Earlier this week, a media contact asked just what that I meant when I said that were shooting to be one of the greenest buildings in Canada. Just how “Green” will the Field Station be? Well, we are designing and building to attempt to join a pretty exclusive club in seeking LEEDTM Platinum Certification.
Our intent is to support sustainability in the coastal environment (land, estuary and sea) and educate about coastal sustainability issues. In coastal systems bivalve shellfish are the ecosystem engineers of bays and estuaries, creating the enabling conditions for many other species as well as providing important services to people. Not so fun fact: Globally, 85 percent of oyster reefs have been lost, making these the most severely impacted marine habitat on the planet.
We originally set out to “walk the talk” in our own development at the Field Station, but that has really grown into being part of a much larger VIU initiative about demonstrating, educating and providing sustainability leadership.
Seeking Platinum LEED Certification is how we will prove just how “Green” we are. Read on to learn about The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ and just how exclusive this club is.
From the website of the Canada Green Building Council
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. It provides building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance.
LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:
- sustainable site development
- water efficiency
- energy efficiency
- materials selection
- indoor environmental quality
And just how “green” does this make us if we acheive our goal of Platinum Certification?
As of December 31st of 2009, only 12 of 134 LEED buildings that had completed the LEED certification process had made “Platinum certification” in all of Canada (less than 10%). Two of those are on Vancouver Island (yeah!) and our design team built one of them. At present, there are another 1592 projects that have registered (we’re # 12325 btw) which is exciting for green building development. But compare that to the fact that there is an estimated half million commercial and institutional buildings in Canada and buildings are estimated to be responsible for 35% of Green house gas emissions. So whether we are in the top 10% of all LEED buildings, or the top 0.3% of all commercial/institutional buildings in Canada, that means something special.