Building a Way to Environmental Sustainability: LEED 

Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly 

We spend the majority of our lives in buildings, yet we often give very little thought when it comes to the design, construction, or impact that these buildings have on our lives and the environment. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or as it’s commonly known “LEED” is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, available for virtually all building, community, and home-project types. LEED has proven to be a pathway towards addressing climate change and creating buildings that are more resource-efficient, healthy, and resilient. LEED projects emphasize the importance of sustainability in all buildings, whether it is in the design, construction or operation. LEED projects can also take form in many different shapes, sizes, and purposes ranging from a small local building, to university campuses to NHL sized arenas (CGBC, 2019). Energy and water savings, recycling, greenhouse gas reductions, and green roofs are just some of the ways in which following LEED standards can improve new and existing buildings. This is important because there is no denying the impact that buildings have on the environment. It is estimated that buildings generate nearly 30% off all greenhouse gas emissions, up to 35% of all landfill waste comes from construction and demolition of buildings, and up to 70% of all municipal water is consumed in and around buildings (LEED, 2020).  

The Plaza and International Centre building at Brock University are both Silver LEED certified. The Plaza Building, built in 2006, incorporated a unique system of heating and cooling by utilizing the precast hollow core concrete floor slabs for stored thermal mass and fresh ventilation air as part of the ThermoDeck System. This system has resulted in a higher degree of indoor air quality through this ventilation system as well a 33% energy cost savings. The Plaza Building also uses Xeriscaping and rainwater harvesting which has led to 60% water savings. Xeriscaping is used for all the landscaping around Plaza Building which minimizes irrigation, pest control, and fertilization. The incorporation of drought resistant native species also eliminated the need for outdoor watering! The rainwater harvesting on the roof of Plaza is used to for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and outdoor water watering. During the building of Plaza over 75% of all the construction waste was diverted from landfills due to a rigorous construction waste management plan that kept sustainability at the forefront of the entire process (Sustainability Initiatives, 2020).  

The International Centre building built in 2010 was designed to achieve 41% in energy cost reduction compared to the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. One of the advanced water conservation features of this building is the rainwater harvesting from roof. Between the 50, 000 litre underground cistern that collects the water from the roof and the installation of water efficient plumbing fixtures, the building has an 89% wastewater reduction and 41% water use reduction. The material used in the building and furnishing of the building were also carefully selected to ensure the highest level of indoor quality was achieved (Sustainability Initiatives, 2020). If you want to learn more about LEED certification or the LEED certified buildings at Brock, visit the links below! 

Canadian Green Building Council – LEED 

LEED Certified Buildings at Brock University  

References 

Image retrieved from: https://brocku.ca/facilities-management/planning-construction/major-projects/plaza-building/

Canadian Green Building Council – Rogers Place. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cagbc.org/Archives/EN/CaGBC_Green_Building_Case_Studies/rogers_place.aspx 

LEED: the international mark of excellence. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cagbc.org/CAGBC/LEED/Why_LEED/CAGBC/Programs/LEED/_LEED.aspx?hkey=01b3d086-d0a4-42cf-9e61-7830d801c019 

Sustainability Initiatives: Buildings. (2020). Retrieved from https://brocku.ca/sustainability/initiatives/buildings/