Built Green Canada Announces its Sixth Annual Challenge to Municipalities

Coinciding with the National Environment Week, Built Green Canada has announced its sixth annual challenge to municipalities throughout the country to summon municipalities to promote green building, to spread awareness of the significance of sustainable building methods, and to point out those builders leading the way.

The challenge is recognized by many municipalities that have declared June 5th as BUILT GREEN® Day, including Brampton, Beaumont, Burlington, Central Saanich, Campbell River, Chestermere, Fort Saskatchewan, Collingwood, Edmonton, Comox, Estevan, Greater Sudbury, Kelowna, Langford, Nanaimo, Markham, Okotoks, Ladysmith, Port Coquitlam, Regina, Saanich, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver, and Whistler.

In the meantime, others show their support for the initiative and sustainable building, for example, Brandon, Abbotsford, Canmore, District of North Vancouver, Courtenay, Golden, Moose Jaw, Leduc, and Ottawa. Lethbridge remembers the day by lighting up City Hall with green LEDs. The City of North Vancouver will declare BUILT GREEN® Day on June 10th.

This speculates the ever-increasing issue faced by people and private industry on climate change and the high expectations of the municipality’s role in dealing with this social issue. With respect to fulfilling environmental goals, all orders of government have been developing climate mitigation approaches, whereas for those working in the residential building industry, higher energy performance and other regulations change constantly.

The high stringency of codes and standards steers the increase in costs for the industry: the inadvertent result is the additional deterioration in housing affordability. With the intersection between these two social issues, it is possible that government and industry would collaboratively work further—a collaboration that takes into account the costs, environment, and the pace of change—provided achieving sustainability targets needs the support of private industry.

This underscores one of our key advantages. We’re industry-driven, offering third-party certification programs for those interested in a holistic approach to sustainable building—and, we’re affordable. We want to see municipalities encourage programs that are economical: for the builder and for the homebuyer.

Jenifer Christenson, Chief Executive Officer, Built Green Canada

Municipalities are more capable of working with the residential building industry to jointly develop sustainability by identifying programs already supported by developers and builders. Many municipalities have been willingly building continuously for more than 10 years, going back 15 years in some instances.

We want to put the spotlight on those builders who were the earliest adopters of sustainable building, ahead of regulation and market demand. They’ve chosen to contribute to climate mitigation, implementing advanced building technologies and verifying their work through our program, becoming better builders who are able to offer their customers the advantages that go with a third-party certified home.”

The participation of a builder in a program such as Built Green’s can help the municipality achieve its environmental goals. Built Green Canada works with its builders to advocate the effective certification of their builds and help them in fulfilling compliance requirements. The four levels of certification of its programs provide industry a way to voluntarily remain ahead of code and gradually improve in preparation to be net-zero energy ready for 2030 regulations.

Despite the fact that some municipalities are fully focused on energy performance, Built Green’s programs are complementary because they take a more comprehensive approach that might decrease the load on civic infrastructures such as power, water, and waste. Built Green understands that municipalities may not be able to benefit one program over another and hence motivates municipalities to include its programs, besides others, as an option to support.

At the same time, Built Green Canada has been associated with the Green Builder® Coalition to fetch the first performance-based water rating to Canada through the water conservation section of their builder programs. Although parts of Canada, as well as the world, are facing more droughts, and freshwater ecosystems are shown to be under stress, water conservation in the residential building industry has not gained the attention energy efficiency has, even though they are significant and connected.

The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) is based on quantifiable parameters, along with a scoring scale of 0–100, 0 being the most advantageous that considers indoor and outdoor water use, including reuse via rainwater, black water, and gray water catchment calculations.

Industry and all orders of government increasingly are focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and in the residential building sector, the emphasis is on improving the energy performance of buildings. While energy efficiency is an essential component of sustainable building practices—and our programs—we want to broaden the conversation and shine a light on a more balanced approach that also includes indoor air quality, waste management, and water conservation—some of the key areas of our programs. Despite Canada’s water endowment, we are not immune to water shortages and periods of drought. Moreover, reductions in water usage will save energy, further contributing to the decrease in GHGs.

Jenifer Christenson, Chief Executive Officer, Built Green Canada

June 5th is World Environment Day, which focuses to increase awareness of the environment and particular environmental problems like drought and wildfire. Similarly, Built Green Canada’s comprehensive approach to residential building combines Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide label with its Single Family for New Homes and Renovations programs and goes beyond energy to add natural resource preservation, enhanced air quality and ventilation, pollution reduction, as well as enhanced home durability and disaster preparedness.

To support green building, the organization motivates others to follow this challenge on social media: #BuiltGreenDay. Also, a homebuyer or homeowner can contribute to climate mitigation by requesting the builder/renovator to confirm through a sustainable, third-party program.

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