awards, stay to hear from humanitarian and activist, Stephen Lewis. Attending this year’s Conference also includes access to the CaGBC’s vast Expo 2012 trade show floor, housing over 100 companies who will be showcasing the latest in green building technology and developments, new processes, and best practices. Be sure to register before May 1, 2012 to benefit from early-bird discounts, and also check out additional conference discounts open to CaGBC members, by visiting 2012conference. GB

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Flabbi & Associates LLP Chartered Accountants 60 Torlake Crescent Toronto, Ontario M8Z 1C2 Phone: 416-477-7681 Fax: 416-255-8707 spring 2012

By Paul Keenan

North Bay Regional Health Centre: Challenges in Greening Healthcare


ne of the first things a designer of engineering systems recognizes about hospitals is that they are complicated places. Hospitals are, in effect, many kinds of places joined together. They’re part laboratory, part high-tech process facility, part hotel, part educational facility. And, they’re many places in between. The nature of each of these spaces is generally such that their engineering systems are quite dense and their building service needs are high. Their functions are predominantly scheduled during extended but recognizable working hours, yet they are truly 24-hour operations. As a result, a hospital’s energy profile is somewhat unique. Hence, these large and complicated buildings present both opportunity and challenge for significant gains in the area of green design and operation. At HH Angus, we started designing North Bay Regional Health Centre in 2001, many years before it became the first LEED-registered healthcare facility in Canada. In the early design phase, Ontario was grappling with the impact of the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003, and our primary focus as healthcare system designers, even while recognizing the energy balance required for the facility, was on patient safety. As part of our goal to equip the hospital with systems designed to mitigate the spread of similar kinds of outbreaks, we introduced 100 per cent outside air systems for patient rooms and coupled these with total enthalpy spring 2012

heat recovery wheels. This system arrangement was a change from the traditional approach. We undertook extensive modeling of airflow patterns in the patient rooms to confirm that a reduced air volume of 100 per cent on-recirculated air would provide appropriate dilution in the space. An energy analysis showed that the total enthalpy heat recovery wheels actually reduced energy consumption when compared to the traditional recirculation systems. This arrangement has, in some respects, become the new standard design for patient rooms in Canada. The approach, combining improvements in the quality of the space and its energy performance in some ways embodies the sustainable aspirations of design and designers – that is, how we do make spaces perform better not only in operation but, most importantly, in function? This is perhaps a small example, but it speaks to the essential challenge of greening this kind of facility. As healthcare gets spread through the community, with more and more outpatient services and care modes available locally, hospitals are becoming increasingly complicated, with the performance and tolerances of its component systems more vital than ever. Like many other sectors, Canada’s healthcare design business is currently experiencing the Public Private Partnership mode of project delivery. P3 is many things to many people and there is no shortage of opinion across the industry. From a design standpoint, it has provided an opportunity to

North Bay Regional Health Centre – The first LEED-registered healthcare facility in Canada. Photo: HH Angus & Associates

demonstrate how these core institutional facilities can play a leading role in the greening of public buildings. The arrangement of owners, designers, builders and operators all having a voice in design choices enables a true conversation around the facility’s sustainability, beginning with a concept and ending with a 30-year operating and maintenance period. How does the layout of this facility improve the delivery of healthcare to patients? Can delivery be done more efficiently? What is the value of a capital-cost dollar compared to an operating-cost dollar? Are the building systems appropriate for the operations? Do they perform to optimal efficiency? Can the building systems help improve the quality of the healthcare delivery? Each project team and each project as a whole arrives at different answers, but the confluence of experts enables new insights and new approaches to the challenge of building and running healthcare facilities that are more sustainable than ever before. We’ve found that it’s important to work collaboratively, share ideas, make well considered decisions and deliver at the highspeed pace that is expected nowadays. The urgency of the task – this is healthcare, after all –enhances the challenge, making it ever more important, and ever more interesting. Paul Keenan is an engineer and principal at HH Angus & Associates. For more information please visit GB Green Building & Sustainable Strategies 15


Better HVAC Design Decisions with Infinite Computing


sk any architect, engineer, or other building professional about cloud-based technologies and services, and most will cite data storage and sharing as the key benefits. Many firms will claim they offer something like a cloud solution, but they are likely referring to its most basic capability. I like to call this limited view “cloud washing”, a concept that misses the full potential of cloud-based computing.

By Robert Middlebrooks

While the foundational motives of data storage and sharing are vital, one trend that is less well-understood or appreciated is the increasing use of cloud-based technologies and services to apply “infinite computing” to design, visualization and analysis tasks. A rendering of an AC system by Mammoth. When examining the benefits of Mammoth Inc, based in the United States, cloud-computing services, specifically designs and builds very large custom those for HVAC engineers, it is imporair conditioning and heating systems. tant to understand how these technologies and services are improving HVAC practices. based environment, this is the ability to track tasks, handle project Today’s cloud-based services and technologies span a wide range management activities and keep stakeholders updated regardless of of offerings, including solutions from large public service providers time or location – even by performing overnight updates within the such as Amazon and Microsoft, as well as more specialized solutions cloud. Previously, rendering was mostly used by architects to “wow” a from Autodesk, Dropbox and TheBrain. While possible to store masclient with stunning visualizations. sive amounts of data and later utilize software applications to manage sharing that data with multidiscipline project stakeholders, the full potential of cloud computing for HVAC professionals and subcontractors is achieved via the virtually infinite computing power of the cloud to enhance early design decision making. Access to massive computing power is crucial to conduct sustainability analysis early and regularly within a design workflow. Users are no longer limited by the capabilities of their desktop computer; they can more easily access information—and perform processing tasks— from the field, leveraging mobile device sharing applications. Infinite Computing in the Cloud What is “infinite computing” in the cloud? Today’s high-performance, cloud-based solutions provide access to tens of thousands of processing cores used to “divide and conquer” compute intensive tasks. Accessing computing power from cloud-based servers facilitates a nearly infinite ability to make real-time simulations, perform analysis, refine designs and ultimately improve their quality of work by enhancing predictability and reducing project risks. The bottleneck in this scenario isn’t computing power, but the bandwidth of the “pipe” between your desktop, laptop or mobile device and your cloud service.

Rendering of a building’s HVAC system highlighting routed systems. Products from the AutoCAD(R) Inventor(R) Routed Systems Suite and Autodesk(R) 3ds Max(R) software were used in the design process. Image courtesy of Mammoth-WEBCO, Inc.


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

spring 2012

Infinite Cloud Computing and Enhanced Decision Making The possibility of cloud-based technologies and services for expanding and improving decision making for HVAC engineers comes in three primary areas. First is the concept of traditional cloud computing, often referred to as “information on demand”. Simply put, it is access to information anywhere and at anytime. Whether it is a company server, a specialized PLM server, Dropbox, WebBrain or Autodesk Buzzsaw, the ability to access information when making decisions is the baseline of today’s cloud-based computing. The second task is visualization and dashboarding. In a projectspring 2012

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Q A uestions

By Jason Rivait


: I currently live in a condo corporation and am contemplating buying an electric vehicle. If I buy an electric vehicle, can I install an electrical outlet in my parking unit to charge the vehicle?


tion on the common elements; and • What costs you might have to personally incur. This information will likely determine whether you make the purchase or not. GB

The short answer is MAYBE

Customer generated view of internal MEP dataset for building construction analysis and simulation. Rendered in Navisworks software. Image courtesy of DPR Construction.

