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Sustainable Building Practices (Innovations) in Canada

Free Research Essays
Sustainable Building is also called Green Building; this term has been used to imply practices that are carried out in ensuring that structures that are being erected adhere to environmentally friendly regulations. Other than the building itself, the practices also lay emphasis on the process of constructing those structures to last longer. It pays attention to how resources are utilized during the process of erecting such buildings and how effective these resources are being used to enhance sustainability in the environment.

The practices are not only focused on the building itself, but also lay emphasis on the process of bringing those structures up. It pays attention to how resources are utilized during the process of erecting such buildings and how effective these resources are being used to enhance sustainability in the environment (Canada Green Building Council, 2015). Practitioners achieve sustainable buildings by monitoring all the processes right from citing of the building, through proposal of the design, contraction moments, the time it is open for operation, and how the building is to be maintained and renovated. In the event it is to be demolished, they provide procedures that are to be followed to enhance proper demolition minus having adverse effects on the environment (GGGC, n.d.).

In general, the practice avails a middle ground for handling building of structures as well as enhancing sustainability in the environment. When these practices are adhered to, it is established that comfort ability, sustainability, as well as durability are achieved and this all makes the process economic, hence facilitating sustainable use of resources in the building process (Roseland, 2012). Nevertheless, this cannot be achieved without a body, which is charged with the authority to ensure that the key tenets of these practices are followed and respected to the letter. In their research, Glavic and Lukman (2007) confirmed that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design was instituted to have the responsibility of monitoring and evaluating the degree to which different entities, whether individuals or organizations, adhered to rules of sustainable building practices (Glavic & Lukman, 2007). The body is also known as the LEED that comes from the acronyms, the name of which has been established by the United States’ Green Building Council (Broome, 2007). It is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that buildings are brought up as per practices and requirements stipulated by the Green Building Practices.

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History of Sustainable Building in Canada

In 1982, Kibet noted that the desire to improve reflection of increased energy conservation, efficiency utilization, as well as sustainability called for the need to implement sustainable building practices (Kibert, 2012). The government of Canada through the building sector has developed many programs and one of the most important of these programs is the Home Program known as the EnerGuide. In short, EnerGuide is a home program, which ensures that constructions have access to rating services to assess the viability of buildings constructed as per regulations of the organization.

The program is also significant because it allows those buying as well as building structures to evaluate the performance rates of their buildings. It also allows them to assess if the structures are as per standards of sustainable buildings. This has been reinforced by the Canadian institution, which is mandated to certify buildings. This has made the initiative perpetuate the go-green program to anchor its roots better in the nationals as new buildings are built in a way that replaces the old ones and are much better that those constructed before them (Kibert, 2012).

For the Canada Green Building to reach a position of adapting the rating system used by the LEED, it had to acquire a license from the United States’ Green Building Council. This achievement was reached in 2002. It was done through assessing the performance of the organization in terms of environmental protection and sustainable resource utilization (Kibert, 2012). As a result, it provided an open way for Canada to formulate another body that would help in assessing the performance of practitioners and the standards of constructed buildings in the country. The body that was formulated is known as the BREEAM-Canada and it ensures that the standards of the buildings constructed in the country adhere to the regulations of sustainability and environment friendliness (Broome, 2007).

BREEAM-Canada has big relevance since it has helped the Canadians to establish grounds on which they can ratify practices of sustainable building. There is an increasing use of the latest building materials that conserve the environment and cost-effective, durable, and renewable such as roofing tiles, wooden interior designs, and floor tiles (Glavic & Lukman, 2007). In the same perspective, it has helped Canada to establish economic benefits behind enacting green building practices. This can be seen by the enthusiastic manner with which Saskatoon city has embraced these practices to an extent that they have been in the limelight of the green building practices. This has also necessitated the initiative of environment protection in the city, hence being among the best performing urban centers concerning sustainable environment protection (Ding, 2008).

This great achievement has been possible through setting planning strategies that guide the construction of buildings in the city. Indeed, this happens in a way that building in the urban center only takes off once it has been allowed to do so. In normal cases, this happens after an evaluative process has been conducted and all the significant aspects of operation have been identified to be in accordance with regulations and practices of the Canada Green Building Council (Lee & Burnett, 2009).

