forefront of sustainability

Outreach from the forefront of sustainability

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Canada Green Building Council’s national conference and exposition is set for June 6-8, 2016, in Toronto. President and CEO, Thomas Mueller, looks at the agenda.

The conference title, Building Lasting Change, alludes both to the green building sector’s chief product, buildings, and to its leadership role in the broader economy and public sphere. How does this year’s event reflect those dual professional development and advocacy functions?

Canada is a global leader in green building with the highest number of LEED buildings per capita in the world. A recent CaGBC report titled Green Buildings in Canada: Assessing the Market Impacts and Opportunities further confirmed this, projecting that LEED projects (those that have certified between 2005 and end of 2015) will generate approximately $62.3 billion in total GDP and create over 701,000 direct jobs over their lifetime.

We hold this event in order to provide the Canadian industry with access to the most innovative thinking on green building and green real estate from the world’s leading experts. We purposely look for sessions and content that has not yet been presented anywhere else. This year we brought in conference partner, REALpac, to help us shape the conversation and where it is headed.

Our two plenary sessions are great examples of this:

  • The opening plenary at the conference features a political panel that will explore municipal, provincial and federal perspectives on climate change issues, commitments and opportunities for Canada’s green building industry. It will feature Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne; Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer; and Kevin Radford, Assistant Deputy Minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  • Our lunch plenary panel, moderated by Michael Brooks, CEO of REALpac, will provide an overview of the adoption of GRESB (Green Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) and its impact on green building in Canada. It features Amy Erixon, Principal and Managing Director – Investments for Avison Young; Chris Pyke, COO at GRESB.com; Stephen Taylor, VP of Real Estate, at HOOPP; and Paul Zemla, CIO at Bentall Kennedy.

What emerging issues and ongoing concerns do the educational streams explore? What’s notable about this year’s plenary forums and educational sessions?

Climate change and buildings are getting a lot of attention from the federal and the provincial governments. The plenary session with Premier Wynne is complemented by five streams this year that represent current thinking and new developments in green building, climate change and health and well-being. We bring leading domestic speakers as well as international experts to address:

  • Green Real Estate: Taking the Lead in Canada
  • The Climate Change Imperative: Getting to Zero/Low Carbon Buildings
  • Getting in on the Ground Floor: Health and Well-being takes off
  • Solutions for Greening the Multi-residential Sector
  • International Developments in the Green Building Sector

We change these streams each year; they are based on what the industry is talking about —  what ideas and innovation are at the forefront of sustainability. A few highlights include:

  • David Hoffman of Cadillac Fairview with his session called Green is the New Black: Case Studies in Sustainability at TD Centre.
  • Collaborative session Sustainability Training Presentation for Investment Managers which will be delivered by Nada Sutic of Bentall Kennedy.
  • Achieving Real Change in Real Estate presented by Fin MacDonald, Morrison Hershfield and Gregory Pheiffer, 20 Vic Management Inc.
  • Follow the Money: Integrating Sustainability into Property Planning with Neil Pegram, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Manager for Morguard; Morgan McDonald, Director of Operations, Ledcor Renew; Francisca Quinn, Founder and Managing Partner, Quinn & Partners.

The green building sector is becoming increasingly diverse, drawing multidisciplinary support for sustainable design and operations along with the conviction that sustainability bolsters asset value. Who will be attending Building Last Change and what opportunities will they have to exchange their professional perspectives?

Our attendees are always a diverse mix of people — engineers, architects, design professionals, construction professionals, real estate owners, property managers, manufacturers, government, and students and academics.

In addition to a great deal of networking opportunities throughout the three days of the event, we are holding a Green Real Estate Executive Lunch as part of this year’s pre-conference events, which is a great opportunity for professionals to meet Canada’s leaders in the industry and hear from Leith Sharp of Harvard University Sustainability. We also have Business-to-Business sessions available to all conference delegates, and, of course, our one-day Expo on June 7 which offers access to 70 exhibitors.

Building Lasting Change is also an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and showcase the green building sector in the host city. What’s planned for this year?

Our annual Gala and Leadership Awards on the evening of June 7 is where we honour the industry’s leaders and acknowledge what they’ve done to further green building and sustainability in Canada. In addition to the Leadership Awards we have a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Green Building Product of the Year Award, and we present the Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award to an up and coming post-secondary student.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *