When lamenting about how we human beings are wasteful, what do you think of first?
Do you think about the vehicle you drive or how much you drive it?
Do you think about the food and drink you consume? The stuff you buy?
Maybe too much stuff? The stuff you throw out or recycle or perhaps “re-purpose?”
These are all important things to think about. But are you missing something major?
You are probably in one as you read this — a building.
How energy efficient is it? Does it passively collect energy because of its design, or perhaps reach deep into the Earth for some geothermal energy?
What kinds of materials were used to build it? Recycled materials? Materials that insulate? Materials that will last a good long time? Does the building conserve water?
Part of the problem is that buildings last a while. So unless you retrofit an existing one (which is possible), you aren’t going to change to a green building overnight.
Still, over the last decade or so there have been signs of a major green revolution in the way we think about buildings.
The U.S. Green Building Council developed the system of rating buildings for “greenness.” In 2005, the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) started certifying green buildings and are now more than 1,000, including several in Langley.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. When CaGBC evaluates a building, no brick is left unturned in determining how green it is (or isn’t).
Our Langley Township Civic Facility holds a Silver rating for use of water conserving measures that reduce water consumption by more than 30 per cent.
The building also boasts a GeoExchange system, with 75 per cent of the building’s heat and cooling stemming from an underground connection to the Earth’s natural thermal energy.
Just last month, Langley’s Institute for Sustainable Horticulture lab at Kwantlen Polytechnic University was awarded LEED Gold status.
During construction, more than 75 per cent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Renewable energy sources will provide more than 50 per cent of the lab’s energy needs.
This new focus on building green also provides many opportunities for highly qualified people to develop and evaluate green buildings. How does one get qualified? On Tuesday, April 1, Trinity Western University is hosting one such opportunity.
At a Glance:
When: April 1, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Trinity Western University – Neufeld Science Building Rm. 41
Who: Lorne Mlotek of LeadingGreen
What: Lorne will teach a crash course on everything needed to pass the exam to be credentialed as a LEED Green Associate (GA)
How: Here is the link to register click here.
David Clements is a professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.