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The set plans for this initiative are expected to last for a period of ten years since 2013 and this is well coupled with the leadership goals that the city has set on issues concerning the environment. Some of these goals involve commitment to cut consumption rates and the impact that such type of consumption has on the ecosystem. Glavic and Lukman (2007) postulated that reducing environmental damage was central to sustainability. With the rise of population in the foresight of the city, planners are strategizing mechanisms in the manner in which building patterns adopted by the city authorities will have limited adversities for the future population both in short- and long-term impacts. This is done with an emphasis on prevention of wastage of potential resources as well as land that is viable for agricultural practices (Broome, 2007).

Having that in mind, water resource is a key natural resource that has to be conserved and the plans laid down by planners stipulate ways in which the resource can be effectively conserved to prevent threats of depletion. These strategies are supplemented with goals that are directed towards proper resources utilization to enhance growth that is sustainable. In this case, it has in focus the ability to achieve a well-balanced environment; this will translate into life improvement as well as a stable economy (Kibert, 2012). Therefore, it has all the reasons to ensure that the LEED facilities are revamped in the city to be able to effectively pick up the initiative and run it to attain the goals set for the city.

Rationale of the Topic

Environmental sustainability has been a topic of relevance due to the population upsurge and the increased industrialization in the world. This makes this topic have many environmental benefits because it is focused on promoting sustainability of the environment. One such significance is that building structures in accordance with these regulations will ensure that the quality of water and air resources in the building are improved (Kibert, 2012). It can help to minimize the percentage of carbon dioxide and other wastes produced in the structure. In this manner, the management of the whole building as well as other activities that take place in it becomes easy.

The topic is of relevance because it advocates for the enhancement of biodiversity as well as maintaining balance in the ecosystem, This is one of the aspects of these practices, which is focused on sustainable building. It also helps to conserve natural resources, hence preventing their depletion at all costs (U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC), 2005). This will ensure that resources being used in the building process and those that are to be utilized once the buildings are already completed are focused on maximum usage so as to lower the rate at which wastes are being produced. In this perspective, it then implies that the resources are being effectively used, hence generating minimum waste. This is one of the key paths towards achieving a sustainable development and ensuring that once mutilated environment is restored to its natural status.

In the economic light, this practice has relevance as well: this can be seen in its ability to ensure that cost incurred during operation of the building is reduced. When such costs are decreased to minimal, it is evident that resources are being used properly and there is no wastage (Kibert, 2012). In addition, it means that sustainability in these resources is achievable; this then helps to extend the life span and existence of those resources for future development. It is also possible that when sustainability and efficient use of resources are incorporated in the building process, the life cycle of such structure is extrapolated into the future. There are limited instances of losses to developers who adhere to these regulations. Therefore, it means that owners of such buildings have a high ability to generate a lot of profit, which will help them advocate for a more sustainable structure. This can be seen in the light that limited resources are being used and little proportion is wasted to achieve the same objective, i.e. to construct a building (Roseland, 2012).

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The practices also have numerous social impacts as they ensure that the structures are comfortable and accommodative for human inhabitance. It is also important for health safety since these are aspects put in focus while doing the construction. As a result, occupants are subject to minimal risks as compared to those that are constructed without adhering to these regulations (Tucker, 2015). This is possible because the practices emphasize improvement of inside quality of these buildings to make them able to accommodate human life with minimal exposure to risk factors.

Sustainability of Building Practices in Canada

Sustainability practice has been in the limelight since 2002 when the Canadian body entrusted with constructing sustainable buildings put emphasis on sustainable building practices. This has been done in numerous ways, one of them being through constant education of people on the relevance of adopting these practices for their current environmental conditions as well as in the future. Building professionals have also been supported through series of trainings on how to implement these practices and exercise them in the building activities (Tucker, 2015). This has also been merged by empowerment through provision of facilities, which can help to turn these practices into actual demonstration to enhance their ability to implement them. In this way, it has been easy to adopt practices and effect them since people expected to use the practice already have the capacity and capability to demonstrate the same.

