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Green Building Resource Goes O... Home | Issue Archive

Energy Evolution: February 26, 2007

Green Building Resource Goes Online The developer of a new website that is intended to act as a “meeting ground” for those involved in the development of energy-efficient buildings says he decided to develop it after a frustrating search for information on companies involved in the sector in Canada. Leon Wasser, a Toronto-based graduate engineer who also holds an MBA and who has been involved in green buildings for over 20 years -- and who also is an executive with firms involved in the business -- says the newly developed site ( was a natural evolution for him. “I developed it largely because of my frustration with finding green products in Canada,” Wasser told Energy Evolution. “It was frustrating because no one had a directory of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) technologies, such as high-reflection glass or geothermal equipment. We decided to develop one ourselves [he and his wife, who is skilled in marketing].” Wasser brought online last month and it will be fully rolled out over the next several months. He is president of a new company that operates the website, which bills itself as “fill[ing] a need in the market” for a single site where companies, individuals, organizations and others who truly care about buildings can connect with each other and find the resources they need to achieve their green building objectives. In addition to those offering green building products, the site will be open to architects, professional engineers, interior designers and others who have succeeded in achieving LEED certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). “GreenMarketCanada is also the place for students, property owners, building managers, contractors and even practicing practitioners to find educational opportunities in order to broaden and deepen their green building knowledge base,” it says on the site’s home page. Wasser, who bills himself as an “environmental entrepreneur,” told Energy Evolution that, while it may have seemed like a logical outgrowth of CaGBC, which has its own website ( to provide the service GreenMarketCanada is offering, its non-profit status prevents it from doing so. His website won’t be totally free, although firms and individuals involved in the green building sector can add their names to others on the site for free. However, those wanting to provide more detail need to pay for a “hyperlink,” which would be linked to their basic listing. “A lot of the companies [and individuals] involved in green buildings don’t have the money for advertising, but they can still list themselves,” Wasser says. “Those that do have money for advertising can pay for a hyperlink.” There is a growing recognition that green buildings achieve lower energy costs, which has improved the economics of green buildings. But despite the growing interest, Wasser says his website was needed to connect the dots. His interest in green buildings and in the environment in general goes back many years. He received his degree in engineering, with a specialty in civil and project engineering, from Montreal’s McGill University, followed by post-graduate studies at Concordia University, located in the same city, where he specialized in the study of solar and geothermal systems. Concordia has since established a national centre for solar energy.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Green Building Resource Goes O... Wasser then received an MBA from York University, located near Toronto. He followed that with jobs at a variety of engineering companies specializing in environmental areas. He also worked in the 1980s as a project engineer with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). “A lot of people think AECL isn’t green, but I think it is [because nuclear plants produce no GHG emissions],” he says. He then went back to York University, where he taught and was involved in overseeing some ambitious environmentally oriented projects. One involved the establishment of what was then the largest non-municipal recycling project in Canada, which is still in operation today at the campus. His next project for the university brought him back to green building concepts. “York University was one of the most windswept campuses in Canada, with large open spaces and a lot of roads,” he says. In other words, it was pedestrian unfriendly. Wasser set about, along with others at the campus, to change that. A redevelopment plan was designed that included creating walkways, planting more trees, renovating buildings to accommodate passive solar energy and many other steps, all aimed at making the campus friendly to walkers. He also had a hand in designing the new computer sciences building on the campus, one of Canada’s first LEED silver designated buildings. In addition, he helped design two large cogeneration systems that produce 10 megawatts of power in total -- a large output for cogen systems. York has one of the world’s largest environmental studies programs, where Wasser has taught. He was with the university through to 2000-2001. He is now working towards a master’s degree in environmental studies. He is also involved with companies involved in the green building industry, such as Sustainabuild, which designs and develops green buildings (he is the president) and PowerCon, which has the rights to a power conservation technology that can be used in smaller and larger buildings. For instance, Wasser, who is vice-president of that firm, has worked with several hospitals in installing the systems. He says that, while the momentum is building in Canada in support of green buildings, it’s still a much stronger movement in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. “In the U.K. they even have a whole profession we don’t have that’s dedicated to the technology,” he says. “It’s called quantity surveying, which involves analyzing the life-cycle costs of buildings.” Wasser says that much of the North American building industry is shortsighted, concentrating on the capital costs of their structure, rather than on the long-term operating costs. “But, the fact is, only 20% of the total cost of a building is the capital costs, while 80% can be attributed to long-term operating costs,” he says. “If you cut your utility costs by 20% you get back 10% of the total cost of a building.” The core of the problem is that Canadians live in a “throwaway society,” with the belief that there are limitless resources. But another factor is economics, he acknowledges. “Electricity costs about 23 cents per kilowatt-hour in the U.K., about 11 cents in California, and about 5.5 cents in Ontario.” Still, rising energy costs, plus the knowledge that long-term savings are achievable with green buildings -- along with

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Green Building Resource Goes O... the fact they are healthier to work in -- is leading to a growing understanding of LEED concepts. That’s an understanding he hopes to capitalize on with, which he says will specialize in the area, not going beyond the field to deal with renewable energy or other environmental areas. © 2010 Copyright JuneWarren-Nickle’s Energy Group. All rights reserved. Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Comments

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

AirLandWater Magazine - Green Building Resource Goes Online  

Article about the launch of Green Market Canada

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