In part I we looked at how LEED evolved from a pilot project to a green building standard recognized around the world. What’s great about LEED is that it encourages development in methods and technology that improve a building’s sustainability. When a benchmark is met by nearly everyone, the bar gets raised and developers continue to strive for this certification.
In the second part, we’ll take a look at cities around the world who are excelling in their adaption to the LEED standard.
Cities setting examples
LEED has become a huge consideration for both developers and buyers. The industry is shifting to support LEED standards by looking at design and functionality to see how a building can perform optimally for the people using it and the city it’s in.
Vancouver has green building policies for rezoning, new homes and renovations that are some of the most progressive in North America. The city currently has 46 certified projects. A good example is Southeast False Creek, which achieved Platinum for LEED for Neighbourhood Development. The development contains one of the largest collections of LEED buildings in one contiguous area in the world.
Montreal has over 55 LEED projects up for certification with more to come; all new City of Montreal buildings must be LEED Gold certified and all major renovations must target LEED Silver. Notable examples include the LEED Gold PERFORM Centre at Concordia University and, of course, the City of Montreal city hall.
Toronto has always been a strong supporter of the LEED rating system and even has its own Toronto Green Standard (TGS), a two-tier set of performance measures with supporting guidelines related to sustainable site and building design for new private and public development. Achieving the TGS contributes towards LEED certification. One initiative in particular LEED significance is the transformation of Toronto’s waterfront area, which participated in both the LEED-ND pilot and the Clinton Climate Initiative’s Climate Positive Development program.
Interestingly, Calgary, Edmonton, Mississauga, Ottawa and Winnipeg (in no particular order) have the largest number of registered and certified LEED projects in Canada. You can download a full list of every LEED certified project in the country here.
A perusal of the list will turn up a really interesting mix of projects, with some in unexpected places. While larger cities will typically have more certified projects, the list also includes projects in many smaller cities around the country spanning the residential, commercial government and educational sectors.
Across the pond, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the equivalent evaluation system in Britain. BREEAM has certified projects all over Europe. The first BREEAM Communities project outside the UK is in the works in Malmö, Sweden. Masthusen is a mixed use development that incorporates residential units, offices, shops and services, much like Southeast False Creek in BC.
The BREEAM website houses some interesting case studies that illustrate the huge range of opportunities that exist for making a city greener. There are some great examples of schools, research facilities, shopping malls and even prisons all over Europe that are innovating from the ground up.
What stands out in many of the examples of certified green buildings around the world is not only their approach to design and construction, but the holistic approach to how people will interact with the building and how, in turn, the project will interact with the city around it. It’s not just about about constructing buildings; it’s about building cities.
For us, creating an energy efficient building is just the start. we work really hard to choose smart locations near transit and amenities that will compound the benefits of LEED construction by allowing residents to live sustainably and enjoy a better quality of life.
LEED & Minto
As early adopters of sustainable practices, we’ve seen the difference it makes over the life of a building. Here is a look at some of our own LEED projects. Note that a project cannot be certified until it’s complete, hence the pending certifications.
5 certifications: Midtown, Radiance, Spring, Skyy, Roehampton
6 certifications pending: minto775, 30Roe, WaterGarden, 88, Southshore, Caledonia Towns
180 Kent Street, Ottawa
LEED for Homes Platinum
LEED for Homes Silver
Stonefield Flats at Chapman Mills