By Roy L Hales
Though LEED is not the world’s only green building rating system, it is the most most widely used and recognized. Thus it is no small thing that, for the second year in a row, Canada is #2 for LEED building in the World.
Most Certified Projects
Canada has the highest gross square meters (GSM) of LEED certified space internationally (ie outside of the United States) and the highest number of certified and registered projects (4,735).
European nations did poorly, with Germany placing #7 and Sweden #11, because the LEED program originates in the United States.
“(This) does not take into consideration other green building standards or rating systems. We cannot comment on which country leads the world in terms of overall emissions reductions,” explained Mark Hutchinson, Director of Green Building Programs for the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).
Canada’s LEED Accomplishments
Canada has been a leader in the green building movement since 2005. Some of its LEED accomplishments include:
- Energy Savings of 4,230,206 eMWh which is enough to power 143,533 homes in Canada for a full year.
- 822,731 CO2e tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which equates to taking 155,526 cars off the road for a year.
- Water savings totalling over 8.7 billion litres, the equivalent of 3,505 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Recycling over 1.1 million tones of construction/demolition waste which represents 348,691 garbage truck loads.
- Installing 157,309 square metres of green roofs, or an area the size of 104 NHL hock rinks. This reducing the urban heat island effect and mitigates storm water flows in urban areas.
Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia lead the nation in terms of LEED projects, with 962, 439 and 407 respectively.
Five of the more notable projects certified in Canada during 2014 are:
• Vancouver, British Columbia: Van Dusen Botanical Garden, LEED Platinum
• St. John, New Brunswick: The City of St. John Police Headquarters, LEED Gold
• Toronto, Ontario: WaterPark Place, LEED Platinum (first Canadian project to earn LEED Platinum through the CaGBC’s recertification program)
• Calgary, Alberta: Bow Valley Square, LEED Gold
• Quebec City, Quebec: Place TELUS / TELUS House, LEED Gold.”
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) started announcing international ratings in 2014.
In their press release, the USGBC wrote:
“We are extremely proud to be named as the top country for LEED projects internationally again this year,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “By leading the global adoption of LEED, Canada’s building industry is demonstrating how business and sustainability can go hand in hand to reduce environmental impacts including carbon emissions. Building owners and developers are increasingly making LEED an integral part of doing business spurring demand for innovative products, technologies and services, and, in the process, creating jobs and positive bottom lines.”
Canada retains its spot as the top country for LEED for the second year in a row. The Canadian government names buildings as the fourth leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, contributing 12 per cent of the country’s overall emissions by sector. Emissions from the Canadian building sector have dropped in Canada since 2005 even as the population has risen and the national building stock has grown larger. Given Canada’s climate and its intense heating needs during its harsh winter, this decrease in energy usage demonstrates a strong commitment to transforming the national built environment in ways that promote a healthier, more sustainable future.
“At a time when the world needs real leadership to solve the problems facing us all, Canadian business leaders, policymakers and consumers have turned to LEED to show the international community what we can do at the local level to promote real, substantive change,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “It is always encouraging to see highly developed nations such as Canada rally around the idea that increased sustainability does not need to come at the expense of a high standard of living, and that making this type of commitment actually enhances national well being.”