Canadian Consulting Engineer

LEED Green Up program meant to be affordable

December 16, 2009
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Recent developments and upcoming changes in the popular LEED green building rating system and BOMA BESt progra...

Recent developments and upcoming changes in the popular LEED green building rating system and BOMA BESt program were outlined at a session at Construct Canada on December 3.

Panelist Lisa Bate of Bregman & Hamann Architects presented the latest developments with LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a program of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). 

Bate said CaGBC recent introduced specialist LEED certification streams for Existing Buildings, Operations and Management, otherwise known as EBO&M, and another for Homes.

Now in June 2010 a new version of LEED’s  New Construction evaluation system will be launched, including the system for Core and Shell.  In the 2010 version, the credit categories are the same, Bate said, but there are major changes to the energy component. For example, all energy uses will be included, including lighting for parking lots and walkways.

Another new launch under the LEED umbrella is its “Green Up” program by which building owners and operators can measure their building’s ongoing performance against benchmarks. The Green Up program includes an audit to measure the building’s potential for LEED certification, and will suggest ways to improve performance.

It wasn’t entirely clear to the audience how this Green Up program differs from LEED Existing Buildings, which also tracks ongoing performance. However, information on the website suggests that Green Up is intended to be “an affordable and easily accessible tool.”  Some building owners have found LEED certification to be a long and somewhat costly certification process.

BOMA BESt, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) tool for measuring the environmental performance is already popular because of its accessibility with owners of existing commercial buildings, such as the large property companies like Cadillac Fairview.

Nada Sutic of BOMA outlined some of the results of the research they have been doing on data from more than 450 commercial buildings across Canada. Among other things, the research measured how well buildings whose environmental performance has been certified by BOMA compared with non-certified buildings. They covered office buildings dating from before 1960s to the 1990s and found that BOMA-certified buildings performed somewhat better than the national average in terms of energy intensity, but “there is still room for improvement.” Sutic is writing an article giving more details of their research findings for an upcoming issue of Canadian Consulting Engineer.

Despite the rapid growth in the environmental movement and green building rating systems like LEED, Bates noted that only 1% of the buildings in Canada are currently certified as “green.”

Monica Montefiore, a project manager, green building consulting, with Halsall Associates consulting engineers, moderated the session.


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