The Green Building

There are plenty of news headlines concerning climate change and keeping our planet green. There are debates about the best way for countries and cities to be more energy efficient and ‘green’. The options for greener building materials are increasing and there are retrofit incentives for existing buildings too.

Green Roofs and Cool Roofs

The City of Toronto provides an incentive program for the inclusion of green and cool roofs on new or existing buildings. According to the City of Toronto:

Green roofs support the growth of vegetation and consists of a waterproofing membrane, drainage layer, organic growing medium (soil), and vegetation. Cool roofs reflect the sun’s rays and reduce heat build-up through a coating applied over an existing roof system, or a new single-ply waterproofing membrane.

The incentive is targeted towards existing residential, industrial commercial and institutional buildings in the city of Toronto.

Green Roof Incentives

  • $100 / square metre installed
  • up to $1,000.00 for a structural assessment

Cool Roof Incentives

  • $2 to $5 / square metre

Find more information and the application process here. 

A smart building is a structure that makes use of automated processes to optimize a building’s performance. These processes control operations such as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and security. They provide greater efficiency, safety and comfort while delivering cost savings that can be closely aligned with the goals set out by property managers, residents and owners.

Through the use of sensors, meters, actuators and controllers, a smart building is able to collect data and manage it to address immediate building issues and track long term statistics. Knowing about your building will help to minimize leaks, system failures, unpredictable costs as well as minimize its environmental impact.

Suite metering is an integral component of a smart building’s success. Property managers and residents need to know how much water and electricity they are using. Common areas including lobbies, hallways, garages and pools should all be submetered in order for property managers to have control of their utility costs. Residents are incentivized to conserve their energy and water usage when they are paying for the exact amount they use. Billing residents for their utility usage gives them a sense of control over their costs and will help to reduce the strain on building resources. Call 1-866-836-3837 extension 2 to learn more about a custom suite metering plan for your new or existing building.

Wood and Other Alternative Building Materials

Bamboo is a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing wood that can be easily grown and ethically sourced for use in building materials. Wood is being used in Toronto already.

In Liberty Village at 80 Atlantic Ave, a new office/retail building is comprised totally of wood expect for the parking, ground floor and elevator. This includes all walls, ceilings and support beams being made from wood. The move away from concrete and steel is starting to challenge the term ‘concrete jungle’. Sidewalk Lab’s Toronto proposal includes thousands of condominium and apartment suites built with timber.

Recycled materials

Better Insulation is on the rise. Cellulose insulation is made of 80-85% recycled newsprint. Cotton insulation can be made from recycled clothing. Unfortunately, many alternative recycled building options are still new and that makes them expensive. In 2020, using recycled materials as building materials will rise in popularity and the prices will decrease.

Plastic is another multi-purpose building material. Grinding down and granulating used plastic enables this material to be used in a variety of ways. Recycled plastic can be turned into tiles, bricks and windows.

Make some art! Plastic is also a great item that can be used to make unique and eco-conscious art projects. This past summer the Toronto Zoo displayed magnificent art pieces made from plastic drawing awareness to the devastating effects of plastic on animals.

Polar Bear Plastic Art

Polar Bear Plastic Art

Using recycled materials to decorate the inside or outside of a residential building will boost its appeal to potential residents and buyers. Most of the public is aware of the environmental effects of plastic. residents would be proud to know the place they call home is doing its part to have a positive impact on the planet.