Today the accurate portrayal of an HVAC system or a complicated mechanical room is invaluable during discussions with an owner or subcontractor. Though cloud-based rendering exists today, extending it to include current cost estimates and energy usage provides constant access to project critical metrics. Lastly, is the power of infinite computing to provide users with near real-time analysis to conduct simulations and calculations. Initial building models and systems can be analyzed to find alternative solutions and provide feedback about potential energy usage at early stages of the project. Users can also explore the possibility of other forms of sustainable energy, solar incidence and natural ventilation. Ultimately, the success of the systems relies on the decisions made at this stage where rapid energy modeling for existing buildings and Conceptual Energy Analysis (CEA) utilize cloud-based servers for fast and informative decision making. Infinite Cloud-Based Computing and Green Analysis Historically, architects have been in the driver’s seat with regard to determining a building’s form and orientation, thereby predetermining items such as sun path, exposure and basic thermal considerations. Now, cloud-based infinite computing for green performance analysis, combined with an intelligent Building Information Modeling (BIM)based workflow, offer the HVAC professional an opportunity to participate in the design cycle and more effectively collaborate with architects, and structural and MEP engineers. The astonishing cloud computing power offered today enables architects and HVAC team members to collaborate, using cloud-based performance tools to analyze early building forms and orientations and more fully explore sustainable design options like alternative energy, carbon and natural ventilation. With fast web access, results from cloud-based green analysis solutions can be returned to a multidiscipline team for review in hours, instead of days. Efficient, timely and cost-effective energy performance 18 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

and sustainability analysis are available cloud-based capabilities that are rapidly improving and evolving. The implications of green performance and analysis in the cloud are many. With access to information variables and options such as insulation, thermal resistance of glazing, fuel costs, pricing of alternative materials, speed of erection, and suitability for prefabrication — HVAC professionals and their design teammates are more apt to anticipate and identify changes, such as the need to rework an air handler because the architect changed the occupancy in a room. These course corrections are best resolved immediately, ‌ not during a quality control back check of construction documents. The Road Ahead for Cloud Computing and HVAC Design The future of infinite cloud-based computing fits squarely within early design stage simulation, green analysis and visualizations. It’s all about moving compute-intensive, time-consuming tasks to the cloud, so that HVAC professionals and their design team colleagues can perform a wide range of what-if analysis and simulate design options onthe-fly to dramatically enhance decision making at every stage of a project’s lifecycle. Ultimately, these capabilities will prompt sustainable thinking, increase predictability and reduce project risk. Robert E. Middlebrooks, AIA, is an Autodesk Strategy and Industry Relations Manager for Buildings, specializing in MEP and Structural BIM, Sustainable Design and IPD adoption. He is an Architect with over 28 years experience as a former principal of Clark Nexsen. Robert is a past AIA National Board Member, currently serving on the AIA Contract Documents Committee. As a member of the Autodesk Strategy and Industry Relations Team he focuses on future practice change along with special projects, research, and key industry group collaboration, including rapid energy modeling, laser scanning, digital fabrication, infinite computing and Building Information Modeling (BIM) enabled sustainable analysis. . GB spring 2012

Some newer condo developments have been built with a number of parking spaces that contain roughed-in electric vehicle outlets. That said, the electric vehicle phenomena is relatively new and most condo corporations have been built without electric vehicle outlets or charging stations. Fortunately, some condo buildings can be retrofitted to include electric vehicle outlets and/or charging stations. However, these installations do not come without logistical and legal headaches. In order to accommodate electric vehicles, existing condo corporations will face a number of issues, including the following: • Will the outlets be located in individual parking spaces (which may be unitized or part of the common elements), or will there be shared charging stations in the common elements of the corporation? • Will changes need to be made to the common elements of the corporation to accommodate the outlets and/or charging stations? • How will the responsibility for installation, maintenance, repair and insurance be allocated? • Who will be responsible for the costs of electricity (especially if the condominium is bulk metered)? As an owner, you cannot install an electric vehicle outlet and/or charging station in your parking space without at least seeking the approval of the board of directors. Before you make that purchase, you should contact the board of directors of your condo corporation to determine the following: • Whether it is logistically possible to install an electric vehicle outlet and/or charging station in your condo; • Whether the board of directors will approve your request if it relates to your parking space, or consider installing a charging staspring 2012

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Sustainable Initiatives

Enbridge as a Leader in Sustainable Initiatives

Launching the Savings by Design Program


Enbridge Ontario Wind Turbines


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

s a leader in energy efficiency, Enbridge Gas Distribution is one of the largest North American gas companies reaching over 1.9 million customers each year. It is through this leadership that Enbridge strives to bring innovative technologies and programs to builders, developers, and owners within the residential and commercial new construction industry. In January 2012, Enbridge presented the innovative “Savings by Design” initiative for new residential and commercial buildings planned for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ottawa. Launched in collaboration with Sustainable Buildings Canada, Savings by Design is a program that residential and commercial home builders can apply for to maximize the energy efficiency in buildings. The program is available to project leaders to help offset some of the costs associated with the design and development of new high By Mimi Shao performance buildings. Through the SBD program, Enbridge challenges the opportunity to highlight simple outcomes that are often overlooked. The goal of Savings by Design is to maximize energy efficiency of buildings by offering incentives and providing an alternative design approach. The synergy of industry experts and support for new technologies presents to shareholders that sustainability does mean better returns. The commercial sector of Savings by Design program is divided into three portions: 1. The Integrated Design Process (IDP); 2. Project Development; and 3. Commissioning Stage. The Integrated Design Process is used to establish how higher-efficiency energy performance levels can be achieved in new construction buildings. This is demonstrated through a comprehensive design charrette and energy modeling process where builders, developers, and stakeholders will recognize their project’s true sustainability and energy savings

potential. A highly qualified team of technical experts is devised to help achieve the goals set out and to help identify cost-effective incentives. Support is then available during the Project Development and construction phase for the installation of new technologies and to ensure the project meets its energy performance targets. To make achieving energy performance more affordable, Enbridge provides a “performance” incentive of $.20/m3 of natural gas savings based on modeled energy savings for buildings that achieve the 25% better than 2012 OBC code threshold (to a maximum of $50,000.00). A complete review of the building is conducted towards the end to verify that all systems are working as designed. The outcome of the energy saving strategies implemented during the construction phase will determine the project’s qualification for the Commissioning Stage. Commissioning incentives are available to support post-construction verification activities and provide the client with the confidence that all technologies will perform as intended. There are many benefits for the Savings by Design program. For the builder, it is the ability to design and construct a building that reaches their energy efficiency goals in a cost-effective manner by working with qualified professionals in the field. Enbridge also provides a risk-free environment to explore new concepts, technologies and construction methods supported by the latest research. And, on top of the many financial incentives, the SBD program offers builders the opportunity to market the green features of their building, further contributing to their bottom line. The final outcome of the SBD process is to work with the building as a system, taking energy to the next level of performance and creating new buildings that not only meet, but exceed the Ontario Building Code. To qualify for the program, your project must be a minimum of 100,000 square feet and located in the Enbridge Gas Distribution franchise area, within the GTA or Ottawa. spring 2012

The overall objective of the Enbridge Residential Savings by Design program is to help residential builders, developers and owners design more energy efficient homes. To support this initiative, Enbridge provides the builder the entire cost of the IDP process, incentive of $2,000.00 for the discovery home built (a minimum of 25% better than 2012 OBC within 3 years) plus additional funding of $2,000.00 per home to a maximum of 50 homes within the 2012 year. In order to remain a leader in the industry, Enbridge is always developing new programs, supporting research, and implementing state of the art methods in providing more efficient, and cleaner, natural gas technologies. The Savings by Design program is just one of the initiatives Enbridge is promoting and delivering to help their customers receive the best value for their energy dollar. One of the biggest market concerns to date is the instability of utility costs; the economy becomes a huge factor in sustainable growth, and the need to develop more green technologies becomes a greater challenge. To implement new technologies for sustainable growth, Enbridge has invested over a billion dollars in green electricity projects across Ontario. Two of the most recent technologies Enbridge has put into action include a wind farm

