News / Edmonton

Edmonton looking at higher environmental standards for city-owned buildings

City currently requires new city-owned buildings to have LEED silver certification

The Terwillegar recreation centre in South Edmonton has a LEED silver designation, which is the city's current basic standard.

Supplied City of Edmonton

The Terwillegar recreation centre in South Edmonton has a LEED silver designation, which is the city's current basic standard.

The city’s buildings could soon have to rise to a higher standard of construction, as councillors are set to consider new rules on Tuesday.

Since 2008, the city has required all new buildings to reach a LEED silver certification.

LEED is an internationally recognized rating system that ranks buildings on their energy efficiency and other environmental goals like reducing waste during construction and resilience to climate change.

Jenny Hong, a senior project manager, with the city’s sustainable development department said it may be time to demand more.

“It’s not just doing what we know we have been able to do well in the past, but stretching us a little more,” she said.

Hong said that could include shooting for something higher like a LEED gold or platinum standard or it could mean looking at other certification systems in some instances, but the general goal is to raise standards.

She said the city has already hit higher targets, but this change would make that policy.

“We have successfully certified a couple of buildings as LEED gold,” she said.

The other change councillors will weigh in on Tuesday is a proposal to include some renewable energy generation within every new city of Edmonton building.

Much like the city’s policy that dedicates a certain amount of a building’s budget for public art, the proposal would include a certain amount from every project for renewable energy.

Hong said even a small contribution could help make the buildings more efficient.

“A one per cent capital construction dedicated fund to onsite renewables by and large can get you about 10 per cent, a solar panel system that contributes 10 per cent of a building’s energy,” she said.  

She said it would depend on each building, but it would move the city closer to the goal of having more electricity generated within city limits.

“It’s highly dependent on the buildings, a fire station would have a different energy consumption profile compared to a large recreation facility.”

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