Category: Construction, Development & Real Estate

  • Four Ways Cities Are Greening Our Buildings

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    Filed in Construction, Development & Real Estate , Eco-Innovation , Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Worldwatch Institute

    Can a city be sustainable? That’s what our 2016 edition of State of the World investigates. In his chapter, “Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Buildings,” author and project co-director Michael Renner explains what actions cities can take to make their buildings greener.

    Buildings are some of the biggest users of materials and water, consume nearly half of the world’s energy, and contribute almost half of global greenhouse gas emissions. With more buildings sprouting up every year and existing ones often being inefficient, cities have begun to tap into their toolkit of policies to help reach sustainability goals.

    Four Methods That Work

    Tapping into their policy toolkits, municipalities around the world are using a blend of building codes and permits, zoning regulations, building performance ordinances, and other mandates and regulations. Taxes and other financial policies can provide additional incentives. Subsidies can reduce the upfront cost of retrofits and ensure that lower-income residents are not left behind.

    Here are four tactics that cities and their residents are using to push toward urban sustainability:

    1. Building Certifications

    Hundreds of green certifications exist today, ranging from standards for equipment and appliances (such as Energy Star and WaterSense) to certifications for entire buildings (such as BREEAM and LEED). ... Read More

  • New map reveals job-creating power of green building sector in B.C.

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    Filed in Construction, Development & Real Estate , Environment & Climate , on by Pembina Institute

    The Pembina Institute’s newest interactive map quantifies the number of jobs in B.C.’s green-building sector and pinpoints where energy-efficient homes and buildings are located in the province.

    Released today to coincide with Buildings Day at the United Nations climate-change conference in Paris, the B.C. Green Buildings Map shows that this growing sector already employs tens of thousands of British Columbians. These jobs are found in both our biggest cities and our most remote communities.

    The innovative companies in the green-building sector are literally the building blocks of the clean economy in the province, turning the climate challenge into an economic opportunity. B.C.’s government has taken steps to support this sector, but must take further and faster action to meet its greenhouse-gas emissions targets and accelerate the growth of the clean economy.

    Homes and buildings use nearly a quarter of the electricity consumed in B.C. They also generate over 10 per cent of our province’s carbon emissions.

    Last week, over 80 companies, organizations and cities threw their support behind the Call for Action on Energy and Climate in the Building Sector. The joint declaration urges the province to take bold measures to reduce emissions from homes and buildings.

    B.C.’s Climate Leadership Team has recommended that the province accelerate ... Read More

  • Life Cycle Analysis and Environmental Product Declarations: North American Market Analysis

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    Filed in Construction, Development & Real Estate , Environment & Climate , on by Light House Sustainable Building Centre

    With the official launch of the USGBC’s LEED version 4 at Greenbuild Nation in November 2013, Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are becoming hot new topics of discussion. With LEED v4, project teams will be able to achieve LEED credits for conducting a whole building LCA and/or choosing products with a 3rd party validated EPD. The goal behind allocating credits for these options is fostering transparency.

    According to the US EPA, LCA is an integrated concept for managing the total life cycle of products and services towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

    How it works:

    • Compile an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases.
    • Evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases.
    • Interpret the results to help you make a more informed decision.

    For manufacturers, LCAs are a way of completely analyzing a product’s environmental impact at each stage of its life cycle: extraction or harvesting, pre-processing, manufacturing, transportation, use, disassembly, re-manufacturing and/or disposal.

    LCAs can be conducted on construction materials, electronics, precious metals, wastewater treatment plants, consumables such as coffee or alcoholic beverages, and software systems, to name only a few examples.

    LCA results can be reported in multiple formats; for some industries such as carpet/flooring ... Read More