Canadian Consulting Engineer

Conference marks shift of green construction into mainstream

The Canada Green Building Council held its first national summit in Toronto on June 11 and 12. The seminal event, "...

June 16, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Canada Green Building Council held its first national summit in Toronto on June 11 and 12. The seminal event, “Shifting into the Mainstream,” was sold out and one of the first people to address the opening session attended by over 1,000 people was Kevin Hydes, P.Eng. <br>
Hydes is the chair of the World Green Building Council. He is also a vice-president at Stantec, and an advisor to Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine. <br>
Toronto has the distinction of being the site of the World Green Building headquarters. It is located at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Living City Campus at Kortright in Woodbridge.<br>
Hydes began by pointing out that there are now six billion people sharing “our one home, this planet.” <br>
He said “the global green tsunami is sweeping the world.” As an engineer by profession, he said, he was finding that the old idea where firms would wish to keep their ideas secret from the competition is giving way in the green movement to a sharing of ideas in the common cause.<br>
The construction industry can play an enormous role in the environmental movement because it so large and important, Hyde said. He pointed out that the construction sector it is four times larger than the automobile industry, “which gets a lot more media attention.” Construction worldwide employs 100 million people, and represents a $4.6-trillion market. The largest markets are Asia, the U.S. and Europe. <br>
A total of 47 countries now have green building councils, Hyde explained, including China, which just launched one two months ago. China will have half the buildings in the world in the next 10 years, Hyde said. <br>
Following Hyde, Sandy Wiggins, the immediate past chair of the US Green Building Council said that the year 2007 was the year of a fundamental shift in the United States, “when green stopped being fringe and became mainstream.” <br>
He noted that advertising on construction hoardings commonly boasts “projected LEED Gold certification,” or the like. <br>
The “millennial generation” of green buildings is coming on line, he said, and that they now have a huge green building industry, with about 25,000 LEED-certified buildings registered or in the pipeline. They represent 4 billion square feet, he said. <br>
Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council, noted that it has 3,600 LEED accredited professionals now on its books. <br>
He said in this country, 35% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the operation of buildings. What’s exciting is that there are already very workable solutions to cut those emissions by half, Mueller said. <br>
By 2015, the Canada Green Building Council aims to certify 100,000 commercial and 1,000,000 homes with documented GHG reductions that will help Canada meet its Kyoto commitment.<br>
The summit was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North Building.<br>
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