Sarnia Solar Farm, world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm

in Kincardine, Bruce County, Ontario, as well as the world’s largest Solar Farm located in Sarnia, Ontario. The Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm is a 181.5 MW wind farm developed by Enbridge Ontario Wind Power LP. Spanning over 5,600 hectares of farmland along the shore of Lake Huron, the project uses a total of 110 Vestas V82 wind turbines. The entire wind farm generates over 622,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy per year.1 The Sarnia Solar Farm is the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm, with 80 megawatts of power, the site generates enough energy to power more than 12,000 homes2 – talk about

energy efficiency! Enbridge has also applied for a Biogas initiative, focused on approaching the Ontario Energy Board to progress operations for having Biogas injected into the gas distribution system. The company’s investments in green energy are becoming an increasingly important part of their business and the impacts of their recent operations prove Enbridge’s potential in further advancing Canada’s achievements in sustainable technology. The success of Enbridge’s initiatives is a collaborative effort that gives back to all associated disciplines, and most importantly, the customer. Their continued persistence in implement-

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spring 2012

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Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Cover story

Rebel With a Cause

Hurtling Toward Tomorrow

Underwood Wind Farm. All photos courtesy of Enbridge.

ing sustainable projects reaches both the private and public sector, working to establish a common understanding that better energy efficiency really does mean better savings in the long run. Sustainability can be accessible, and companies like Enbridge help make the population more aware of the advantages of investing and focusing on sustainable technologies. Enbridge is recognized as one of the Global 100 Sustainable Corporations, and focuses on safety, reliability, and achieving the best value for its customers. Their mission is to deliver more than the energy people count on, “we deliver on our promise to help make communities

better places to live”3. For more information on the Savings by Design Program please contact Mary Harinck, Program Marketing Manager in Residential and Commercial New Construction for Enbridge, at, or visit Mimi Shao is passionate about green design and innovation, and has been involved in the Toronto design industry since graduating from the University of Toronto. She has worked with the Interior Designers of Canada and IIDEX NeoCon/Canada and is currently Project Coordinator

for Bowerbank & Associates. The focus of her work revolves around the importance of good design and rising opportunities for integrating design with sustainability initiatives. Mimi is also involved with Sustainable Buildings Canada on the Enbridge Savings by Design program GB 1 “Commercial Operation on February 19, 2009”, Ontario Power Authority,, 2012. 2 “Enbridge completes Sarnia Solar Farm”, CBC News: Technology & Science, 3 Pipeline Newsletter, Volume 33, Number 1, Feb 2012,

See for Yourself... Why Napoleon is the #1 choice with Builders across North America for Fireplaces, Outdoor Living and HVAC products. ®

Talk to an expert at Applewood Heating & Air Conditioning. •


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

spring 2012

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



othing is slowing him down. He may be in his late sixties but after 43 years in business, George Gronwall is still leading Applewood Air Conditioning into the future at blinding speed. Well, maybe not blinding. But growth is brisk for one of southern Ontario’s largest heating and cooling contractors. That’s because George has continuously found crafty ways to adapt or lead in a changing world. He has mentored his team of 100+ employees with a mix of old fashioned human values, good customer service, contemporary sustainable technology and unfailing determination. The CEO whose email is theboss@applewood likes to think of himself as a tough operator with a rebellious streak, who loves speed. But his grandchildren know him as a softy who will do anything for them; and his numerous long-term employees describe him as generous and easy going.

Applewood Air Conditioning showroom

In the early days NHL hockey legend Paul Henderson asked him for a deal and George spent a weekend with him drinking beer and installing the system together. “Now instead of beer they pay me with money,” he jokes. Reducing Waste Since the 1970s He wanted to study architecture, but he and his young wife, Hope, couldn’t afford schooling. So he established the business in 1970 and named it after his Applewood Hills hometown. The industry was competitive and George was looking for ways to serve customers faster and more economically. In1975 he set up an in-house metal shop so that Applewood could order material in bulk, customize systems quickly, use scrap to make cleats and dampers, and save customers time and money. It worked. The company began to grow. By the 1980s he had already diverted tons of waste from landfill sites. Now more than 200,000 installations later, Applewood has 50+ trucks on the road and serves all the top builders in southern Ontario. Along the way George added a design-build department, gas fireplace mantle shop, and expertise in all of the newest heating and cooling technologies; including heat recovery ventilators, high efficiency furnaces, geothermal and home automation systems. His son David works in the sales department and his daughter, Lori, ‘takes care of everything’ at head office. George Loves Speed Success in the trade has allowed George to indulge in another passion: speed. He drives a 525 HP Porsche. “It smokes.” He says. He also rides an Indian Chief Vintage motorcycle when he is in Canada and a Harley Heritage Softail when staying at his condo near Sarasota in Florida. He likes speedboats and racehorses. Right now he owns one racehorse but at his peak owned 7 of them.

George Gronewall with daughter Lori and son David


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

spring 2012

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


CaGBC National Conference & Expo 2012 June 11-13 | Toronto

He still operates an indoor track where his friends in the racing field can run their horses during the coldest Canadian months. It was considered crazy when he first proposed it, but like many of his ideas it turned out to be a good one. Rebellion His rebel streak probably restored sanity to an industry. In the 1990s Lennox and other manufacturers began thinking that to maintain market share they should guarantee customer loyalty by buying up the independent contractors. George didn’t think this was a good idea and he turned out to be correct. He liked the personal touch offered by his family-run company and is proud that even with all their success, customers can call up during 2012 and talk to any of the Gronwalls on the phone without a problem. When it was made he resisted a formidable offer made for Applewood and kept growing the business. The manufacturers soon realized that becoming an installer didn’t make that much difference to market share, and was a tough business to operate. In addition, they were competing with Applewood, one of the largest installers in Ontario. It wasn’t good for sales. After a few years they sold most of the businesses back to local people, including many of the original owners. George was happy to re-engage them as suppliers. Charity “He’s easy to get along with and can be very kind,� says Joel Pearce who manages Applewood’s high-rise and non-residential installations. “Sometimes he lets me and my family use his condo in Sarasota. He has a good heart. We’ve done some charity rides together.� Pearce is talking about the Mattamy Homes Ride for Cancer and several other causes supported by Applewood. “George’s Indian is very fast and George likes to be out in front.� Says Pearce, adding that there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that his own modified Electra-Glide Ultra-Classic Harley is faster than the boss’s machine. Pearce and another Applewood veteran, Andy Giamos, are helping to guide the company into the sustainability era of higher density, en26 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

ergy efficient buildings. Giamos, recipient of a gold watch for 25 years of service a couple of years ago, says Applewood is one of the largest contractors and installers of EnergyStar rated home systems in the country. “We were doing IAQ before it even had a name.� Says Pearce: “We install HRVs in most of the units and in mediumrise and hi-rise buildings. This means the pretty inefficient make-up air systems for pressurization in corridors are much smaller.�

