In less than four years, since the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System® (LEED) was established by the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC), it has grown from obscurity to what is becoming a 'must have' for new downtown office buildings. Multi-residential developers, some who have completed green condos, may be the next sector to fully embrace LEED. Until recently various levels of Government have used the LEED program but now the private sector is scrambling to become 'green' and 'more green' than their competitors.
The 'green' phenomena is no longer the venue of a social fringe. It has entered the mainstream and it is being embraced by the well-heeled and influential such as Fortune 500 companies . Prominent builders and property owners across Canada are building, or are plan to construct 'green buildings', suitable for LEED certification. They include; Minto , Cadillac Fairview, Menkes, Giffels, Brookfield Properties and Windmill Developments, to mention a few.
Major tenants such as RBC , Telus and Royal Sun Alliance are opting to lease 'LEED buildings'. Environmentally conscious corporations such as SAS and Mountain Equipment Co-op have built their own green buildings. Municipalities like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto have policies that call for a 'greening of the urban environment'. 'Green' links are sprouting, like spring flowers, on developers and commercial real estate websites.
According to Mark Chapman, Vice President, Office Development, Giffels Design-Build Inc. "There won’t be a building in Canada that isn't built to a LEED standard in five years." He went on to say, "
The energy benefits more than pay for LEED. The higher the level of LEED, the more energy efficient the building and the greater the cost savings." Giffels is currently involved in five LEED projects at various stages of development in five different provinces.
As the pressure increases for property owners to be 'Green', we can expect the incidence of 'green washing', exaggerrated claims about environmental stewardship, to grow. Green building rating systems and certificates is a way for building owners to have an arms length organization assess the performance of their building.
In Canada BOMA Go Green and LEED are the two leading green building certification programs. At this stage, most real estate professionals would have trouble differentiating between the two while the average consumer is light years from comprehending their relevance. Nevertheless readily accessible resources for validating the claims of property owners are going to become more important.
To check if a building is LEED certified, or registered to become certified, visit the Canada Green Building Council website. The website lists 27 buildings that have been certified in Canada with detailed descriptions. The US Green Building Council which certified buildings before there was a Canadian LEED has 22 Canadian buildings on its website. BOMA GoGreen has a similar list of certified properties.
There is a new section of the CGBC website where buildings that are REGISTERED FOR LEED are listed in a searchable database. Registration for LEED qualifies an applicant to receive CGBC LEED related services but it does not give them 'a certificate'. A certificate is granted once a building is completed, inspected by a LEED professional and approved by the CGBC (with all fees paid) for the requested level of LEED designation.
According to Thomas Mueller, President of the CGBC there are 30 buildings that have been certified. There are 38 requests for registration waiting to be considered by CGBC and 210-215 buildings that are registered and either listed, or about to be listed on the website, for a total of about 250.
RENX sorted the CGBC database of buildings Registered for LEED by province and arrived at the results shown below. A noteworthy finding is that while almost all of the 30 LEED Certified buildings are in Western Canada. By comparison the number of buildings Registered for LEED east of Manitoba is about 40% of the total. Clearly Eastern Canada has started to take 'green buildings' and LEED certification more seriously.
The database was also sorted by the type of building registered for LEED. Unfortunately the database (just out of the box) has a bug that excludes about half the buildings from the results. Once fixed, this search feature will then provide a very useful breakdown of LEED registrants by building type.
Sorting the database by building type, as a representative sample rather than an accurate one, revealed that office buildings (44), schools (28) and mult-residential (21) buildings accounted for about half the buildings. Other building types were distributed between Government uses such as labratories, hospitals, conservation areas, transportation facilities, sports and community centres, and public safety related buildings.
There are no applicants from the retail sector for LEED certification and the only 'industrial like' uses have been applied for by a Government.
|Buildings registered for LEED certification on the CGBC website – March 30, 2006|