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On Monday, we talked about LEED and how it has grown to become the industry standard for green building. Today, we’re pulling in the reins and examining a system for sustainable architecture that was built right here on home soil: Built Green Canada.
What is Built Green®?
Built Green Canada is a nationwide program that seeks to standardize and promote the practice of green building. It aims to minimize environmental impact while maximizing cost savings for builders and homeowners throughout the full building life cycle.
Like LEED, Built Green provides third party verification of a building’s environmental performance. Unlike LEED, Built Green deals solely with residential developments. It offers programs for single family and high-density projects, and currently has a pilot program in place for renovations. Future goals also include a community development program.
Created by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), Built Green was first launched in Alberta in 2003. It went national the following year and now operates in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario (though in Ontario, it is called Green Seal). There are currently over 27,350 Built Green certified homes across the country.
How Built Green Works
A Built Green home is more than just an energy efficient home—it’s a home that considers all aspects of sustainability to reduce environmental harms and boost occupant health and well being. Built Green is after a synergistic method to home building that preserves natural resources, reduces pollution, improves ventilation and air quality, and strengthens home durability.
The Built Green process is simple:
- The builder completes the mandatory Built Green training program.
- Once certified, the builder completes an enrollment form and checklist (provided by Built Green), and submits an evaluation of the home’s energy efficiency.
- Energy performance is then re-assessed by a third party Certified Energy Advisor to confirm accuracy and effectiveness. And that’s it. Once certification is granted, the builder then receives a Built Green Certification Seal, EnerGuide Label and EnerGuide Homeowner Report.
The Built Green checklist is not one-size-fits all. It can be customized to the builder or homeowner’s needs, based on the target certification level, and it’s this final piece of the Built Green puzzle that matters the most: the EnerGuide requirement. Without this, a home does not qualify for Built Green status.
EnerGuide, an initiative of National Resources Canada, is a 100-point scale used to measure energy efficiency. It co-operates with Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations and Energy Star® to ensure the highest standard of energy performance for Canadian homes.
The EnerGuide score determines the final rating of the home. The average Canadian home earns 66 points but a minimum of 72 points is required for Built Green certification. The ratings break down like this:
- Certified/Bronze: 72-74 points
- Silver: 75-76 points
- Gold: 77-81 points
- Platinum: 82+ points
- Built Green by Ciccozzi
- Parkgate Townhomes (2015)
- Built Green Gold
- Energy Star appliances
- Eco-friendly air conditioning
- Insulated walls for energy savings
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Features include (but are not limited to):
Steps for a Built Green Life Like the green building systems that came before it—such as LEED and its UK counterpart, BREEAM—Built Green promises to support sustainable development by building eco-friendly homes that promote the health of occupants and the environment. The organization stands proud in its contribution to the cost-effective, healthy, and low impact housing sector. It’s a program that’s accessible and readily available for anyone interested in pursuing greener building options.
What sets Built Green apart is its commitment to education and verification. Training is not only provided, it’s required, and is built right in to the program to ensure all builders and renovators are fully equipped with the knowledge needed to build a truly sustainable home. The program also conducts ongoing evaluations of all members to uphold the Built Green standard.
As we conclude our discussion of sustainable development and sustainable architecture, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
Sustainability should be standard – when we make sustainability the norm, we all benefit. Small steps matter – whether you’re building a home or simply choosing to recycle more, every change towards a more sustainable life counts. Sustainability starts with you – by increasing awareness and education of sustainable practices, we can further the 2030 Agenda for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It all comes back to the UN’s goal to propel the world to a sustainable future. And by building greener, healthier, and longer lasting homes, we are laying a few bricks in what the UN calls the “global architecture of peace.”