Sustainable design applies good design practices and good business principles in addition to preserving the natural environment. Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of people living today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development requires a long-term vision of industrial progress, preserving the foundations upon which quality of life depends: respect for basic human needs and local and global ecosystems.
Sustainable construction is defined as the creation and
responsible maintenance of a healthy built environment, based on ecological principles, and by means of an efficient use of resources.
In keeping with this definition, owners, developers, architects, engineers and contractors have a responsibility to design and select materials and systems that will provide a durable foundation for sustainable communities. The production and use of concrete in all its forms is central because concrete is second only to water as the most consumed substance on earth, with nearly three tons of concrete used annually for each person on earth.
Like all manufactured products, the production and use of precast concrete building systems imposes environmental burdens. Precast concrete offers a dramatic range of colours, finishes and unlimited design possibilities difficult to match with other material. Precast concrete can create structures that can provide superior environmental and energy performance from a life cycle perspective. Precast concrete offers a competitive building solution based on first cost, long-term economic benefits, energy efficiency, lower maintenance and overall operating costs as well as opportunities for future reuse when the occupancy of a building changes.
Going green with LEED
Buildings generate up to 35 per cent of all greenhouse gases, 35 per cent of landfill waste comes from construction and demolition activities, and 80 per cent of all water is consumed in and around buildings. It’s clear that making buildings greener can have a significant impact on larger environmental goals.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system that is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building in 150 countries. Since 2002, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and LEED Canada have been redefining the buildings and communities where Canadians live, work and learn.
LEED works because it recognizes that sustainability should be at the heart of all buildings – in their design, construction and operation. Since 2004, the CaGBC has certified over 1800 LEED buildings in Canada and registered over 5000, the second highest number in the world.
Green buildings create a healthier working environment for staff and tenants, through better air ventilation and more natural daylight. Green buildings reduce waste, conserve energy, decrease water consumption, and drive innovation.
To find out more about how LEED certification can benefit you and to get started, choose one of these options.
Canadian Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute
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