Green Building Programs and Standards

Some of the more common programs in Canada are the Energy Star, R-2000 and Energuide rating systems. These programs largely address energy usage and efficiency of the building, as you can see from this infographic.

Passive house is another building standard that is quite common in Vancouver. The head office of the non-profit association is located in Victoria, and they advocate for the use of high-performance building standards as a means of forwarding sustainable development.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green buildings are rated on a points system whereby sustainable features like renewable energy systems and efficient water fixtures improve the rating of the building. LEED encourages a holistic view to green building and requires sustainable features to be identified during the design phase, then carried out throughout construction and operation of the building.

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program offered by the International Living Future Institute. They believe that the ideal built environment should operate as cleanly and efficiently as a flower.

BOMA Best is an environmental assessment and certification program for existing buildings. The program is administered through the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada and recognizes excellence in energy and environmental management and performance in commercial real estate.

Built Green Canada is a voluntary program that promotes green building practices to reduce the impact a building has on the environment. It focuses on several areas, including energy efficiency, indoor air quality, materials and methods, ventilation, and waste and water management.

The Net Zero Home Labeling Program offered by the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) is a relatively new program that offers a clearly defined and rigorous two-tiered technical requirement that can be used to identify net-zero and net-zero ready homes. The program also offers net-zero training for CHBA members who wish to be a part of the program.

Finally, while they are not specifically a green building standard, The Happy City is an organization that takes lessons from psychology and public health to design happiness into neighbourhoods and cities. Their work has close ties to social sustainability and is an underrated, but essential aspect of sustainable development.