Registration is open for an online version of the Canada Green Building Council‘s (CaGBC) annual conference, organized following the pandemic-related cancellation of the in-person Building Lasting Change 2020.
The virtual version of Building Lasting Change 2020 (BLC) will kick off on Sept. 22 during World Green Building Week. It will feature interactive online programming over five half-days in September and October, with two additional stand-alone live webcast symposiums later in the fall.
“When we did make the call to move the conference online, there were new sets of challenges to overcome,” said Kim Cunningham, the CaGBC’s national manager of marketing, membership and events, in an exchange of emails with RENX. “Finding a date was just as challenging with an online event as a physical one, as you are still competing with other industry events as more move online.”
The CaGBC consulted other organizations which had hosted online conferences to learn from their best practices and did extensive research in reviewing events in different industries to ensure it fully understood its options.
“Based on these learnings, we established a unique approach for the conference that focused on half-day sessions over a five-week span,” said Cunningham. “This schedule provides the greatest flexibility, so it is easier to work into people’s busy schedules.”
Cunningham said speakers and presenters originally scheduled to attend the Toronto conference have been positive about participating virtually instead.
Green buildings and economic recovery
“COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on how buildings are managed and how performance is tracked,” said Akua Schatz, vice-president of market engagement and advocacy.
“Leveraging tools like Arc and third-party certifications can help building owners and managers document, track and verify critical infection control policies and procedures — an important differentiator for leading property owners and managers moving forward.”
The theme of BLC is “Ready, Set, Recover,” which coincides with a new CaGBC initiative involving REALPAC, Canadian Urban Institute, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and other organizations. These groups are lending their support to encourage government decision-makers to direct stimulus spending toward green building initiatives.
“As governments and industry consider Canada’s pandemic recovery, they will decide where to target increased spending and investment,” said Schatz. “Green building offers the most actionable solutions and can reignite the economy by creating skilled jobs and increasing innovation while reducing carbon emissions and enhancing Canadians’ quality of life.”
The building sector accounts for almost 30 per cent of Canada’s carbon emissions when materials, construction and operations are considered.
The CaGBC says the green building sector contributes $47.9 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and employs almost half-a-million people. A new CaGBC report coming in September will say a government stimulus package that prioritizes green building could contribute almost $150 billion to the economy and employ 1.5 million people by 2030.
“As zero-carbon building advances, we’re creating demand for low-carbon skills and growing a knowledgeable workforce that will be able to meet the rising demand for zero-carbon buildings,” said Schatz.
“These are good, quality jobs that require a broad range of skill sets, as high-performance building is more complicated and more collaborative.”
Building Lasting Change elements
Each day of BLC will start with a keynote presentation, followed by two concurrent session blocks relevant to the day’s theme. The dates and themes for the five sessions are:
* Sept. 22 – Ready, Set, Recover: Reigniting Canada’s Economy;
* Sept. 29 – Zero Carbon: Make Zero Today;
* Oct. 6 – Resilience and Adaptation: Responding to Change;
* Oct. 13 – Retrofits: Beyond Energy Efficiency;
* Oct. 20 – Health and Livability: Pillars of Green Building.
“In addition to traditional education sessions, participants will have the option to select workshops and training on key topics, including a look at the new Zero Carbon Building Standard, the Investor Confidence Project, standards for climate-resistant infrastructure and building, safe re-entry with LEED and Arc, and updates on LEED v4 and v4.1,” said CaGBC head of client experience Scott Ringler.
Special showcases for exhibitors, sponsors and national award winners have been created to take place throughout the series of events.
The pandemic impacted some of the CaGBC’s regional in-person conferences, including BuildGreen Atlantic, Alberta Sustainable Building Symposium and Build SASK Green. BLC will leverage its online platform to highlight regional successes that would have been covered at these events to a larger national audience in an Oct. 27 session.
A half-day session on Nov. 3 will be dedicated to the “Women in Green” series launched at last year’s BLC.
Delegates will have access to on-demand versions of the presentations after the conference, enabling them to watch sessions they weren’t able to attend as they happened.
“Although this may not be the event we originally planned, we are very excited about the possibilities associated with the virtual event model, which offers extreme flexibility, unlimited reach, longevity and, perhaps most important, a significantly reduced environmental impact,” said Ringler.