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Sustainability and Leadership The company is also installing more and more radiant floor heating, tankless water heaters and HEPA filters. The Applewood web site notes that radiant systems are 30% more efficient than forced air and that HEPA filters remove 99.9% of particulates as small as .03 microns. “We’re moving with the trend toward more mid-rise buildings,� says George. “It’s all about greater density and more energy efficiency.� You can be a follower or you can be a leader. I like speed and I like to be out in front.� GB



spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


feature story By Marylene Vestergom

GREENbilt Homes

A Better Built Home Means a Healthier Lifestyle


or the community in the Yonge and Sheppard area of Toronto, 84 Norton Avenue may become a field trip destination for sustainable living. Homeowner Jason Alleyne, his wife Paula and son Sebastian are comfortable with being the home’s ambassadors. “We were living in that property for 4-5 years before we began this journey of reconstruction,� says Jason. “The whole living space was challenged. There were three consecutive winters of basement and roof leaks, and then we uncovered an area of asbestos. Bottom-line, it was just a poorly constructed edifice and we needed to build a new home.� The experience made the Alleynes think about sustainable living. They didn’t want to live in a home for only five years. For Jason, “It’s about a house built for multiple generations and should work as well today as it will 100 years from now.� Inspired by the David Suzuki documentary Visions of the Future, the Alleynes, who are actuaries by profession, interviewed some of the architects in the program. One of the key takeaways was the importance of putting everything together from the beginning. To achieve sustainable living, it’s not just a checklist of 88 points to achieve LEED Gold certification. The house has to work as a system.

“There was a lengthy integrated design process,� says builder Mike Manning, President of Greenbilt Homes. “Working alongside architect Paul Dowsett of Sustainable TO and the Alleyens, we built a very technologically advanced home. Some of the features include a 10-kilowatt solar collection system that is part of Ontario’s microFIT program. There is also a geothermal system with radiant floor heating.� For the Alleynes, having a clean and healthy home was important. “Not having duct work and venting in a home was something we stressed when we were first designing the house,� Jason explains. “The home is constructed with Durisol-insulated concrete forms, which means the building envelope is going to be air tight and well insulated. We also wanted breathable walls, so instead of covering them with drywall, a clay finish was added. Obviously we chose LED lighting, and we also made sure there was little off-gassing in the materials we used. Most importantly we wanted to make sure to have a net zero home. So our house would still be functioning – no matter the interruption, it would be able to sustain itself.� Decisions were always based on an integrated design philosophy.

Energy Evaluation

“All the windows will be triple pane and there’s even grey water recycling,� injects Manning. “The floors are polished concrete, and we are going to use an earth plaster finish on the exterior walls to help the house breath better. It will also have a metal roof.� Manning suggests most houses in North America are built for a 5060 year lifespan. This one is incorporating a better quality designed home with a generational lifespan. “There’s a little bit of a premium that goes into building a better product – but if you spread those costs over a little longer time, then you really see the benefit of why it is better to build a better building in the first place. And when you can live in a better built home and reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle – all of a sudden it’s a tangible reason to build better in the first place, �says Manning.

Building green of course has its challenges. The biggest was finding the right people who understood the designs had to work together. “Mechanically you have geothermal and radiant floor heating, HRVs and air circulation, electrical and plumbing to contend with. But how do you make it all mix and work together?â€? points out Manning. “Building a sustainable home is new,â€? says Jason Alleyne. “Dowsett, our architect, was a great find. But we are all at different levels of understanding of what green building and what sustainable living is – but we are learning together.â€? “To build green you need an architect who can design the holistic approach to the structure. You need to find a qualified contractor who understands how to put these pieces together. But the core component of green that actually might stop someone is the value proposition,â€? says Jason. Jason believes if that’s the hurdle that’s stopping you, an actuary who’s qualified to help you crunch those numbers can help overcome this concern. “Our architect Paul Dowsett has picked up on that,â€? says Jason. “Clients are stumbling on the most important pillar – can I actually afford to do this? If we can get people past that hurdle – sustainable living and building green is attainable for the masses.â€? As Mike Manning sees it, “Building green is an Ă la carte menu – there is no formula that you have to buy into. People can get involved as far as they feel comfortable. But consider the changes to the Ontario Building Code (OBC), as of January 2012. The OBC used to be lower and now it’s come up to the ENERGY STAR level. LEED, as another certification, can go even higher than that. Now people have an opportunity to shop, and compare a conventional built product and a better-built product for really not much more – it’s a no brainer. People will always go for the better product.â€? GB

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Paul Dowsett is the principal of sustainable.TO Architecture and Building in Toronto. A respected expert in his field, Dowsett has brought his vision to a wide range of projects for close to 20 years, from off-grid single-family homes to food science and healthcare facilities. He talked to Green Building & Sustainable Strategies about the 84 Norton Avenue project.




What are your top three tips for achieving a ‘healthy home’? PD: 1. Make sure you’ve got an airtight (yet breathable) highly-insulated building envelope 2. Control your indoor air quality and humidity through a heat/energy recovery ventilator 3. Use natural interior finishes to reduce off-gassing, such as formaldehyde free, wood products, no-VOC paints and finishes


What exactly is ‘integrated design’ and why does it matter? SUPERIOR AIRTIGHTNESS Airtightness minimizes the amount of warm or cool air that can pass through the envelope, enabling the mechanical ventilation system to recover the heat before discharging the air externally.

HEAT RECOVERY VENTILATION A Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) transfers thermal energy from stale indoor air to fresh incoming outdoor air, thereby reducing the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable indoor air temperature.

SOLAR ELECTRIC & SOLAR HOT WATER PANELS Solar electric panels collect energy from the sun, while solar hot water panels provide warm water naturally without the need for fossil fuels.

HIGH EFFICIENCY WINDOWS Low E, Argon-filled, triple-glazed, fiberglass framed operable windows for natural daylighting & ventilation.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY Careful selection of interior finishes and natural materials that do not contain harmful off-gassing chemicals and ensure superior indoor air quality.

HIGH EFFICIENCY SKYLIGHT Low E, argon-filled, operable skylights for natural daylighting & chimney-effect ventilation.

ABOVE CODE-MINIMUM INSULATION Superinsulation significantly reduces thermal transfer through walls, floors and roof, thereby reducing the demand for mechanical heating and cooling.

GALVALUME METAL ROOFING Self-venting, high-albedo (highly reflective) metal roofing with high recycled content.

RAINWATER COLLECTION Rainwater collected from the rooftop is stored in an underground cistern and used for landscape irrigation; reducing stormwater runoff and dependence on the municipal water supply.

PASSIVE SOLAR & SUN SHADING South facing windows with sun shades allow desirable solar heat gain during the winter and reduce unwanted heat gain during summer months.

PD: Integrated design is getting all project team members (architect, structural engineer, heating/ventilation consultant, contractor, LEED coordinator) together at an early stage. The goal is to have a cohesive set of plans with all disciplines from the outset of the project, which means less coordination during construction and less costly delays and revisions. It allows for streamlined construction, more refined pricing, simpler job site coordination, and an improved end product – a house that works as a system.


The Alleynes were clearly happy with their ‘green design team’. What do you think distinguishes sustainable.TO from other ‘green’ architects? PD: We listen to our clients! Actively listening and adapting to our clients’ needs and wishes throughout the design and construction process is very much the sustainable.TO approach. We deal with each project individually – there is never one predetermined solution. And we work hard to find the optimal solution for each individual project considering a broad range of what is possible.


Who is the perfect candidate for sustainable.TO’s services, whether a renovation or new build? ICF WALL CONSTRUCTION Insulating Concrete Form is a system of formwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for energy- efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls, floors, and roofs.

INTERIOR THERMAL MASS 4-inch concrete floor slabs help normalize the indoor temperature by absorbing and releasing heat.


