Archive for the ‘Viewpoint’ Category


Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

An LCA Pioneer:
The whole story

A pioneer in bringing life cycle assessment [LCA] to the North American construction sector, the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute celebrates a 20th anniversary this year.



Interview with

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Alex Speigel

Alex Speigel, partner at Windmill Developments, believes that the greenest buildings are actually conversions. With Arch Lofts [], they’re transforming a century-old church into condos in a downtown area of Toronto known as the Junction Triangle.


Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Embed the value of housing affordability in sustainability

A lone voice from Vancouver issued a challenge at the Greenbuild #2 conference in Pittsburgh in 2003: “What will the US Green Building Council do to address the fact that the right building in the wrong place is the wrong building?” This was one of many factors that led USGBC to develop LEED for Neighbourhood Development [LEED-ND] to guide
sustainable community development, and Vancouver’s False Creek Olympic Village was one of the first recipients of LEED-ND Platinum.

By Graham McGarva


Viewpoint: What Makes a Home Livable to You?

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The way we live is changing. As both an architect and a resident of Vancouver, I am regularly confronted with how our cities are changing through urban densification and shifting demographics, to accessibility and affordable housing. I think about the smaller units we are building as a response to this change, and I find myself considering livability as an  important factor in the design of multi-family units.

By Kim Barnsley


Viewpoint article

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Sustainable Design of Airports

It has been a little over one hundred years since the Wright brothers took to the air, and our almost-miraculous ability to travel by plane has made flight an integral part of the world economy. As a result, from time to time Aviation is the subject of headlines stating the “great but invisible harm” it causes to the environment. Right? Not really. According to the EPA, in the United States aircraft of all kinds are estimated to emit between 2.4% and 3.4% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and the IPCC estimates that Aviation worldwide is responsible for around 3.5% of anthropogenic climate change.



Social Sustainability in Practice

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Today, it is the task of averting drastic climate change that might be described as an experiment – a vast social experiment in decision-making and democratic action. Success in that endeavor will not be determined primarily by large techno-logical fixes, though many will be needed along the way. Just as decisive to the outcome is whether our social relationships, cultural beliefs, and political customs will allow for the kind of changes that are necessary. That is why the climate crisis is as much a social as a biophysical challenge, and why the solutions will have to be driven by a fuller quest for global justice than has hitherto been tolerated or imagined.

- Andrew Ross, from Bird on Fire


Interview with Julie Scarcella

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Julie Scarcella, founder of EcoSpex [] has been on a seven-year mission to create and launch her company: an on-line tool to help design and construction professionals quickly find sustainable, energy-efficient and heathy products.


Green products and materials

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

In LEED v4 and beyond

As most green building professionals in Canada now know, demand for products and materials with third-party verification is growing, and this trend will continue well into the foreseeable future.

By Mark Hutchinson


Passive House set to make strides

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Energy efficiency is not the only consideration in designing sustainable buildings, but most would say that it’s at the top of the list. Even with the programs and rating systems that we have in place to improve energy efficiency, one could argue that the market has not made high energy efficiency  a prime goal.

By Rob Bernhardt


Viewpoint: Delayed adoption of LEED v4

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Now what?

A sigh of relief and a groan of frustration were simultaneously heard on October 29th, 2014. That was the day the U.S. Green Building Council [USGBC] announced that it would extend the LEED 2009 registration date from June 2015 to October, 2016. This means that project teams in the US and Canada, will be able to choose which rating system they register under, LEED v4 or the old 2009 version, until this date.

By Sophia Wong