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What It Really Means To Go Green

Blog by Patricia Houlihan - Personal Real Estate Corporation | September 8th, 2007

What It Really Means To Go Green

Do you know why LEED, REAP and BuiltGreen home construction standards are good for the environment?   In a recent post, Susan Boyce provided a nice summary. She explains that as the green revolution shifts into high gear an increasing number of vague acronyms and buzzwords are entering into the public consciousness. She then provides a quick guide to decoding the benefits of three emerging environmental building certifications that you might come across when you are looking to buy or invest in a new development.

    The most widely used green building certification is LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  LEED encourages sustainable building developments in five key areas: Sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality to make developments more livable, sustainable, and environmentally responsible.

    In order to qualify for LEED certification many developers are choosing to install energy efficient appliances, dual flush toilets, higher insulation values, enhanced natural lighting to reduce power consumption, operable windows in key locations to provide natural ventilation and air conditioning and drought tolerant landscaping that requires minimal irrigation.

    Two less well known, but fast growing programs are REAP and BuiltGreen.  REAP - the Residential Environmental Assessment Program is Based on LEED principles and designed to address more of the specific issues arising from Vancouver's rainy West Coast weather.  One of the REAP systems building innovations is a geothermal heat recovery system used to preheat the buildings' hot water.

    BuiltGreen developments aim to increase energy efficiency, increase indoor air quality, and preserve natural resources for future generations.  Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association sees the emergence of BuiltGreen developments as an indicator of the green revolutions growth in Vancouver: "I was part of a 1987 pilot project named BuildGreen, a pioneer concept at a time when recycling and respect for [the] environment lacked credibility or public support. The fact this is now named BuiltGreen rather than BuildGreen means it is happening".