Green Building Design

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Posted: December 8, 2016

Award Magazine, December 2016, By Natalie Bruckner-Menchelli

Global commitment to green building is transforming the built environment with green building continuing to double every three years, according to The World
Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report by Dodge Data & Analytics (formerly McGraw Hill Construction) and United Technologies Corporation. The top sector for green building growth globally is commercial construction, with nearly half (46 percent)  of all respondents expecting to do a green commercial project in the next three years.

While definitions of green building design continue to evolve, it’s fair to say that the current term – which describes a building that is sustainable, energy efficient and considers the health of its occupants – is widely accepted here in Canada. However, there are still many obstacles that need to be overcome before green design becomes the norm.

“Demand for green building systems continues to grow steadily,” says Corry Martin, electrical engineer at Williams Engineering Canada. “Every project seems to be pushing the envelope more and more, and what was considered novel a few years ago is now becoming mainstream. Owners are recognizing that the payback is so fast from the initial construction that it makes sense to go green.” At Williams, Martin has noticed the biggest advancements are being made with mechanical and electrical systems. “Of course there is a limitation as to what you can do with lighting and the most efficient light is the one that is turned off. However, we are seeing greater integration with occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting, clever use of fenestration and even photocells that automatically dim the fixtures,”says Martin. Smart controls are indeed the future, with integration being the key to utilizing various technologies in green building design. “We are now integrating security cameras with exterior light controls. We now have technology that can differentiate between people walking past or a branch moving in the wind. We can make the security cameras talk to the outside lighting, so it knows when to turn on or off. This can save around 20 percent of the overall lighting demand,” explains Martin.

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