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DROUGHT-RESISTANT LANDSCAPING Selecting vegetation that does not rely heavily on supplemental water from irrigation, and does not require pesticides or chemical fertilizers to thrive.

RADIANT FLOOR HEATING A series of in-floor fluid-filled tubes circulating and distributing a comfortable heat which radiates evenly into the room.

GEOTHERMAL HEATING AND COOLING in combination with radiant floor heating and high efficiency zoned air conditioning reduces reliance on fossil fuels during winter months and the municipal power grid during the summer.

GREYWATER REUSE Greywater is collected from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, and can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands.

84 NORTON AVE spring 2012

spring 2012

PD: Anyone who is interested in the 3 Ps: planet, people, and profits. The perfect s.TO candidate is a good global citizen who wants to benefit from affordable maintenance and energy savings for many, many years to come.

HIGH-EFFICIENCY APPLIANCES Energy Star rated appliances are 20% to 30% more energy efficient than standard appliances.

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LED Retrofit Revolution Signaled by Sears $4.5M Lighting Project


By Jim Harris

ears Canada has just completed the largest LED lighting retrofit in Canada: a $4.5 million project with a 13 month payback! Sears replaced 120,000 incandescent 60 watt spotlights with 15W LEDs (light-emitting diode) in 174 stores across Canada. The change-over is saving Sears almost 20 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year – worth $2 million a year. From an electric utility perspective, the retrofit has eliminated a staggering five megawatts of load from the grid. Because LEDs last for 50,000 hours compared to 4,000 hours for incandescent lights, there is a significant saving in not having to replace burnt out bulbs: $800,000 a year (a 94% reduction in maintenance costs over the lifetime of the bulbs). But because no maintenance staff are going to be laid off – instead their time will be redeployed to other work – these savings were not included in the payback calculations. LED hit the “Sweet Spot” The price of LED lighting is falling significantly. A 2011 McKinsey & Company study shows that the cost is falling 28% a year between 2010 and 2015, <> and 15% a year from 2015 to 2020. Cumulatively from 2010 to 2020 that’s a 10-fold fall in cost. These steep cost declines are creating the perfect condition for the explosion of the LED lighting revolution. McKinsey predicts that by 2020, 60% of all lighting sales will be LED.

And Sears’ experience bears that out the steep cost declines: From the time Sears first received quotes from vendors in 2008 until the final bid was approved in 2011, LED prices fell 50%, notes James Gray-Donald, Sears Canada’s Associate Vice President of Sustainability. But he urges his operational colleagues not to wait for better pricing. Sears will receive $1.5 million in rebates and incentives from provincial electric utilities for this project. As LED prices continue to drop incentives will also decrease. So now is the perfect time to retrofit. Significant Financial Impact Energy efficiency can significantly improve profitability. Some retailers work on 3% net profits, so using this figure, earning $4.5 million due to energy efficiency in a year is equal to generating $150 million of additional top line sales (a 33.3x multiple). By contrast grocery retailers work on just 1% net profit. So a $4.5 million investment that’s returned in one year is equal to $450 million of additional sales! In this challenging retail market, energy efficiency is a powerful profit driver and savings accelerate as electricity prices rise – and rise they will. Key Learnings Change initiatives are challenging. Sears’ LED project had to overcome a number of objections to proceed. “To put a new technology into a visible part of your operations takes time,” notes Gray-Donald. “You have to be very patient in addressing people’s concerns and find neutral fact-based ways to address them.”

Sylvania lEDs. Designed to save everything including your maintenance costs. Created to last up to 50,000 hours, you’ll have a very long time to think about how much you’re saving in energy, environmental impact and of course, labour. But these aren’t ordinary LED bulbs. They are the result of years of innovative engineering that could very well make them the perfect light source. The beauty of SYLVANIA LED lamps is that they’re mercury-free, dimmable and give you up to 20x the life of halogen lamps and up to 80% energy savings. And the light is remarkably pure and white, making it as appealing in public and industrial spaces as it is in offices. Or anywhere you want to save money without compromising light quality. Visit to see the latest in innovative SYLVANIA LED retrofit products.

Before 32

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The first was that senior merchandizing executives worried that the LED lighting would impact sales. So the sustainability team conducted a study: Two identical retail displays were set up – one with incandescent spot lighting and one using LEDs. Without identifying the difference in the displays, consumers were asked which they preferred. Customers couldn’t identify the difference in the displays, but 59% intuitively preferred the LED-lit one. When it was explained it was more efficient LED lights, the preference jumped to 73%. The second challenge was to prove out the technology from different vendors. So Sears installed test LED bubs from 10 different manufacturers at the back of one store in the clearance section. Wherever electricity is burned, heat is generated. LEDs use electronic components to generate light – and to maintain the integrity of these components, the heat has to be drawn away from the transistors. Most LEDs use passive heat sinks, but one cheap Chinese bulb among the 10 used a small cooling fan. The fan sucked up fine pieces of fiber from the merchandise, which collected in the back of the light and eventually caught fire! So the learning for Sears was that it is critical to buy from an established, reputable vendor that could guarantee performance and quality. Sears eventually short listed three vendors: Osram Sylvania, Philips and GE. Finally Sears piloted the LED lights in five stores across Canada for a year from these three manufacturers, tracking electricity use, maintenance costs, retail sales, outdoor temperatures and other key metrics. With a successful pilot, the Sears selected Osram Sylvania on the basis of price, delivery and being able to secure the rebates from utilities all across Canada. Each provincial electric utility has different criteria for energy efficiency incentive programs. But in all provinces a company must receive approval prior to retrofitting – and utilities reserve right for a post-retrofit inspection audit.

Opening Our Eyes to Huge Potential A staggering 24% of all electricity in North America is used simply for lighting. With LEDs enabling more than a 75% reduction, this is the cheapest way to increase our energy supply – by eliminating inefficiency. A McKinsey & Company study points out that $170 billion a year can be invested in energy efficiency every year until 2020 with an internal rate of return of 17% – a better return than investing in real estate or the stock market. < Research/Natural_Resources/The_case_for_investing_in_energy_productivity> Traditional incandescent “light bulbs” are a misnomer – they should really be called “heat bulbs” because 75% of the electricity burned generates heat not light. So there is another benefit to retrofitting with LEDs: the avoided cost of air conditioning in summer. Sears did not calculate these savings in its business case. Energy efficiency is an investment that keeps on paying dividends – in this case for 50,000 hours. Given that the average Sears store is open for 3,952 hours a year, these investments will be paying dividends for more than a decade. And that’s good business. Any large business that is not aggressively pursuing LED lighting retrofits has financial officers and boards of directors that are derelict in their fiduciary duties.

