green building canada Photo: VancouverConvention/Flickr

Green building practices in Canada will grow by more than 50 per cent over the next three years, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC).

Among the 200 building firms that responded to the online survey conducted by construction data firm McGraw Hill on behalf of the CGBC, one third say they plan to expand their green practices in 2014 compared to one half by 2017.

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“The business case for green buildings in Canada is strong, which translates into growing demand and investment over the next three years,” said CGBC president Thomas Mueller.

Highlights from the report

  • 82% of building owners and developers reported decreases in energy consumption in their green buildings compared to similar buildings
  • 68% of building owners and developers reported decreases in water consumption in their green buildings
  • The median reduction in operating costs over five years for green buildings reported by the firms included in the research is 17%
  • The median payback for the investment in a new green building is reported to be eight years

“This report is exciting because it demonstrates that the majority of the Canadian green building market recognizes the value that healthy green buildings have,” said Harvey Bernstein of McGraw Hill Construction.

Of course there is some dispute concerning the validity of certain green building standards. The CGBC report considers, among others, LEED certification, which, as we reported earlier this month, has a degree of controversy surrounding it:

The internationally-recognized LEED rating system is both commended and condemned by developers and residents alike. After the program was established in March 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council (and later introduced in Canada in 2003) many have argued that the program’s points system is far too gimmicky. There’s even an article featured on the Green Builder Advisor that outlines, step by step, “how to cheat at LEED for homes.”

But despite the controversy, LEED certification continues to grow in popularity every year. Our research shows that more than 1,600 LEED-certified buildings currently exist throughout Canada and nearly 3,000 more are registered to be granted status. In 2013, only 573 projects became LEED-certified, compared to 346 certified in 2012 and 190 in 2011.

For a much more in-depth look at the topic of green building trends, our investigative report can be read in its entirety here.

*CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the CGBC only considered buildings that are LEED certified, when in fact the report takes into consideration all green building standards.

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