Built Green Canada has launched its Communities Program pilot—expanding opportunities for developers focused on creating better, healthier homes and communities. As COVID-19 continues, the organization is encouraging developers to participate in trials during this phase. The first project enrolled is by Averton who has decided to develop Midtown in St. Albert as a sustainable community.
Now more than ever, healthy homes have become a priority, and there is growing awareness that a sustainably built home is a healthier home. Many people are spending more time inside their home as they adjust to other ways of doing business, while social connections are encouraged to occur outside, expanding the focus to the outside of the home and to the health of communities. While the Communities Program was already in development, the pandemic prompted Built Green to ready this as a pilot.
The Communities’ program framework takes a holistic approach to development, consistent with Built Green’s other third-party certified programs, and focuses on the optimization of health, resiliency, lifecycle sustainability, new urbanism, greenhouse emissions, green spaces and resource consumption.
“Though we understand the COVID-19 pandemic extends far beyond a health crisis, the trajectory of our communities and economies is difficult to anticipate, recover from and prepare for, should future waves come. What we can expect is a continued emphasis on health and well-being—inside our homes and the communities in which we live”, says Built Green’s CEO Jenifer Christenson. “Meanwhile, economic recovery dominates public discourse.”
To qualify for the Communities program pilot, the project must consist of three or more buildings, and at least 50 per cent of these structures must contain residential units. The program’s checklist of options considers site location, layout and design, energy systems, water management, materials and waste management, health and wellness, and business practices and innovation.
“Consistent with the framework of Built Green’s other programs, the Communities Program was created to provide a simple, well-researched, independent, and impactful approach to sustainable communities,” says Matt Grace, Integral Group principal and chair of Built Green’s Technical Standards Committee. “We hope developers will find it easy to use and instinctive, while providing valuable guidance and direction.”