Habitat for Humanity Canada is in the LEED with Affordable Green Building

Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg – Sir Sam Steele residential community

Jim Harris is a management consultant who works with organization on change, leadership & sustainability. His book Blindsided is a #1 international bestseller and is published in 80 countries worldwide. He works globally speaking at more than 40 conferences a year. E-mail him at & follow him on Twitter at @JimHarris GB

By Terry Petkau


abitat for Humanity Canada (HFHC) has always recognized the benefits of green building for the environment and more importantly the health and operational savings for the homeowner. However, as a builder HFHC must always weigh these benefits against the actual costs and expertise needed to certify to the “Best in Class” green building programs in Canada. All residential homebuilders struggle with these issues, but for HFHC to maintain a commitment of providing affordable housing to serve as many lowincome Canadian households as possible, HFHC relies on partnerships to successfully make green building a standard practice. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Canada for Homes, administered by the Canadian Green Building Council, is one of the most recognized, but challenging residential green building programs in the country. A number of HFHC affiliate homebuilders have taken up the challenge and have certified to Gold and even Platinum under LEED® Canada for Homes. Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg (HFHW) is very proud of the fact that all of its homes in the Sir Sam Steele

School build site are built to high green standards and not only is this housing development the greenest housing development in Manitoba, but also in Canada. The thirty-two units in this affordable housing community will be certified to the Manitoba Hydro Power Smart Gold standard and LEED® Gold standard. Some may even be certified to Platinum once testing is completed. Manitoba Hydro, Investors Group and The Home Depot Canada Foundation are some of the many financial partners HFHW has worked with to reach this green building success in Manitoba. Sandy Hopkins, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Winnipeg, had this to say about HFHW’s green building efforts: “The energy and water efficiency of all these homes not only makes them environmentally friendly, but also more affordable by reducing the daily living costs for our low-income working families,” A proud new Habitat homeowner was delighted about the savings, “After moving into our new home in November and receiving our first extremely low heating bill during a very cold month, we thought there was a mistake so we called Habitat to find out the problem. Habitat told us this is normal because of the high energy efficiency standards Habitat homes are built to, so only when we received our second low heating bill did we actually believe it!”

All Weather Windows has been an important and committed donor to Habitat for Humanity for many years. Employees from All Weather Windows volunteer their time at Habitat for Humanity Build events and the company contributes windows and doors through Habitat ReStores.


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spring 2012

spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies


Roof and PV System – Habitat for Humanity Peterborough & District – Fleming College Partnership Project

Habitat for Humanity York Region In 2010 Habitat for Humanity York Region (HFHYR) built their first LEED Platinum certified house which was completed in just over three months thanks to a tremendous volunteer effort; however, it was not without challenges. The house and its small lot made waste management a challenging task. Volunteers sorted, recycled and repurposed 90 per cent of building and packaging materials from the build site. As HFHYR prepares for its 2012 build, their partnerships with consultants, sponsors and volunteers continues to help them maintain a commitment to building healthy, safe and green homes for years to come. Habitat for Humanity Peterborough Habitat for Humanity Peterborough and District (HFH PD) recently partnered with Fleming College to build a certified LEED Platinum home. One of the unique aspects of this project was the load bearing walls for the house which were built from locally prefabricated straw bale SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels). These walls used materials sourced within 100 kilometers of the build site to create a wall system that has a high insulation value (~R-35 with no thermal breaks) with a low embodied energy. These are just some of the recent success stories of HFH’s green building initiatives in Canada. There are also hundreds of HFH homeowners in Alberta who are enjoying living in green homes certified by Built Green Canada. HFH Toronto has also committed for the last number of years to certify homes to both Energy Star and the OHBA’s GreenHouse program standards. Bottom line is that Habitat for Humanity Canada is committed to green building across the country, but this cannot continue without partnerships with funding supporters, certified energy consultants, building system providers and more. For more information about how you can support HFHC’s building efforts visit Terry Petkau is Director of Building Services at Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. GB 36

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Rain Pounds

Passive-Aggressive Home Building BlizzaRds Rage


here are no photovoltaic panels on the roof. There are no solar thermal panels either. But the house on the hill near Black Bank, Ontario is designed to use the sun’s energy in a highly sustainable and pragmatic way. When applied to builder-architects Christine Lolley and Tom Knezic, the term passive-aggressive means they are dedicated to achieving excellence in passive solar design. And they aggressively pursue affordable, local-made systems to include in their building projects. This new-build by Solaris Architects inc. is oriented toward the sun, with a deep summer-shade overhang above large south facing, Canadian-made triple-glazed windows (by Fibertec Window and Door Mfg.) and no north facing windows. Its envelope is so well insulated that its air-tightness score is 1.3 air changes at 50 kPa, compared to 2.0 for LEED Platinum (but not reaching Passivhaus standard at 0.6). Its heating system is in-floor electric cabling encased in polished concrete, which was built at a fraction of the cost of hydronics. Yet it will still achieve impressive operating costs of just a few hundred dollars per year, as the integrated elements of the overall energy-wise design interact to manage heat energy in cool months, and subdue high temperatures during summer. Beneath the 4” concrete slab are 6” of XPS foam insulation providing R-30, 6” of clear stone gravel for drainage and compacted engineered fill, down to undisturbed soil (There is no basement).

Winds RoaR

MotheR natuRe suRe has a lot of Mood sWings.

We’re always interested in starting a conversation about your needs and how we can meet them.

!WARD WINNING BUILDER SPECIALIZING IN CERTI½ED GREEN HOMES Michael Manning T: 905-849-4333 C: 416-505-2425

give us a call at 1-800-638-5709 or visit us at spring 2012

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Photos by Andrea Hunniford for Solares Architecture

The walls were built from Durisol insulated concrete forms made of mineralized recycled wood chips and mineral wool insulation. The design of the block with the insulation to the outside of the wall puts more thermal mass on the inside of the home. They also added 1.5” of soy spray foam, to achieve R-40 in the walls. The insulated attic below steel roofing achieves R-60. “I love steel roofs for several reasons,” says Lolley. “They achieve a very high heat-reflection co-efficient. They recycle easily, unlike several sets of asphalt shingles over the same time period, which would all

go straight to landfill. Steel roofs are warranted for about 50 years, but I’ve seen them last for 70 years or more.” The mechanical design included a Canadian-made energy recover ventilator that performs at 94%, which was custom-retrofitted with a baffle device to avoid the effects of prevailing north winds. It also included an unvented Bosch clothes dryer, usually used in condominiums. It made sense in this structure, because it actually helps heat the house in winter. The total heating load for a smallish 1700 square foot 4-bed-


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design challenges, rather than just adding space; which is not really a resolution.” It’s passive solar design, and it’s an aggressive effort to conserve energy. GB

FIBERTEC The Choice of the Informed


Keeping us cool.

room home is about 10 kilowatts, which accounts for the affordable electric bill. “It’s important to keep today’s homes fairly small,” she says. “We need to be creative when we are resolving

spring 2012

280 Bowes Rd Concord, ON, L4K 1J9 Canada Telephone: (905) 660-7102 • Toll-Free: 1-888-232-4956 • Fax: (905) 660-6581 E-mail: • spring 2012

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LEED FOR HOMES “Bill and I fell in love with ‘Atrium 2’ and bought the blueprint,” she says. “The atrium creates a very dramatic space. Its ceiling is finished with reclaimed pine flooring and we installed a fabulous chandelier.” Steve recommended Greg Williamson, an architectural technologist in Lions Head, Ontario, to make changes to meet the Ontario Building code. He also incorporated ideas like Smart Framing, which is something that LEED recognizes. “Instead of building on traditional 16-inch centres, we built on 24inch centres. It still complies with code, gives you more space for insulation, and uses less lumber,” explains Steve. The house has a simple layout. “It’s basically a box with three covered porches and wide overhangs that provide character,” he says. The two-storey atrium provides natural light and ventilation that eliminates the need for air conditioning. The kitchen, dining, and living areas are all open to the atrium. The two main walls of the living space face south so the master bedroom, den and living room have windows that get direct sunlight during the day. The kitchen and utility areas (mudroom/laundry room, stairwell and front entrance) are on the north side of the house. The house is expected to meet LEED Gold. Adhering to the LEED checklist meant considering every detail, including CFL lighting and ENERGY STAR fans and appliances. A local plumbing contractor took care of all the low-flow plumbing fixtures and the heating system, which includes an HRV system with an ECM motor and a high-efficiency Envirosense™ hot water tank to supply both domestic hot water and the in-floor heating system. “Products are either built locally, or are environmentally friendly, but you don’t often get both,” says Sandy. “One exception is the decking. Northern Composite Products in Fergus use rice hulls, recycled glass