Chen, Okudan, and Riley (2010) indicate that those charged with policy formulation have done a lot for ensuring that contemporary buildings are sustainable. Achieving this type of sustainability has been possible through structuring operational guidelines to help effect these initiatives. This has made the country’s building sector go through transformation, hence making sustainability and resource utilization in the region a key aspect of development. This is also evident by numerous designs of Charrettes that are samples of building in which the practices have been made available to prospective developers and building professionals (GGGC, n.d.). This has not been limited to commercial buildings only or other forms of buildings and structures, but it cuts across even domestic structures that are developed to act as individual homesteads. This has been stipulated in this manner to ensure that the goals of achieving sustainable building practices are made possible.

Another notable achievement that these practices have been able to bring to Canada includes implementation of zero energy building. This has been seen through the use of renewable energy sources, which help to ensure that that there is sustainability in the use of energy in buildings that are being constructed (Tucker, 2015). In this way, there is minimal waste in the already present energy sources as well as those sources that can be easily depleted. The practice has also helped with sustainability by reducing the amount of waste that is normally produced by a non-renewable energy source. This has reduced the extent to which pollution is promoted as the green house gases emission is reduced in all ways possible (Canada Green Building Council, 2015). These designs are made in such a way that they utilize solar panels and cells as major sources of energy. Wind turbine and bio-fuel are other significant energy sources that have replaced those which were initially used. This has made sustainability practices achieved as per the practices stipulations.

Another area where this has been evident is the management of water, which has been done through reuse of water that has already been used. This is through putting it to other forms of uses instead of disposing of the resource and losing it. In the same perspective, technologies that permit effective supply of water have also been adopted to ensure that potential waste is curbed as much as possible. This has lowered the urban water crisis in Canada and has made these resources used in a way that has reduced the rate of depletion (Roseland, 2012).

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Water conservation fixtures have also been initiated in buildings as one of the strategies to ensure that there is management in the consumption of the resource (Broome, 2007). This can also be seen by developing mechanisms in the structures to help in harvesting rainwater. This is an initiative directed towards ensuring that not a single resource is wasted and that all the resources are made available in a way that cannot risk their future depletion. Another mechanism that has been employed in managing water is sewage site treatment, which is focused on reducing the toxicity of the waste from building occupants (Tucker, 2015). This is done to ensure that the environment remains as clean as possible. Greywater treatment technologies have also been adopted and this has been done to ensure that the already used water can be brought back into use instead of losing it. This is relevant because it lowers the extent to which water that can be used in other activities is wasted.

Finally, there is also another aspect in sustainable building practices in Canada that has enhanced sustainability, which is the use of cool roof. Ideally, the roofing system helps in reflecting heat and sunlight away through the use of cool roof techniques and materials, thus making buildings very accommodating and conducive during adverse weather (Chen et al., 2010). This has been made possible by using roofing materials made from substance, which allows high solar reflectance and promotes absorption of less heat (Canada Green Building Council, 2015). In this case, it reduces the heating rates of these buildings, hence making them conducive to different weather patterns. Apparently, this prevents overuse of resources to help adapt to weather change. Thus, it ensures that there is sustainability in the manner the building being erected uses resources in the environment. Therefore, it helps to achieve the goal of promoting sustainability in the practices of building (GGGC, n.d.).

Conclusion

The use of sustainable resources in construction of houses promotes human activities that are environmentally friendly. In this case, sustainable building practices enhance efficiency in the use of these resources and promote their sustainable supply. This means it is relevant to adopt practices, which will provide a stable avenue for achieving sustainability. This is possible by coming up with the initiatives like green building practices, which are concerned with the humans’ built environment. The programs termed as sustainable focus on balancing the built environment with the natural resources in that same environment. This is done in the sense that the resources available are utilized without exhausting them. This can be achieved by adopting sustainable building practices. In Canada where the practices have been implemented, there has been an outstanding outcome. The extent to which resources have been conserved in Canada is impressive because it makes use of local resources and other eco-friendly technologies to prevent misuse of resources, which are important for sustaining human life as well as buildings. This is achieved by ensuring that resources not used in one way or wastes in built-up environment can be channeled to find their significant application in another practice rather than disposing of them all over. This has also been seen through developing other means of supplementing those resources that are at risk of depletion and cannot be easily regenerated.

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