Canada Catches LEED Certification Bug In 2012

The red maple leaf of Canada now has a decidedly greener tinge after a record-setting year for LEED certifications. According to a January letter to members of the Canadian Green Building Council’s (CGBC) Greater Toronto Chapter, more than 300 buildings were LEED-certified in 2012—a significant rise from the 190 LEED certs recorded in 2011.

Out of the 300 buildings that were LEED certified last year, 140 were located in Ontario, said Toronto Chapter Executive Director Hazel Farley. The heavily populated province is clearly the driver of most Canadian development, but Ontario is not the only place to find innovative LEED-certified designs. Here are a few green building accomplishments that made the news in recent weeks from all across our neighbor to the north.

Altus Group Headquarters, Toronto

The Toronto headquarters of The Altus Group is one of more than 300 buildings in Canada to earn LEED certification in 2012. Image via The Altus Group.

The Toronto headquarters of The Altus Group is one of more than 300 buildings in Canada to earn LEED certification in 2012. Image via The Altus Group.

The Altus Group, a global real estate firm, demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship by designing its Toronto headquarters to the LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Gold certification standards. Beginning in 2010, Altus designed it 56,000-square-foot, 13-story office building with several sustainable and energy-reducing features that it includes in many of its other structures.

Most of the furniture materials purchased by Altus were sourced regionally, to save on transportation costs and decrease the building’s carbon footprint. Also, more than 70 percent of all construction materials were regionally manufactured, and more than 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from area landfills.

Once completed, the building cut its water use by more than 40 percent, compared to conventional buildings of its size, and lighting power and controls were optimized to reduce energy consumption Altus said.

Kinnear Centre, Banff National Park, Alberta

The LEED Gold-certified Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at The Banff Centre. Image by Laura Vanags via The Banff Centre.

The LEED Gold-certified Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at The Banff Centre. Image by Laura Vanags via The Banff Centre.

The 60,000-square-foot Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at The Banff Centre, nestled in the Canadaian Rockies, is the first facility in Banff National Park to attain LEED Gold certification for New Construction. Opened in 2010, the conference and performing arts facility earned its Gold rating in December for its efficient exterior building envelope, sun shading to reduce energy use and innovative stormwater management system.

During construction, 78 per cent of wood products were supplied from sustainable forest sources and native vegetation in green areas was included to ensure the maintenance of wildlife corridors, CGBC said. The building operates with 37 percent less energy than the Model Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. Showers, bike racks and change rooms were also added for employees, to encourage green commuting.

The Kinnear Centre is one of only 16 buildings in the province of Alberta to achieve LEED Gold certification, according the CGBC. The facility is also one of only three LEED-certified buildings in Banff, the others being the Banff Community High School and Town of Banff Fleet Transit Services Building.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.