Front Entrance way, all natural plantings and retained treescape

Exterior side yard, all natural plantings

and plastic to make decking that is durable, beautiful and environmentally friendly.” There was compromise on the home front as well. Sandy originally considered a green “living” roof, but ultimately opted for an aluminum roof that’s recycled and durable. The success in this project was in the learning. As for LEED certification, Steve’s advice is, “build as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as you can, but don’t chase points by incorporating things that may not be practical for you.” All things said and done, the cost of the home was around $500,000. “We could have done it for less,” says Sandy, noting higher end finishes for countertops and flooring and two custom built showers upped the ante. “I like to think of our house as a practical green home that is just right for us.” GB

Dennison Homes Builds with the Future in Mind By Marylene Vestergom

Atrium with Reclaimed Pine ceiling



or Sandy Nelson of Kincardine, Ontario, winning an environmental responsibility from her employer Bruce Power awakened her inner environmentalist. Her commitment to reducing her footprint began with a magical month aboard yacht “2041”. Sandy was a member of an environmental cleanup team on King George Island and explored the waters around the Antarctic Peninsula. Sandy and her fiancé Bill Harper bought a piece of property just north of Kincardine eight years ago, in anticipation of building a life together. “At that time the standard for environmentally-friendly building was R2000,” says Sandy. They interviewed three qualified local builders, including Steve Dennison of Dennison Homes in Port Elgin. Coincidentally, the week that the Canadian Green Building Council emailed her the brand new standard, LEED® Canada for Homes, Steve called to say that with very few changes, their house would be a good candidate for LEED certification. “He was on the same

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

path and even signed up for courses on how to build to LEED standard. Since he was so enthusiastic it made our decision easy,” says Sandy. “This was definitely a learning process,” says Steve. When building any house, you have a million choices to make. But when you’re trying to build green, your choices are narrowed with limited information to guide you. Jim Hill, a local supplier in Hanover came on board to build the kitchen cabinetry. “It’s not just about energy,” points out Steve. “LEED is also about the house as a home; about the health of its inhabitants. To avoid off-gassing, all the finishes, paints, insulation, MDF – everything has to be low VOC.” “There are a lot of competing rating systems out there,” says Steve. “You think you’ve found the right product and everything seems to check out, but it doesn’t meet the LEED recycling content. Building to a LEED standard requires a huge investment in the education process.” Researching for the right vendors and products was a team effort. Sandy was very involved sourcing the partners to pull off this project. It started with acquiring the building design. Sandy found Sun Plans™, specialists in passive solar homes, online. spring 2012

Southern exposure for passive solar design spring 2012

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies



Photos are courtesy of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Now Available in Canada

Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control

C By Glenn MacMillan


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

anadians can now become certified erosion and sediment control (ESC) inspectors through a partnership between the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and CISEC Inc. of Parker, Colorado. In 2005 CISEC developed a Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control (CISEC) program to satisfy the need for training, and for ESC inspector certification. The program is now nationwide in the USA, with hundreds of ESC inspectors certified. The partnership allowed for certification to be available much faster than if a Canadian program was started from scratch, because it had already been tried and tested with issues worked out. To develop a Canadian program the TRCA reviewed the USA CISEC manual, course curriculum and exam and made revisions, so that the program material was consistent with local legislative requirements, policies and existing guid-

ance documents like the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area Conservation Authorities ESC Guideline for Urban Construction. The Canadian CISEC program was launched in Spring 2011 at the TRCA’s Living City Campus at Kortright, located in Vaughan, Ontario. The courses have received positive feedback thus far. Since the launch, 78 certified inspectors are now approved and working in Ontario. Who can become a CISEC? The curriculum is specifically geared towards professionals who actively work as inspectors of ESC measures on construction sites. CISEC certification is granted following completion of a four hour written exam with a score of 75% or better. Interested candidates must first qualify to write the exam based on an evaluation of their work experience and educational background as established through documentation and references. spring 2012

The current background criteria for applicants includes two or more years of construction site field experience involving storm water pollution prevention; a complete understanding of erosion and sedimentation processes and how they impact the environment; the ability to read and understand construction site storm water management plans and ESC plans; and the ability to communicate and write complete and accurate inspection reports. The program offers the optional training courses, which are helpful for candidates who need to supplement their education in order to qualify to write the CISEC exam. Once certified inspector status is achieved, renewal is required every three years. Application for renewal requires the completion of at least 36 continuing development hours within the 3-year period, and adherence to the CISEC code of ethics. After a year of success in 2011, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority remains confident that providing Canadian professionals with the tools they need to properly inspect, evaluate and report on ESC measures will empower them to make timely decisions to ensure natural features are protected. Practicing effective erosion and sediment control on construction sites is essential to mitigating against construction pollution and associated impacts to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Within Canada there was a clear need to provide practical, targeted training and certification for construction and development industry professionals who inspect and maintain ESC measures. Now they are available. For more information on the Can-CISEC Program, please visit or contact Glenn MacMillan, Senior Manager, Water & Energy at Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) at GB spring 2012

GreenBuildinG BuildinG Green The WOOD Issue & SuStainable StrategieS

Green Building & Sustainable Strategies magazine is working on a special Wood issue published in June 2012. The issue is themed to recognize and celebrate the environmental merits of wood by supporting and encouraging a wood culture in the building industry. We believe that this is a valuable opportunity to promote your products, services since it will clearly position wood products as an important aspect of sustainable building. We encourage you to support this unique opportunity by advertising in this special issue. By putting your face forward to the industry we will improve wood’s reputation with Green Building community as the most sustainable building material. The high level of pertinent content in Green Building & Sustainable Strategies magazine gives it a long shelf life and makes it an effective tool to market to the green industry in Ontario and across Canada.

For advertising information or if you like your company or project featured in this special issue please contact Giulio at Tel: 416-250-0664 or by E-mail

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on this version of Canada’s Greenest Home. Throughout the project we will keep a detailed blog of construction process, and we will create a full report at the end of the project outlining what we would do differently next time. Nothing would make us happier than for other builders to benefit from everything we learn and use those lessons to improve upon what we are able to do with this project. The whole building industry is being faced with a daunting challenge to become much more sustainable. But if we’re committed to making better buildings, then we should be

By Chris Magwood

How to Make Canada’s Greenest Home


Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Chris Magwood is a founding director of The Endeavour Centre, where he brings this passion to life. He is obsessed with making the best, most energy efficient, beautiful and inspiring buildings without wrecking the whole darn planet in the attempt. He has been a builder, teacher and author for the past 15 years. His forthcoming book, Making Better Buildings is from New Society Publishers. GB

Artist rendering of Canada’s Greenest Homes.


hen our not-for-profit sustainable building school, The Endeavour Centre, was given the opportunity to build a single family residence on an infill lot in central Peterborough, we saw a chance to aim high and truly challenge our faculty, our students and the public to think carefully about what it takes to build a home that is safe, comfortable and durable without scarring the earth or endangering the ability of future generations to also live safely and comfortably. Endeavour’s directors spent a long time considering the claim we are making: Canada’s Greenest Home. We researched the many homes that have been built in this country in attempts to reduce environmental impacts. We found and studied remarkable, thoughtful and well-crafted homes that met net zero energy requirements; that lowered energy consumption by as much as 90% from current norms; that used locally sourced and healthy materials; that helped densify urban neighbourhoods; that collected their own water and treated their own waste; that provided accessibility. What we didn’t find was a home that attempted to do all of these things. A home that does all of these things, we figured, really would be Canada’s Greenest Home. This claim is not about competition, not about being the best, breaking records or beating out others. Endeavour is, first and foremost, an educational centre. We want to

facing this challenge gladly. It’s in this spirit that we undertake the Canada’s Greenest Home project, and I hope you’ll follow our progress.

