June 5, 2006

Alberta adopts LEED Silver for design of new government buildings

EDMONTON, ALTA-Alberta has adopted the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standard for the design of new government-funded buildings. This will reduce the new buildings' impact on the environment, conserve energy and save taxpayers money. "The decision to adopt the LEED Silver standard for new government buildings is a natural step, since existing government buildings already use green power," Environment Minister Guy Boutilier noted. LEED Silver-rated buildings can cost up to 5% more to build than traditional buildings, but cost less to operate and maintain because they consume 40-45% less energy than other buildings. Any additional construction costs are recovered through lower operating costs in about seven years. LEED, a voluntary, points-based environmental rating system, has four certification levels: LEED Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Administered in Canada by the Canadian Green Building Council, LEED covers six topic areas: site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection (e.g. re-use), indoor environmental quality, and design innovation. "By adopting LEED Silver as its standard for all new government buildings, Alberta is encouraging other jurisdictions to do the same, setting an example for the private sector, and helping the green building industry grow in capacity and expertise," said Thomas Mueller, president of the Canadian Green Building Council. Calgary has adopted LEED Silver, Vancouver has adopted LEED Gold, and Richmond, BC has adopted Gold for new construction and Silver for retrofit. The federal government requires LEED Gold for projects over $10 million, and most provinces are considering a sustainable design requirement. More information about LEED and the Canadian Green Building Council is available on-line at www.cagbc.org.

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