Everybody’s talking about green today — including developers and builders who are leading the charge for environmental responsibility in response to recent concerns for the sustainability of the planet.
We all know that issues such as energy and water conservation and air quality affect the world we live in. But for many people, the concept of green in the new home building world is clouded by confusion. We read about the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globes, Energy Star — but do we really understand what they involve? And is one better than the other?
Energy and other environmental requirements for new homes and condominium buildings are regulated under a very progressive Ontario Building Code. Over and above the code, many condominium developers and builders incorporate energy-efficient features in our buildings that have real added value for suite owners. And that’s the best thing potential condominium purchasers can do — rather than focus on which program the builder is associated with, find out what green features are offered and decide what is important to you.
Members of CaGBC — like Monarch Corporation — incorporate many environmental initiatives that help to provide suite owners with greener, more energy-efficient surroundings. For example, we locate many of our buildings within 800 metres of the subway, or 400 metres of two or more TTC bus lines. This reduces the need for residents to use vehicles, which for many of our purchasers is a definite plus. At our upcoming Scarborough site, we will be offering a car share program, which will also help reduce the need for residents to own vehicles.
Among the green features that Monarch is providing are compact fluorescent light bulbs where appropriate. These last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use up to 80 per cent less energy — so it’s easy to see why this type of bulb is desirable in a building that houses hundreds of residents. Our high-efficiency, low-emissivity windows have a coating that controls heat transfer, reducing energy loss by up to 50 per cent. Again, this saves on energy usage and costs.
From green roofs that provide heat insulation to suite carpets certified by the Canadian Carpet Institute under its Indoor Air Quality Testing Program, the list of environmental features in a condominium can be long and involved. To be an educated purchaser on this subject, you might have some homework.
Linda Mitchell is vice-president of Marketing, High-Rise for Monarch Corporation. In 2005, Linda was presented with the coveted OHBA SAMMY (Sales and Marketing Member of the Year) award.