Concurrent to National Environment Week, Built Green Canada has issued its third annual challenge to municipalities across the country to encourage sustainable building policies. The challenge is marked by a growing number of municipalities including District of North Vancouver, Edmonton, Kelowna, Penticton, Regina, Saanich, Surrey and Victoria which have proclaimed June 8 as BUILT GREEN Day, while more municipalities are endorsing third-party certified programs toward creating sustainable communities, including Built Green’s.
Built Green recognizes municipalities may not be able to favour one program over another and therefore encourages municipalities to include its programs, alongside other sustainability programs, as an option to endorse. Municipalities that incent builders to build more sustainably reduce the load on civic infrastructure including water, electrical and waste. The savings from this reduced load may help municipalities implement rebates and incentives for environmentally responsible builders — savings that ultimately give municipalities a competitive edge.
Municipalities face growing concerns over the state of the environment and heightened expectations of their role in addressing these challenges. The success of their sustainability objectives, in part, requires the support of private industry. “This underscores one of our key advantages,” says Jenifer Christenson, Built Green Canada executive director. “We’re an industry-driven, non-profit offering third-party certification programs for those interested in the residential building sector — and, we’re affordable.”
Affordability is high on the organization’s agenda. “We want municipalities to encourage certification programs that are affordable: for the builder and for the homebuyer.”
“Most of the builders certifying to BUILT GREEN are choosing to do so as they recognize the competitive advantages it offers. By recognizing programs already embraced through the leadership of builders and developers, we believe municipalities are better able to work with the residential building industry to collectively progress sustainability.”
Homebuyers increasingly are looking for sustainably built, certified homes — the 2015 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study shows that Canadian homebuyers rate three of their top 10 “must haves” as related to energy efficiency, 49 per cent cite home certification as a must have, while water conservation also ranks high.
“We have the privilege of working with progressively-minded builders, municipalities and other key players in the industry for a more sustainable future.” Numbers continue to grow in British Columbia and, despite Alberta’s economic downturn, builders’ commitment to sustainability has not waned.
“We’d like to do a shout out to Built Green Canada’s founding company, Jayman BUILT alongside Landmark Homes, Excel Homes, and all those since who have shown tremendous leadership by committing their builds BUILT GREEN certified. Brandon, Manitoba is also doing a pilot project which includes the BUILT GREEN programs.”
This year’s BUILT GREEN Day coincides with Clean Air Day, focused on raising awareness and encouraging action on clean air and climate change issues to contribute to cleaner air, healthier communities and a better quality of life. Likewise, Built Green Canada takes a holistic approach to residential building that integrates Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide label with its flagship Single Family for New Homes program, and includes natural resource preservation, pollution reduction, enhanced air quality and ventilation and improved home durability. To support these programs, the organization is encouraging others to follow this challenge on Twitter: #BuiltGreenDay.
Built Green Canada is an industry-driven, national organization offering programs for residential building, and since its inception has completed over 26,900 certified homes — including the units in multi-storey projects, the total is more than 27,350.