The Canada Green Building Council: The Leading Voice in Canada’s Green Building Industry

By: Yvonne Ho

CaGBC’s vision: A transformed built environment leading to a sustainable future

In Canada, buildings generate up to 35% of all greenhouse gases, 35% of landfill waste comes from construction and demolition activities, and up to 70% of municipal water is consumed in and around buildings. On the other hand, green buildings help to conserve energy, reduce waste, decrease water consumption, and drive innovation. They can also create a healthier indoor environment for occupants through better indoor air quality, less harmful products and toxic chemicals, and more natural daylight exposure. All of which can positively affect an organization’s bottom line and boost employee productivity.

Within the “green” sector, the mention of green buildings or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification immediately brings to mind one organization: The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). The Canada Green Building Council is a not-for-profit, national organization that has been working hard for the past 15 years to advance green building practices and sustainable development within communities in Canada. The CaGBC is also the license holder for the LEED green building rating system in Canada and supports the WELL Building Standard and GRESB (Green Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) in Canada.

Acting as the leading voice of Canada’s green building industry, the CaGBC advocates for better green building standards and policies within all levels of governments and in the private sector. The Council has also provided education to over 20,000 green building professionals, in order to respond to the increasing market demand for knowledge, skills, and green jobs in this newly-created marketplace. As a result of its continual and tireless advocacy, coupled by the hard work of its member organizations, thousands of existing and newly constructed commercial and government buildings, community centres, schools, homes, and cultural structures have been retrofitted or built in a way that adheres to strict green building standards.

As of 2015, these LEED buildings have eliminated over 1 million CO2e tonnes of GHG emissions annually, diverted over 1.5 million tonnes of waste from landfill, and saved 12.8 billion litres of water per year, benefiting the environment and the health of many Canadians.

The CaGBC has chapters all across Canada – from British Columbia to Alberta, to the GTA, to Atlantic Canada. They currently offer and recognize several green building certification and programs, including:

CaGBC has also partnered with OSEA for previous Green Energy Doors Open showcases to promote green buildings and sustainability as an integral part of Ontario’s sustainable energy sector. If you are an individual or member of an organization involved in the green building sector and interesting in learning more about what CaGBC does, visit their website here.

Yvonne is an environmental professional with an educational background in environmental science and sustainability. She has several years of work experience in the environmental non-profit sector— carrying out research on key environmental issues, writing reports and educational articles, executing membership development and outreach initiatives, as well as implementing marketing and communications plans for campaigns. She has a keen interest in renewable energy, impact investing, sustainable development, and environmental laws and policies. Prominent environmental organizations she has volunteered at and worked for include Sierra Club, Environmental Defence, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Pollution Probe. Yvonne is motivated to work together with like-minded people and organizations towards greater environmental justice and climate action.