Green buildings double in number in one year

Building 'greener' buildings in Canada has caught on at a spectacular pace in the past twelve months since the first Green Real Estate Conference at this time last year.

The increasing acceptance and adoption of green building practices is evident by a doubling in the number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings and others registered for LEED certification with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

(Buildings are first registered for LEED, then building owners are required to follow a LEED development process that can take a few months to years before they are assessed and then certified according to the level of sustainability they achieve.)

The past year has also had numerous high profile green building announcements; three new 'green' office towers in Toronto, the Remington Groups 243 acre LEED development in Downtown Markham, Oxford Properties 40 storey LEED tower Centennial Place in Calgary, release of LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) in Canada, Canada's first platinum building the Operations Centre for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in Sidney B.C. and umpteen stories about new LEED buildings registering with CaGBC.

Comparing figures published in a RENX article last March (see below), to current information available on theCaGBC website, shows that the number of LEED certified projects has increased from 30 to 60. The number of projects registered for LEED has doubled to about 395. Similar growth has occurred with the BOMA GoGreen program which currently has 255 certified projects and 40 in the queue (see Table 2 below).

The USGBC, responsible for creating LEED in the late 1990's, before it came to Canada in 2002, reports that there are 735 LEED certified and 5,562 registered buildings in their program.

Table 1: Canadian LEED Certified and Registered Buildings

The table is derived from information on the CaGBC website, the CaGBC list of LEED certified projects as of February 27, 2007.and a RENX article published in March 2006. There were about 30 LEED certified projects in March 2006.

Feb 2007
Feb 2007
March 2006
BC 26 114 71
AB 13 81 30
SK 1 11 7
MB 1 21 10
ON 14 114 56
QC 2 32 15
NB 2 6 6
NS 1 11 6
PEI 0 1 1
NF 0 0 0
NWT 0 2 1
Nunavut 0 2 2
Total 60 395 205
Approximate number of Canadian buildings certified/registered by the USGBC. 53 22

The number of Canadian buildings registered or certified with USGBC has doubled in the past year to about 53. Some projects were registered prior to a LEED program being established in Canada. Others are registered under a rating system not available in Canada such as Bell Trinity Square in Toronto owned by Northam Realty Advisors (LEED Existing Building), Bankers Court in Calgary, a Brookfield property and Welland Smart Centre a Calloway REIT project (LEED Core and Shell) and City of Montreal new head office (LEED Commercial Interior).

Table 2: OMA GoGreen Certified Buildings in March 2007

The following table is a summary of information available on the BOMA GoGreen website. There are about 41 additional projects registered for certification

  GoGreen GoGreen Plus
BC 80 0
AB 39 7
MB 2 0
ON 44 21
QC 90 4
Total 255 32

LEED Breakdown by Province

As the Province where LEED was first introduced, B.C. has historically led the country with respect to the number of certified and registered LEED projects. While B.C. continues to have the most certified buildings (23) and significantly more than Ontario in second place with (14), it is a different story for registered projects. Ontario has 130 projects registered for LEED certification surpassing B.C. with 114 in the past twelve months and the number of registered projects in Alberta has almost tripled to 80.

Noteworthy among the other provinces is Quebec which has the largest proportion of BOMA GoGreen buildings but has fewer LEED projects per capita than Ontario and B.C. The French version of BOMA's program, Visezvert, may make the BOMA program more accessible to Quebecers than LEED which appears to be only available in English. Newfoundland is the only Province with zero certified or registered LEED projects.

Canadian LEED Registered Buildings by Sector

A casual review of the CaGBC database indicates that the majority of LEED projects continue to be sponsored by a government, primarily at the municipal level. While LEED projects were initially a big city phenomena there are more LEED registered buildings from smaller municipalities than a year ago.

At the Federal level the RCMP and Parks Department have registered projects with LEED and new Federal office buildings are required to be LEED certified. Conspicuously absent from the list are Provincial Government projects that are not in the education or health sectors.


The retail and industrial sectors are considered to have on average the 'least green' buildings of all the sectors. It is important therefore to note that there are now 11 registered retail projects while there were none last year. Two retail locations received LEED certification the George & Kathy Dembroski Centre for Horticulture in Toronto and the North Hill Home Depot in Calgary.

Canadian retail locations controlled by U.S. companies may be making significant initiatives to green their buildings and operations (e.g. Wal-mart, Home Depot) that is not reflected in the list. Also the absence of a Canadian 'LEED retail' or 'multiple location LEED', both of which are being piloted by the USGBC, may result in 'green' retail projects being understated in CaGBC figures.


In 2006 four privately owned industrial buildings were LEED certified bringing the total number of industrial buildings to seven. They are the Steelcare Plant in Hamilton (Gold), the Omron Dualtec Ecu Division in Oakville (Silver), Metro Label Printing Facility in Toronto and the Canpar Distribution Facility in Toronto.

Table 3: Canadian LEED Registered Buildings by Sector

The following table is a summary of information available on the CaGBC website.

Office 72
Hi-rise multi unit residential 30
Mid-rise multi unit residential 43
Low-rise multi unit residential 5
Multi unit residential (78)  
High School 10
Public School 18
Lecture Hall/Classroom 24
Daycare 2
Education (54)  
Library 8
Laboratory 9
Hospital/Clinic 10
Nursing Home 6
Bank – Credit Union 5
Retail 11
Industrial/Manufacturing 16
Public Safety/Fire Hall 21
Public Transportation 1
Community Centre 15
Sports Facility 19
Assembly 1
Conservation Centre 11
Church 1
Hotels 2
Mixed-use 36
Other 23
Total 395

Canadian LEED Registered Buildings by Rating System

In Canada, there are four different rating systems: a BC LEED rating system used when the program first started, an older (NC 1.0) and newer version of LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors. Each system has the four levels of achievement; certified, silver, gold and platinum. The CaGBC is considering a Canadian Core and Shell and Existing Building LEED program.

In 2006, the CaGBC introduced LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED CI) resulting in certification of 11 LEED CI projects. The highest achievers are four LEED Gold projects: HOK Canada + Urbana Architects Office in Toronto, Omicron Office Tenant Improvement in Vancouver, the Vancouver Port Authority Offices and D'Ambrosio architecture + urbanism studio/office in Victoria.

The USGBC offers LEED for New Construction, Commercial Interior, Core and Shell, Existing Buildings and Neighbourhood. It is also piloting several other new rating categories including, Multi-Project, Green Home and Retail.

The USCBC is offering free platinum certificates to qualified projects but the CaGBC is currently not making the same offer.

Table 4: LEED Certified Buildings by Rating System

The following information is also published on the CaGBC website.

LEED Canada NC 1.0 23

2 LEED BC-NC 1.0

Total 60

Publication of Green Buildings and The Bottom Line a report that summarizes Green Building activity in the U.S., and regular reports on the USGBC website, have provided a readily available snap shot of the Green Building sector in the U.S.

A full blown study of the green building sector in Canada may be premature but more robust accounting would facilitate information sharing that might help accelerate the adoption of greener building practices in Canada.

Register for the Green Real Estate Conference is April 18, 2007 at the Toronto Convention Centre and learn more about Canada's Green Building sector.

Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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