March 27, 2006

Alberta adopts BOMA's Go Green standard to certify provincial buildings

The Alberta government is adopting a new environmental standard for the operation of its major buildings. Two provincially-owned buildings have already been certified under the Go Green program operated by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

"The Go Green program provides building owners with the tools they need to reduce their energy consumption, improve waste management, and generally enhance their environmental stewardship," said William Partridge, executive vice-president of BOMA Calgary. "We are very pleased the government has adopted our standard."

The Go Green program emphasizes ecologically sound building operations by establishing performance standards in such areas as energy use, water use and indoor air quality. To achieve Go Green certification, facilities must demonstrate a commitment to minimum standards in ten categories: 1) energy use, 2) water use, 3) construction waste, 4) recycling, 5) hazardous materials, 6) materials selection, 7) ozone-depleting substances, 8) indoor air quality, 9) HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance, and 10) building occupant communication.

The McDougall Centre in Calgary has been certified as the first Alberta government-owned Go Green facility. On March 14, the Alberta Research Council facility in Edmonton became the second provincial building to achieve Go Green certification. The government has also submitted an application to certify the Pincher Creek provincial building, and more than 80 major provincial buildings are under consideration for Go Green certification. The privately-owned Telus Convention Centre in Calgary was the very first building in Alberta to be certified Go Green.

To qualify, staff and contractors must complete the certification process, which includes an energy audit. The application fee is nominal and certification is valid for three years.

Through its current operating procedures, many government facilities already meet many of the required criteria for certification. New procedures and energy efficiency projects will be funded through related cost savings. Best practices from the Go Green program will also be implemented in smaller government facilities.

The adoption of the BOMA Go Green program adds to the provincial government's commitment to sustainability and dealing with climate change. Other initiatives have included:

*use of green power: Since January 1, 2005, over 90% of the electricity consumed by government-owned facilities has been derived from green power sources, including 105,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year from Enmax Energy's McBride Lake wind farm and 110,000 MWh per year from Canadian Hydro Developers' EcoPower Centre, a biomass facility in Grand Prairie. This is more than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

*energy retrofits: The Alberta government has implemented energy improvements to 200 major government facilities, with projected annual savings of $6 million and a payback period of six to seven years after each project is completed.

*environmentally sustainable building design: Five provincial government buildings currently under construction have been designed to meet the LEED Silver standard. These include the Calgary Law Courts Centre and four provincial park buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a points-based green building rating system covering six topic areas: site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection (i.e. re-use), indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

*climate change plan: Alberta was the first province in Canada to register an Action Plan with the Voluntary Challenge and Registry (VCR) program's National Registry on Climate Change, The leadership and success of the Alberta plan has been recognized with three VCR awards.

More information on BOMA's Go Green program is available on its Web site, www.bomagogreen.com.

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