The City of Saskatoon could soon be one shade greener as city administration is looking to introduce Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards for construction of civic buildings over 500 sq m.
Currently Saskatoon “does not appear” to have a civic sustainability building policy for civic buildings and if council approves a future report and recommendation construction on civic buildings will aim to meet the LEED NC gold standard.
Chair of Saskatoon’s Environmental Advisory Committee, Sean Shaw was told by the Finance and Administration Committee to compile a detailed report explaining the implications of introducing the LEED standards.
“This would have a fairly significant impact on the way the city operates in constructing new buildings,” said Shaw. “The recommendation we’re making to the committee is that we’d like to see them reach for the gold—but we also acknowledge that you can’t put every single building that’s built into the same box.”
“Sometimes there’s circumstances where it doesn’t make sense to go for LEED gold, but we still want to see the city hold itself to a high-standard,” he said.
Executive director of the Saskatchewan Eco Network, Rick Morrell said he feels the potential adoption of LEED standards is a step in the right direction, saying he’d like to see the same standards in the province’s capital.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Morrell. “It’s a framework that helps builders answer questions or ask questions about what can be a more sustainable way to do different parts of the building.”
“It covers many different aspects of sustainable building and will cause the builders to learn things they wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to take the time to learn,” said Morrell.
However, Bram Noble, a professor of Environmental Assessment at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Geography & Planning School of Environment & Sustainability said the change would have little impact, but it does send a message about the city.
“It demonstrates, at least to some extent, a commitment to urban sustainability,” said Noble. “But, I do have two points of caution … adopting LEED standards for civic buildings will help, in a small way, manage the city’s environmental footprint, but it certainly is not an offset for the environmental impact of urban sprawl, increased vehicle emissions and the loss of urban wetlands.”
The SEAC will compile a report on LEED standards and submit it back to Finance and Administration Committee before a recommendation goes to council.