Mountain Equipment Co-op®: Canadian Company Sets Green Building Standards

By: Adriana Rezai-Stevens

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC®) was founded in 1971 by six Canadian mountain climbers and has grown to become the largest outdoors store in Canada with over 4 million members.

There are many physical impacts of human settlement and urbanization on natural ecosystems. The world is unfortunately headed towards a very urbanized state, and in order to prevent this from being majorly destructive, we need to plan and alter our cities and towns in ways that prevent the destruction of our planet. With MEC®’s “Green Buildings” initiative, many issues that traditional buildings pose to the natural environment are addressed.

MEC® uses its location to maximize energy efficiency in order to offset environmental impacts. Some of their locations are in refurbished spaces, while others are newly built to allow for sustainable designs to be incorporated. The Ottawa and Winnipeg MEC® locations were the first retail stores in Canada to comply with the Natural Resources Canada C2000 Green Building Standard that shines a light on buildings that reduce their energy consumption by 50% compared to conventional buildings.

LED fluorescent tubes, motion sensors to turn off lights in empty rooms, and roofs with high windows to promote the use of natural light save on energy every day. Radiant heating and cooling, along with natural convection ventilation, proper insulation, and solar panels are also used for saving energy, and for creating energy with low carbon output. These features have landed 8 of MEC®’s retail stores LEED® Gold certification, along with LEED® Platinum certification for their Head Office in Vancouver.


Fun Fact: The very first MEC® store to acquire LEED® Canada certification is the Burlington location, which will be one of the hosts for this year’s Green Energy Doors Open event in September!

MEC® is constantly working to reduce their environmental and social footprint on the planet. Large companies can sometimes lose those values in translation, but MEC® has been different. Firstly, they use bluesign® approved fabrics in 87% of their clothing and sleeping bag items. Bluesign® is a system or standard of textile production that is sustainable, environmentally friendly and safe.

There are many other features that can be found in MEC® stores across the country that include rainwater collection, composting toilets, countertops and steel beams made from reclaimed materials, and bioswales. These features and much more can be expanded upon in greater detail through the self-guided Green Building Tour that can be taken in any of their store locations. We highly encourage you to do so and to support companies like MEC® that go above and beyond in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help our planet.

To learn more about their many environmental initiatives, visit their website: