With construction already underway, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver is expected to be Canada’s first certified Living Building. The super green visitor center was designed by Busby Perkins + Will to reflect the very nature its botanical gardens, and it relies on plants to amplify its green status. The building is anticipated to be completed the spring of 2011 and has been designed to LEED Platinum standards, featuring a green roof and net-zero energy consumption.
The design for the visitor center was inspired by the leaves of an orchid — its wings consists of ‘petals’ that shoot off from the ’stem’, which serve as the central atrium and lobby. The stem has been built from rammed earth and features a vaulted ceiling and roof constructed from prefab wood-glue laminated beams made by StructureCraft Builders Inc. A glass tower in the atrium infuses the center with natural daylight and also serves as a solar chimney that exhausts hot air. Grass and colorful floral bulbs will be planted on the undulating green roof, which will also direct rain into underground cisterns for use around the center.
A photovoltaic system on the roof will generate electricity for the center, and hot water will be provided by a biomass boiler fed by dry wood waste reclaimed from the surrounding area. Totally off-grid, the center will provide all of its own power and will source all of its own water from rain catchment, storm water and black water recycling.
Picture a carpet made from recycled pop and ketchup bottles.
A dining room floor fashioned out of salvaged ash after the Emerald Ash beetle ate its way through a forest near Listowel and a hardwood bedroom floor made from trees uprooted after Hurricane Felix struck Nicaragua.
A grey-water recovery system reclaims shower and sink water and recycles it to the toilets.
Insulated duct work that routes air from the high-efficiency gas furnace more quietly throughout the house.
Recycled paint on all the walls, a cardboard wardrobe and chest of drawers and foundation cement made from blast-furnace slag.
These are among the many energy-saving features in the first home in Ontario to be certified under the Built Green rating system.
Located on Helena Feasby Street in southwest Kitchener, the two and a half story, four-bedroom home was unveiled Monday by Williamsburg Homes as a model for buyers wishing to add energy-efficient features to their homes.
Built Green Canada is a not-for-profit organization launched “by builders for builders” in Alberta in 2004. Certified builders select items from a checklist of green criteria posted on the Built Green website to construct homes to bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels.read more
This study examines the world’s major green building rating and certification systems in order to evaluate their relationships with wood and to gain a better understanding of what opportunities may be available for promoting wood as a green building product. Eleven rating systems were analyzed, including: BREEAM, Built Green TM, CASBEE®, Green GlobesTM, Green Star, LEED®, the Living Building Challenge, NAHB Model Green Home Guidelines, and the SB Tool. With all the various applications, a total of 18 systems were included in the study.read more
The report found that, in general, all of the studied certification standards and processes make a positive contribution to sustainable forest management, even where legislation is comprehensive and demanding such as in Canada and Australia. The report also indicates that a straight comparison of certification standards without looking at a jurisdiction’s related forest legislation is highly unreliable, and in most cases leads to erroneous conclusions since legislation generally sets a baseline for sustainable forest management. As a result, the strictness of a forest certification standard is more often due to the strength of a jurisdiction’s legislation than the type of standard (FSC or PEFC).read more
18 different systems incorporate wood in different ways.
Given the growing awareness of the impacts of buildings on the environment, architects and builders are producing more green buildings than ever before – from multi-family and commercial buildings to single-family homes. Many architects and builders are certifying their projects’ sustainability through a green building rating system.
Rating systems are evolving rapidly, but they are still unregulated and non-standardized. With the growing awareness of the impacts of buildings on carbon emissions, resource depletion and eco-system degradation, the implementation of national and international building regulations is accelerating. While the long-term future of rating systems is unknown, they are providing strategic direction to industry today.
Click here to read entire study
The greenest buildings in the Regional District of Nanaimo will be on display in September.
The RDN presents a Green Skyline seminar series and tour as part of the Green Building Action Plan originally adopted in 2007.
Evening seminars by green building experts will run in all seven of the RDN’s electoral districts and in the City of Nanaimo, starting Sept. 7, concluding with a tour and open houses at 12 local green buildings on Sept. 18.
The seminars provide information from local green building experts and cover a range of topics including the use of natural building material, how to achieve net-zero energy usage, solar hot water systems and photovoltaics.
“We focused on getting speakers with local expertise — to connect people here with professionals that know the issues we face,” said Ting Pan, RDN sustainability co-ordinator. “We have to recognize that most people live in semi-rural and rural areas and want to be energy independent and minimize impact on their site.”read more
A new study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University shows that employees who work in environmentally friendly buildings are more productive and take less sick days.
The researchers took employees working in conventional buildings and placed them in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, the workers transferred to LEED offices were less prone to absenteeism and stress related problems. Employees also demonstrated a higher level of productivity when working in LEED buildings than conventional offices; this was attributed to perceived improvements in health and well being.
LEED certification is recognized in most countries around the world as the standard for measuring building sustainability, developed by the United States Green Building Council the LEED standard promotes the efficient use of energy and minimal environmental impact.read more
Members of Congress Weigh In as USGBC Receives Petition with Nearly 6,000 Signatures
WASHINGTON – In a letter steered by Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to the U.S. Green Building Council, 79members of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing 35 different states, have urged the organization to “accept all credible forest certification systems for qualification under the LEED rating system” including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. On the heels of the letter from this bipartisan group of Members of Congress, USGBC today received a petition with nearly 6,000 signatories calling for LEED recognition of all “wood and paper products certified to independent, respected and credible standards including SFI, ATFS, CSA, FSC, and PEFC.” In addition, six members of Congress have sent their own letters urging an inclusive LEED policy.
“From the halls of Congress to other elected officials across North America to architects, builders, family tree farmers and forestry and sustainability experts around the world, the support for a change in LEED has grown exponentially,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI Inc.). “Wood should be recognized for its environmental merits, and third-party certified forest products should be given additional credit.”
A range of softwood timber windows and flat entrance doorsets from manufacturer, Performance Doorset Solutions (PDS) is now FSC accredited.
All stakeholders in the supply chain, from sawmills to importers, builders merchants to contractors, must have a FSC Chain of Custody certificate to prove that the timber is truly FSC certified.
“The result is a positive outcome not only for PDS but for the Builders Merchant industry as a whole,” said PDS managing director Tim Fairley.
“FSC is now widespread amongst Builders Merchants, but relatively unheard of by contractors, meaning there is no guarantee that the final product is fully FSC accredited. Not everybody is aware of suppliers that can manufacture FSC accredited products. Those of us further up the supply chain have a responsibility to firstly join FSC and then introduce and educate those within the construction industry about FSC.”
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent non profit, non – governmental organisation whose mission is to promote the environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. FSC timber is tracked from the forest to the building site through the Chain of Custody certification (COC).
Since receiving the accreditation every softwood window manufactured by PDS is FSC certified, which accounts for 90% of window production and their range of FSC certified flat entrance doorsets now represent 20% of all timber doorsets manufactured by the company.read more
Think the trend of businesses making green office renovations is just a passing fad? Not according to the latest issue of EL Insights, which reports that the U.S. green building market value will balloon from $71.1 billion now to $173 billion by 2015. Commercial green building is expected to grow by 18.1% annually during the same time period from $35.6 billion to $81.8 billion. In this case, green building is defined as building with resource use and employee productivity in mind.
The explosive projected growth can be attributed both to a growing recognition of green building’s potential cost-savings as well as incentives from the government (i.e. the multi-million dollar Sustainable Communities Challenge Planning Grant program and the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program). Green renovation will also comprise a significant portion of future green building, thanks in no small part to government projects like then Recovery through Retrofit initiative, which offers $80 billion energy and environmental retrofits for federal buildings.
The growth in green building will lead to a number of changes in the larger building market, according to EL Insights: Construction workers will increasingly seek out green training programs, companies will spend more cash on green building technology (GE is already doing with its ecomagination initiative), and homes touting green building features will do better on the real estate market. All of this will result in cost savings for building and home owners, who will reap the benefits of lower energy and heating bills.read more
The L41 home, designed by Architect Michael Katz and Artist Janet Corne is a 220 sq. ft. ultra-compact, sustainable, high-design, high quality, energy-efficient house. The L41 home makes it possible for the millions of people who otherwise could not afford to buy a house, to become homeowners.
Simply making a house small, however, is not good enough, it must be highly livable and delightful and the L41 is both.
In the same way that the Model-T made it possible for the masses to own a car, so too, the key to providing a house for everyone is to minimize its size and to utilize mass-production. The L41 has been specifically designed to be a mass-produced, “State-of-the-Art” house and could become part of the important group of affordable products such as the $2,500 Tata car
Sub-compact, highly affordable houses can satisfy the needs of many diverse groups:
• First-time buyers • Students • Seniors • Hotels • Pied-à-terres
• Special-needs • Homeless • Military • Emergency housing
The L41 home is designed for a generation that understands the principles of “small is beautiful”, preservation of resources, improving the lives of others and enhancing our future by means of sustainable actions. With every inch of space utilized and many built-in storage solutions provided, L41 fulfills the maxim, “everything in its place and a place for everything”.
L41 is constructed of Cross-laminated Timber, (CLT) a relatively new wood product in North America. The true benefit of CLT is that it is solid wood and can be used as a substitute for concrete in mid-rise buildings. (the British have built 9 stories) When one considers that concrete is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, the implications become clear.
L41 homes can be built in many configurations, from a single unit to high-rise buildings and because of the high achievable densities, can play a significant role in providing affordable housing in inner-city locations. In addition to the 220 sq. ft. Studio, there also is a 290 sq. ft. 1-Bed and a 360 sq. ft. 2-Bedroom unit.
L41 constructed of Beetle-killed Cross-laminated Timber. (CLT)The frame of the first L41 displayed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, was built of Beetle-killed CLT panels and the unit is intended as the prototype for the development of medium-rise buildings of stacked L41 units built entirely of CLT.read more
On Friday, I met with Bird Construction who is constructing a large acute care facility in the Lower Mainland. Currently it is constructed out of steel and concrete; however, due to the pending Wood First Act, the contractor advised that there needs to be a relatively significant wood component added to the project. More than anything, the contractor is looking to industry for assistance in nature of product and designs that might be acceptable. Here are some of the issues:
1. First of all, as the architect did not incorporate any wood into this project, the contractor said that they are essentially starting with a blank sheet of paper and are looking for industry to provide some interesting concepts using wood. While the main structure has been competed, there is still opportunity for entrance ways which can incorporate structural wood including glulams, beams, posts, etc. as well as non-structural wood including cladding, paneling, cabinets, furniture, millwork and the like.
2. Ideally, but not totally necessary, the wood and or design should have a story to tell; ie: wood from our MPB forests, recycled wood, etc. Local species would get preference over imported species.
3. Now comes the challenge, as an acute care facility, the contractor advised that all integral wood components need to pass the following standard - CAN/ULC-S134, and vertical fire spread test. As such, if you have supplied wood products to similar type projects, the contractor would like more information about it. While this standard would apply to certain products, such as, the exposed structural components,cladding, paneling, etc., it wouldn’t apply to all millwork (aside from required fire rated door), cabinetry, and furnishing.
4. Last but not least, there are budgetary issues.
I wish I could be more specific but the above is all the information that was provided.
If anyone has any suggestions or questions, please contact Roy Manion at firstname.lastname@example.org contact Roy at BC Wood’s office at 604 882-7100read more
A powerful body in Washington, D.C., is about to make a decision about green labelling that will have sweeping impacts for Canadian wood producers and for those who have spent years working to define the best practices for environmentally approved forestry.
Only 23 per cent of Canada’s “green” forest is FSC-certified.
Much more Canadian timber could be hammered into environmentally friendly buildings throughout North America if the U.S. Green Building Council approves newly drafted rules governing which wood products are accepted into its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building programs, known as LEED.
Three out of every four certified trees in Canada are currently locked out of North America’s booming green building market because the LEED program only accepts wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Only 23 per cent of Canada’s “green” forest is FSC-certified.
LEED is about to unlock that market.
The building council has drafted new rules that, if approved by a vote of its membership, will enable any forest certifier to access the LEED system – provided the certifier fulfills certain requirements.
As a result, the two leading forest certification systems are now locked in a life-or-death struggle over the specific wording of those highly technical requirements.
The Forest Stewardship Council and its allies in the environmental community claim the proposed standards would loosen the rules enough to allow status-quo forestry to be called “green,” and decimate the sapling marketplace for wood produced under ecologically sensitive conditions. “There are big stakes here, and the repercussions will spread across the forest products industry for years,” said Corey Brinkema, president of the American branch of the multi-national stewardship council. “If the current draft is passed without modification, it is possible that barely-legal forestry would be green-washed by industry and accepted into the LEED program,” Brinkema said.
The stewardship council’s rival, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, retorts that the new rules would not loosen LEED enough. The industry-backed initiative warns the stewardship council’s de facto monopoly within LEED requires North American builders to use council wood from countries such as Russia or Sweden at the expense of U.S.- or Canadian-grown timber. “This position should not be taken lightly,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based initiative. Abusow claimed that part of the stewardship council’s wood supply comes from overseas “and often from countries without effective social laws,” she said in a prepared statement.
The Forest Stewardship Council was founded in Toronto in the fall of 1993 with three goals: drafting rules to define how environmentally friendly wood should be grown and cut, hiring auditors to verify that the rules are followed, and creating a consumer label to certify the resulting wood products. But consumers don’t buy much wood. The lion’s share of lumber is bought by builders, who tend to choose low price over low impact.
Enter the U.S. Green Building Council, which works to promote environmental sustainability through its LEED standards. The standards rate how buildings are designed, built and operated. When they were first drafted in the 1990s, the building council borrowed heavily from the work of the like-minded Forest Stewardship Council. As a result, stewardship council-certified wood is the only wood recognized under the LEED system, causing a de facto monopoly that is credited with expanding the market for council-certified wood products.
While green building represented just two per cent of the construction market in 2005, it is projected to grow to a quarter of all commercial and institutional building starts and 20 per cent of the value of residential starts by 2013. That adds up to a U.S. green building sector soon be worth more than $80 billion a year. Read Moreread more
The Vancouver Convention Centre West (VCC) has been awarded LEED® Canada Platinum certification, the first convention center project in the world to earn what is the program’s highest rating.
“The design goes far beyond the big box functionality and experience of a traditional convention center,” says Mark Reddington, FAIA, a partner of LMN Architects, which designed the facility in collaboration with MCM and DA. “Instead, it offers a new vision of sustainability and a rich public experience by weaving together the natural ecology, local culture, urban context, and building program in a unified whole that functions literally as a living part of both the city and the harbor.”
A prominent feature to be recognized around the world is the centre’s six-acre living roof, which is Canada’s largest and the biggest non-industrial living roof in North America. Landscaped with 400,000 native plants and grasses, the green roof acts as an insulator to mediate the exterior air temperature, as well as contributes to the building’s stormwater utilization and integrates with the waterfront landscape ecosystem.
Other green features include:
Source: Environmental Protection
Architects seek wood that lightens a project’s environmental footprint.
