Happy 150th birthday Canada! To celebrate my country’s milestone, I’ve put together a list of a few of its most eco-friendly buildings. As far as green countries go, Canada certainly isn’t at the top of the list.
But with our government’s shifting priorities and increased public awareness about the impact of unsustainable choices, architects are now designing buildings with the environment in mind. Interestingly, the current trend in sustainable building isn’t designing structures filled with fancy green technology.
Instead, it’s about creating smart buildings that don’t need all the bells and whistles. Orientation, amount and quality of windows, square footage and types of materials are all current focuses in sustainable building. So here is a sampling of some of the greenest buildings in Canada. May they be an inspiration to us all!
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BC Passive House Factory, Pemberton, British Columbia
An eco-friendly building where eco-friendly buildings are constructed? It doesn’t get much greener than that! Made entirely of wood, the building’s construction used 971 tonnes of carbon dioxide less than if it were built using concrete. A double-walled system and high performance wood windows allow sunshine and body heat from the occupants to provide the majority of the factory’s heating needs. I’m so impressed I may have to look into this company for Our House in the Trees.
Bibliotheque du Boise, Montreal, Quebec
Doesn’t it feel great to not only meet your goals, but surpass them? That’s what this Montreal library did when it set out to achieve LEED Silver certification, but wound up achieving LEED Platinum instead. Built primarily out of certified wood, the library also features a vegetative roof. Plus, the architects designed the building to minimally impact its natural surroundings, disturbing very few trees and ensuring 100 more were planted to offset construction.
De Waal Net Zero House, Edmonton, Alberta
Well you just know I had to include an Edmonton building. Especially considering I’ve lived either in or near the city my whole life. Aside from its location catching my attention, the De Waal house also gets props for its green design. For example, it uses passive solar orientation, has an airtight envelope and conserves water like a boss. Built by the owners, the home features locally available materials installed by local tradespeople.
MEC Head Office, Vancouver, British Columbia
Mountain Equipment Co-op’s head office consists of pieces that can be taken apart at the end of the building’s useful life. How cool is that? It’s like a giant lego building! Yet it doesn’t look anything like lego. Other green features include enough natural light that artificial lighting only needs to be used for a few hours per workday and a passive ventilation system.
Mona Campbell Building, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
The first university building in Atlantic Canada to become LEED Gold certified illustrates that sometimes fancy eco-friendly technology is just plain old awesome. This university was built using Bubbledeck, meaning its concrete slabs are filled with hollow plastic balls reinforced with steel to help reduce the amount of concrete used. Plus, 90 percent of the construction’s waste materials were diverted from landfills. This of course harkens back to the environmental motto we are all familiar with – reduce, reuse, recycle!
If you’re interested in learning more about sustainable architecture, check your local library for these titles. They can also be ordered through Amazon Books.
Design Like You Give a Damn : Building Change from the Ground Up by Architecture for Humanity
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Posted on July 1, 2017 (Last Updated on November 29, 2018)