What do you need to get your ideas on green building designs to the next level?
Green building design is a growing field and it’s getting more attention than ever, says Sarah Hoey, associate professor of design at the University of Guelph and the author of Building Green.
There are now dozens of green building publications out there, she says, and there’s a growing community of practitioners who specialize in the field.
The Green Building Institute at the City of Toronto launched its own publication in February, but it is a resource for designers and practitioners.
Hoeyl says the institute is also working with some universities to launch a program that would connect green building designers and architects to the city’s green building community.
“The Green building Institute is doing a fantastic job of putting together a green building program that is accessible to architects, building designers, and others,” Hoeym says.
“We need more organizations to take this and do it properly.”
Hoeyl believes a good start for the green building field can be found in the province’s recent green building pilot program.
It started in January with two pilot sites, including a new urban park in downtown Toronto.
As part of the pilot, the city commissioned a consulting firm to come up with ideas for how to transform the site.
The first site was designed by HOK Architects and the second by HOH Architects.
In the final site, which has a plaza with a new plaza, the design team looked at several options and decided on the one that best reflects the vision of the park.
The two sites are now both on the city site and HOH will work on the next site.
HOEY believes the pilot has given designers and building professionals a chance to practice building green, with more emphasis on green materials and energy.
To learn more about the program, visit the Green Building Initiative website.
Hoey says the city has made great strides since the pilot started.
The City of Winnipeg recently introduced a pilot program in which buildings can be retrofitted with solar panels.
And Toronto’s Green Building Program has become the first citywide green building in Canada.
But Hoeyle says building green can be tricky.
“People are more open to building green in a more sustainable way, but they’re more cautious about the way they use the materials and the energy they’re using,” she says.
The next step is to help green building architects and building contractors better understand the needs of their clients, and to incorporate the latest technology in building designs.