Over the past decade there has been a dramatic upswing in the number of companies that want to build reputations as good corporate citizens. Natural, organic, and sustainable are all highly desirable characteristics in the wide world of products. According to a 2009 study by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touche, 95 percent of shoppers would buy green provided they had the right information on an otherwise satisfactory item. But with the plethora of environmental claims by companies seeking to advance their products, “green,” “eco friendly,” “sustainable,” and the like are terms that have become confusing at best, meaningless at worst. In order to keep from drowning in greenwash, the market has demanded greater transparency and verifiable evidence of sustainable performance all along the supply chain.
This article will discuss how architects can be reasonably assured that products, particularly wood products, are maximally sustainable. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and forest certification will be discussed in terms of their place on an architect’s sustainability agenda, and an LCA of western redcedar will be presented to demonstrate the level of research involved, along with results that can be expected from the life cycle approach. Read More.read more
The 2010 Vancouver Olympics is being called the most sustainable Games ever. The organizing committee has incorporated LEED standards into venue design and construction, developed a substantial carbon off-set program, and invested in the world’s biggest hydrogen powered bus fleet. But that’s not all. At these Olympics, you can go green and have fun at the same time by visiting Club Energy, a sustainable dance floor that produces energy as people dance.
Located in a tented venue not far from all the Olympic venues, the attraction is part of the Power Smart Village hosted by British Columbia Hydro. BC Hydro collaborated with Sustainable Dance Club, an organization based in Rotterdam, Holland to bring the innovative technology to downtown Vancouver. The organization attempts to inspire young people to live a more sustainable lifestyle by uniting energy saving products and fun.
Less than a week into the Games, it has generated over 8,000,000 watts — enough to power 80 houses for a day.Read Moreread more
Yes, we all know about the amazing ceiling of the Richmond Oval and the new Conference Centre utilizing MPB and we’ve heard abut the wonderful Olympic Podiums too, but have you seen what one BC Wood member is doing to show off the beauty of this wood? Judson Beaumont of Straightline Design started working with MPB a few years ago, setting his creative mind in gear to come up with ideas. Starting with some 2 X 4’s from the local Home Depot, he cut it into small pieces, softened the edges and through them in a stone tumbler and viola! River rocks emerged. Then he took an axe and started chopping up a 2 X 4 into short lengths and positioning them on a board backing, created an eye-appealing textured wall that resembled very nearly a slate-stacked wall. Judson launched this wall at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York last May and has been creating it for numerous uses ever since. It was selected as the entrance feature at the 100% Design show in Tokyo and Judson was asked to design and create the awards for the same show – of course out of MPB wood! Their theme this year was all about “green & sustainability”, so it was the perfect choice.
He has used both elements (river rock and wall pattern) to make some very cool coffee tables (for the Premier’s office and the BC Pavilion) and has most recently installed similar pieces in the downtown Vancouver ING offices. Well done Jud!
Straight Line Designs Inc. is a custom furniture design and manufacturing company that has a reputation for both a signature style and quality work. Their designs almost always lean towards the whimsical and unusual and their philosophy has always been to work closely with their clients, encouraging a very “hands on” rapport. A few clients of note include Crayola, Premier Gordon Campbell, Staten Island University, Disney, Tokyo Disney, Princeton University and the Vancouver Airport.
General Biofuels Canada (GBC), a subsidiary of international Biofuels company General Biofuels, announced today that they are planning a 500,000 metric tonne per year wood pellet facility in Terrace, British Columbia. The facility will make industrial wood pellets from local hemlock fibre sources harvested from sustainably managed forests…
GBC anticipates that the plant’s main customers will be utilities and industrial firms in Asia and Europe who are looking to replace coal with carbon-neutral fuel sources. GBC already has letters of intent from buyers in these markets and continues to negotiate with others to complete its sales portfolio. GBC plans to produce pellets for export by early 2011.Read Moreread more
This week BC Wood along with four member companies participated at the IBS 2010 trade event in Las Vegas Nevada. The show has an attendance of approximately 55,000 that at filled two of the three massive halls at the Las Vegas trade and convention centre. A number of themes were evidentat this years show including: the fragile and recovering US economy and its effect on residential housing starts, increased acceptance of factory direct imports from Asia, the demise of the mega house and move to smaller more affordable housing, and finally any and all things green.
This year’s event saw an increased number of Asian cabinet and mill-work manufacturers who exhibited their product to the US and International builder and architect community. Many of these exhibitors were offering “factory direct” shipping and delivery to home builders from across the Western United States, some were even willing to offer free shipping if the order placed reached a preset quantity. For example, a wood door and window manufacturer from Southern China was willing to provide free shipping for door orders totaling over $40,000 USD. In conversations with builders who target the $200+ square foot residential housing market this dollar figure could easily be reached if you include prefinished and pre hung entry doors, interior doors and closets. Of concern were issues regarding quality control and repair of potential damage that may occur during shipping. Many builders agreed that the price may be worth the risk when compared against purchasing from existing supply chains.
The question that needs to be addressed is if this direct to market strategy will ultimately succeed for lower cost Asian manufacturers, and what effect it will have on existing two step distribution and supply chains for manufacturers. I think the key finding is that BC manufacturers who continue to offer innovative product, followed with strong sales and customer support will find their customer base will avoid the high risk of dealing direct with Asian based manufacturers.
Is 2010 the year we see the demise of the mega house and a trend to the return to smaller more cost effective housing? In discussions with a number of residential home builders and developers who stopped by the BC Wood booth I would suggest the answer is yes but not necessarily in new home construction. Builders I spoke to suggested that they are looking at the rebuild and retrofit market as a growing opportunity in residential housing. Retrofit is essentially taking an existing home that has a smaller square footage footprint and renovating it to become more attractive and more importantly energy efficient. One builder group that targets the Las Vegas market was quoted as saying “the trend in his market is for more people to live in smaller houses, closer to the city and closer to transportation. With these trends, retrofits make sense”. They are aggressively perusing the retrofit market by purchasing houses in foreclosure at bargain basement prices, retrofitting the homes and selling them for a decent return. This group is sourcing building products that are of good quality, have an environmental benefit and are reasonably priced. They are trying to avoid low price Asian imports due to the environmental and social costs associated with the importation of these products. The retrofit market is a niche but potentially growing market opportunity for BC based manufacturers and it will need to be followed to see if it moves from a niche to common building practice in the US residential housing market.
The word “green” has been overused and is not commonly associated with residential construction, but green and sustainable building products were front and center at this year’s IBS trade event. Green building was evident throughout the show from the numerous seminars to the over 1,100 exhibitors of building products and construction materials – many had a common theme of sustainability. Green building is generally defined as construction practices that save energy and natural resources. It can be a simple as switching to LED lighting or as complex as geothermal wind and solar powered energy systems.
In regards to wood, numerous architectural mill-work, cabinet and door manufacturers showcased product that featured formaldehyde free adhesives and water-based finishes. The manufacturers claimed that the benefits of their products led to a healthier house and living environment for the end user. Of feature, was a new product introduction from Caoba doors that touted their FSC certified wood, new sustainable manufacturing process and high quality “green” finishes.
Wood Products that were shown to be energy efficient were also on display that this years event. For example in an interview with the Las Vegas Journal manufacturer Norbord Industries showcased their new solar board radiant barrier sheathing panel. According to their sales representative it reduces heat gain in the attic space by reflecting heat from the sun, which in turn reduces the load on light commercial and residential air conditioning systems. Norbord also introduced their Tall Wall OSB sip panel that they suggest reduces air leakage by up to 60% and does not contain any urea formaldehyde resins which again leads to better indoor air quality and healthy housing.
What does this all mean?. Not a great deal except that it is important to market the environmental or sustainable qualities of your products. Wood products alone already have a good story to tell and it is incumbent upon BC manufacturers to develop an green market strategy and to get the message out that their products are sustainable and add to the overall health of the environment. This green messaging will be needed to keep up with both domestic and international competition who all already spinning their own green story.read more