A new report released in Toronto on November 23, 2007 provides the blueprint for greener commercial buildings in Canada. The report, released by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), highlights the technical and non-technical changes in the design, construction and maintenance of Canada’s commercial buildings that need to be made to reduce their energy utilization, water consumption and waste production.
“The commercial building sector accounts for about 14 per cent of secondary energy use in Canada and has seen energy-related GHG emissions increase 42 per cent between 1990 and 2004,” said Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of SDTC. “For this sector to change direction, we need a whole new approach to both the way we design, build and use commercial buildings as well as the regulations and policies that guide these activities.”
Among the technical changes recommended, the report stresses the importance of improved system and equipment efficiencies as well as the development of integrated design processes.
“Right now, too many of the key players in the development and operation of your typical commercial building work in isolation, focusing on their niche of expertise,” said Dr. Sharpe. “We need real-world demonstrations that break the silos in the design process to align the concepts of liability and economic viability to comfort and usability.”
Among the non-technical changes recommended, the report stresses the importance of accurate data, improved eco-labeling and life-cycle-based performance standards that will enable certification of buildings on a life-cycle rather than on an as-built basis.
“Switching to a life-cycle approach is crucial if we are to truly achieve on-going sustainability in our commercial buildings,” said Rick Whittaker, Vice President, Investments at SDTC. “Progress has been made over the last few years with the rise of LEED designation and other tools, but more work needs to be done to establish at-a-glance, meaningful measurements that give owners and tenants sustainability indicators to help in their decision-making.”
“The Sustainable Development Business Case Report on Commercial Buildings — Eco-efficiency” is the fifth in a series of reports produced by SDTC. These reports are the result of extensive consultations with industry, policy makers and academia. This input is analyzed along with market data and current reports and studies to arrive at an investment report that creates a common vision of market potential. These reports are used to guide the investment decisions of SDTC. Previous SD Business Case reports addressed the subjects of Renewable Electricity, Clean Conventional Fuels, Biofuels, and Hydrogen. They are all available in the Knowledge Centre at www.sdtc.ca
SDTC is an arm’s-length foundation which has received $1.05 billion from the Government of Canada as part of its commitment to create a healthy environment and a high quality of life for all Canadians.
SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The $550 million SD Tech Fund supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.
SDTC operates as a not-for-profit corporation and has been working with the public and private sector including industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the financial community and all levels of government to achieve this mandate.