Canada is changing the way local hospitals, city streets, or bridges are being financed and maintained. A popular approach the country’s federal and provincial governments have taken to build crucial structures could be the answer for other governments around the world to consider for the infrastructure they desperately need—such as more regional hospitals to provide critical care for families.
The benefits of modular construction are becoming more widely known. The reduced time spent onsite leads to fewer health and safety issues for construction workers, quality building, accelerated construction schedules, and a faster return on investment (ROI). The momentum of various green rating programs and standards is now drawing attention to the advantages of offsite construction in terms of sustainable building.
Placing special emphasis on the use of local materials is a popular approach to reducing the many environmental impacts of construction projects. The Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating program offers points under Materials and Resources (MR) Credit 5, Regional Materials, for sourcing building materials from within 800 km (500 mi) of the site. However, the reality is more complex and one should not assume the pursuit of this credit will actually reduce the project’s environmental impact.
In October, Canada will host the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Greenbuild show for the first time when the event comes to Toronto. Given the country’s burgeoning community of sustainability advocates, it seems fitting there will be a dedicated stream of educational sessions highlighting Canadian projects and strategies. Greenbuild 2011’s theme is “next”—as in, what are the next big leaps for sustainable design? To help ascertain the answer, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) appointed this author to chair a team to work through a three-stage selection process established by USGBC to evaluate the abstracts.