Last week, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) launched its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Canada for Homes certification program simultaneously in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
In Toronto, the launch took place on Tuesday, March 3rd at the Archetype Sustainable House located at the Kortright Centre’s Living City Campus. The Archetype Sustainable House was constructed by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) to demonstrate to the public and the building industry the latest in green home technology.
The Canadian program trails the launch of the US LEED for Homes program which has already certified about 1,400 homes, 200 of which are located in Canada. It is the latest program for the CaGBC's which until now have targetted commercial and multi-unit residential buildings.
LEED Canada for Homes joins a dizzying array of energy and green home standards and labels already available in the Canadian home building market including R-2000, Energuide, Energy Star, GreenHouse and BuiltGreen available in B.C. and Alberta. There is also an Energy Star program for homes in the U.S.
Furthermore, LEED Canada for Homes has entered the fray in the same month that the Province of Ontario introduced legislation requiring that homeowners conduct an energy audit before selling their homes.
According to Leith Moore, Chair of BILD there are already 10,000 Energy Star homes in Ontario and many builders have embraced the standard. Moore explained that BILD does not endorse a single label or standard but supports the full range of green building and energy rating options available to the public.
LEED Canada for Homes applies to new single-family homes or low rise multi-family of no more than three storeys. It is distinguished as the only National green homes labelling program that requires third party verification. Like other LEED programs it is a point based rating system that incorporates a basic 'certified' label increasing to silver, gold and platinum depending on the number of points achieved.
Andrew Pride, Vice President of Minto's Green Team and chair of the LEED Canada for Homes Committeee for CaGBC said that the guiding princiapls behind LEED Canada for Homes were determined following a CaGBC consultation with the building industry. The consultation involved 47 builders representing 400 new homes that are part of a pilot project. Pride explained that the building community asked for “an industry led program” that produces authentially green houses and takes into account existing Government programs.
According to Pride the launch of LEED Canada for Homes was accelerated in response to growing demand for Green Homes from prospective homeowners. According to a CaGBC news release a recent Nielsen survey of 5,000 Canadian home owners 82% said they would pay more if a home were certified and 85% said a certificate would play an important role in their purchasing decision.
The CaGBC LEED Canada for Homes rating system allows for a maximum of 136 points in eight categories.
38 for energy and atmosphere
22 for sustainable sites
21 for indoor environmental quality
16 for materials and resources
15 for water efficiency
11 for innovation and design process
10 for location and linkages
3 for awareness and education
The minimum points for a certification is 45 points, 60 for silver, 75 for gold and 90 for platinum. Like other LEED programs there is a prerequisite point requirement and additional credits available in each category.
The program also incorporates a point adjustment forumula to account for building size above and below a "neutral" size allowance specified in the program's guidelines. The LEED Canada for Homes has no maximum size for a home. The neutral size allowance, which one might assume is 'average' for a green home, is as follows:
1 bedroom – 1,050 square feet
2 bedroom – 1,600 square feet
3 bedroom – 2,200 square feet
4 bedroom – 3,000 square feet
5 bedroom – 3,300 square feet
Seven providers have been selected by CaGBC located across the country who are experts in high performance sustainable building and provide green home rating support services to builders will be responsible for the initial delivery of the program.
Education and information sessions have been planned by CaGBC across the country to ensure the homebuilder market understands the opportunities offered by LEED Canada for Homes.