BioSIP being installed. Photos by Dan Earle.

learn how to reach the highest standards for sustainable home building and to share those standards with our students and anybody else who is interested. We don’t want to be the only ones to build Canada’s Greenest Home. We want to aim as high as possible, and then see that standard surpassed. We will try to outdo ourselves with each project we undertake, and we hope our graduates and others in the construction industry do as well. Ideally, this will be the first of many Greenest Homes. The best way to live up to high standards is to clearly define them from the outset. In this regard, we’re excited to be using the Living Building Challenge as our standard for Canada’s Greenest Home. Created by the independent International Living Future Institute, it sets the highest standards in North America for sustainable building. It takes more than claims and computer models to be certified under the Living Building Challenge. Extensive documentation is required to prove the building has met the rigorous standards, and certification is not awarded until performance has been proven over a full year of occupation. This means net zero energy use, net zero water use, and no dangerous, toxic or materials imported over long distances. It also means paying attention to aesthetics, community interaction and onsite food production. What we don’t want to do is create an overly expensive, one-off custom home that spring 2012

can never be reproduced. We will be using strategies like BioSIP walls from NatureBuilt Wall Systems that advance straw bale building technology into a prefabricated panel system that has all the energy efficiency and low-embodied energy benefits of straw bale walls but in an affordable, accessible, userfriendly and locally produced form. The rainwater harvesting and treatment system from Neeb Engineering likewise takes an existing idea that previously required expensive sourcing of individual components and thoughtfully combines them into one user-friendly system. And the Clivus Multrum foam flush toilet system introduces composting toilets that look and function like regular toilets and require very minimal maintenance. As an educational facility, we feel well positioned to take the calculated risks involved in pushing the parameters of building sustainable homes. We have the time and resources to research many material and systems options, speak with potential suppliers and handle the paperwork that goes along with a program like the Living Building Challenge. These are hurdles that can prevent private sector builders from jumping into this kind of “deep green” building. At the same time, we are intentionally staying away from government grants or subsidies to build this home. We want to pay fair market value for materials and services and have the house be sold on the open market to show that this level of sustainability is not out of reach for the construction industry or homeowners. Our educational mandate also means that we are committed to sharing openly about what works and what could be improved spring 2012

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Transit to Transform our Communities

Lessons from South of the Border RTD light-rail train in downtown Denver.

7th Street Station on the LYNX light rail line in Charlotte.

By Raj Mohabeer, Halsall Associates


cross North America, transit is increasingly being seen as critical to a municipality’s pursuit of both environmental sustainability and quality of life for residents. Transit helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sustain local economic vitality, and support community health. However, investment in transit alone is not enough to achieve these ideals. Success requires intervention beyond the boundaries of the transit system itself to include the management of changes to land uses and property values along new transit corridors. Ontario Transit Projects In the coming years, transit investments in many communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) will advance as projects evolve from planning to design to construction. In Toronto, earth is already being moved for the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown project, and in York Region, utilities are being relocated 46 Green Building & Sustainable Strategies

Whole Foods, Pearl District

to make way for the Viva Next bus rapid transit. The Region of Waterloo is advancing its rapid transit project, while Mississauga is planning for the Hurontario corridor, and Durham and Halton Region projects are in different stages of environmental assessment. This is an opportune time for these municipalities to look at how other jurisdictions in North America have successfully managed the resulting corridor-wide land use impacts and opportunities. Case Study No. 1: Charlotte Area Transit System’s Lynx Line South Corridor One such place, Charlotte, North Carolina, has experienced a remarkable transformation as a result of its Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) Blue Line - South Corridor light rail project. As an indication of the impact, property values increased by 20-25% before LRT construction even began. How did this come about? Charlotte developed a vision for the light rail’s 10-mile corridor and created urban design plans that reflected this vision for areas within a 400m radius of each of the South Corridor’s 15 stations. The plans showed new linkages to existing neighborhoods, places to spring 2012

be protected and supported, new park spaces, and the location of future buildings. These plans were endorsed by residents through thorough public consultation. Further, the city actively participated in transforming land uses by making infrastructure investments guided by the South Corridor Infrastructure Program (SCIP) planning process.The $80 million SCIP project was the result of collaboration between the City’s Engineering and Property Management, CATS and Transportation departments. The project included street and intersection changes, improvements to potable water and storm water systems, and construction of 20km of sidewalks and more than 30km of other bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This active participation by the city contributed to shaping the land uses in a way that supported the transit investment being made by senior levels of government. Case Study No. 2: Denver Regional Transit District Another example is Denver Regional Transit District’s (RTD) FasTracks. This project will create 200 kilometers of light rail and commuter rail to serve a population expected to grow by 1.5 million people by 2035. spring 2012

In this case, Denver area cities worked together to create a common vision called Blueprint Denver. Developed through months of stakeholder consultation, Blueprint Denver shapes land use changes to support the planned regional transportation investments. To minimize environmental impact and develop infrastructure cost-effectively, growth is focused in specific areas to be served by transit. As a result of this effort, voters endorsed a referendum to increase local sales taxes to fund the transit project, and local land development regulations were updated to achieve the desired result of compact, complete, walkable neighborhoods. Case Study No. 3: Portland’s Pearl District The Pearl District, a 90-block area within Portland, Oregon’s River District, is an example of how incremental changes to land use, brought on by transit investments, has been managed to create an enduring place. The area’s change began with the redevelopment of the defunct industrial Hoyt Street Yards. The City and the developer worked together to create a vision and finance plan for the area. In 1998, a development Green Building & Sustainable Strategies 47

agreement was created where the developer would provide increased residential density, going from 15 to 131 units per acre, in return for publicly funded changes to the site. The developer was obligated to donate park land, build the public street grid to city standards, and contribute to the affordable housing goals. The redevelopment activity at the Hoyt Street Yards catalyzed redevelopment of adjacent blocks. By 2006, more than 7,400 new homes and a central business district were created as a result of the initial vision plan and infrastructure investments made by the developer and the city. Lessons for Ontario Municipalities There are lessons to be learned from the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by the Charlotte, Denver and Portland projects. These examples show that transit projects can play a significant role in improving the quality of life of current and future residents, not only along the transit corridor, but across the wider community. To accomplish this, however, municipalities must be active partners in changing land uses, increasing connectivity and building infrastructure to support intensification. Municipalities will have to carefully plan hard and soft infrastructure to support increased density and compact community form. Increases in density will require bigger pipes and more wires to serve peoples’ water, gas, electricity, and communications needs. Connectivity also requires new roads. More people on less land will also influence where schools, libraries, fire halls, and neighborhood retail are located as well as how they look and function. And all this has to be done through a process that reassures residents that their quality of life and property values will not be diminished. The next few years will be exciting for Canadian municipalities as they

Jamison Square, Pearl District, Portland, Oregon in 2009. Photographs courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

begin to see design and preliminary construction activity for transit systems. Now is the time to begin thoughtfully planning beyond the transit corridors. Raj Mohabeer, MCIP, RPP, ASLA, AICP, LEED AP, co-manages the Green Communities Practice Team at Halsall Associates. Raj has worked with and led multidisciplinary teams throughout Canada and the United States to develop urban design, transportation, planning, and sustainability solutions to make communities more livable while balancing social, economic, and environmental considerations. GB

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