Green Building Certifications Show Strong Growth 1

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Monday, May 5th, 2014
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Green building certifications in Canada, the US, and Australia continue to show strong growth.

The Canada Green Building Council said it certified 140 new LEED projects in the first quarter of 2014. Of those 140, 5 earned LEED Platinum, 47 earned LEED Gold, 50 earned LEED Silver, and 38 earned LEED Certified status. LEED certified projects now total 1631 in Canada. An additional 109 projects were registered to pursue certification through March 31, bringing the country’s LEED total to 6423 projects registered and certified.

“2014 is a significant year for the CaGBC with the increasing number of projects certifying in Canada and with the ongoing transition to LEED v4, which is creating a lot of excitement in the industry,” said CaGBC director of green building programs Mark Hutchinson. “LEED v4 is the latest version of the program. CaGBC said the most prominent changes involve how LEED recognizes materials “in an effort to move the industry toward a better understanding of material choices and applications.”

One notable new project is the LEED Gold Surrey City Centre Library in Surrey, British Columbia. The building makes extensive use of concrete thermal mass for temperature regulation, and enough daylighting that some lights in the building can remain off during the day. CaGBC said the building’s architect, Bing Thom Architects, “developed a social media campaign to engage the community in the design of the building, encouraging the public to post comments and photos, thereby making the City Centre Library one of the first public buildings to be designed with the aid of social media.”

In 2013, CaGBC certified a one-year record total of 574 projects, including 173 LEED Gold projects and 32 LEED Platinum projects. The highest number of projects was certified in Ontario with 221, followed by Quebec with 121, British Columbia with 87, and Alberta with 78.

Australia’s Green Star certification program showed robust activity in 2013 as well. Green Star registered 134 new projects, and certified 105 projects. In the first quarter of 2014, Green Star certified 30 projects, broken down as follows:

● 1 Custom rating for Stockland’s Selandra Rise retirement living development
● 14 for education
● 2 for healthcare
● 4 in industrial
● 6 in multi-unit residential
● 50 in office
● 22 in office interiors
● 3 for public building
● 3 for retail.

“We now have 641 Green Star certified projects across every state and territory, with a further 486 projects registered to achieve ratings,” said Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew.

In the United States, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently certified the 20,000th project under the LEED Commercial standard. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) achieved certification under LEED for Commercial Interiors for their offices and staff services space in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“The 20,000th LEED certification belongs to an organization that shares our social and environmental values, and we applaud GMCR on its accomplishment,” said USGBC president, CEO and founding chair Rick Fedrizzi.

The USGBC also recently announced that the LEED program has certified more than 50,000 housing units since its inception in 2007, with more than 17,000 projects certified in 2013. The organisation said more than 82,000 units are now under construction and in the pipeline for LEED certification.

LEED has been under attack recently, with the Ohio Senate voting to ban the use of LEED in government projects. Green Globes is supported by the timber, plastics, and chemical industries.

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  1. Tony Arhanic

    Its Fantastic to see a growth in Green Building Certifications in Canada and Australia.
    I am now finding that once clients realise that the whole lighting or power efficiency project can be funded over a 4-5 year period (cost neutral – with no changes to current cash flows) by utilising power savings, and that they will be making money or adding to their bottom line profit after the 4-5 year period on an annual basis, clients start using the term "no-brainer" whilst also being seen to keep up with current technologies and promoting a sustainable portfolio that is attractive to their customers and shareholders.
    The value that can be added to a organisation, State or Country by funding projects that are cost neutral (and help realise potential future income – i.e. "makes clients money" once the project funding has been repaid), whilst also helping to stimulate the economy and improve or increase overall green credentials cannot be underestimated and just makes good business/environmental sense.