Not only is green the future, but going green is one of the only ways the future will be preserved for upcoming generations. People are realizing that materials and building practices which negatively impact the environment need to be done away with or reformed, causing something of a green revolution in Canada.
The benefits to ecofriendly building practices for the consumer are endless. The preservation of natural resources, reduction of pollution, improved air quality, energy efficient furnaces and appliances—the list goes on. These green changes to construction are providing a better quality of life for people in the community and are in many ways saving people money.
It’s a consumer-driven trend, with “green” properties often being associated with higher quality, and realtors using the ecofriendly features as a selling aspect. And what consumers demand, businesses should provide.
The challenge for the construction industry has been to catch up to this green revolution, which can be tricky. Decades’-old practices are difficult to give up and often cheaper than instituting a new procedure or green initiative, and there are several different green certifications available that certify a business in a range of things.
Canada offers several different certification programs for businesses and contractors to go through to become knowledgeable about certain types of green building practices. Each certificate delivers a different end goal though, and it can be confusing which one is the best fit for the offerings of the site.
And while LEED is perhaps the most popular certification available in Canada for which to strive, Green Globes has a different approach to certification that is starting to give the regulatory company an edge. With a five-tiered rating system, Green Globes can recognize a range of projects that use building practices that contribute to environment stewardship.
One of the major appeals of Green Globes is that the program is “not an all-or-nothing approach to certification,” explains Wolf Geisler of Element Sustainable Design Consulting. The company understands that it is difficult to fit all buildings into the same regulatory mold, so through its different programs it addresses the three main components of sustainability—environmental, social, and economic—in different ways.
Perhaps one of the most unique certifications, the Living Building Challenge forces projects to consider future not just present impact to the environment, but also the landscape in 20, 30 and 50 years. The Living Building Challenge is operated by the Canada Green Building Council in concert with the International Living Future Institute.
In the end, ecofriendly construction and building is better for everyone, and plenty of construction companies and contractors have caught on to the important of getting a project green-certified.