Ottawa Nixes LEED Requirements on City Buildings

Ottawa Nixes LEED Requirements on City Buildings

The regulation, which has been in effect in the Canadian capital since 2005, was removed at a committee meeting, with members suggesting that LEED certification can be costly and time-consuming and that buildings can be built to LEED specifications or even more stringent environmental standards without going through the certification process.

Ottawa city councillor and environment committee member David Chernushenko said that while monetary cost of LEED certification was not prohibitive at roughly $2,000 per building, the real cost came in terms of the amount of time city staff had to spend doing paperwork related to the certification.

“Let’s continue to aim for (green certification) so if we wanted to we would get it. We would continue to design towards that standard,” Chernushenko was quoted as saying by CBC News. “But we wouldn’t always go through the cost and the time of actually getting that check mark, that plaque for it.”

According to a city staff report, eight municipal buildings in Ottawa have been built and LEED certified in recent years with another 14 built and awaiting certification. Chernushenko said the building owner likely spend roughly $50,000 above and beyond regular building costs to obtain LEED certification for a decent-sized building.

Telus House Ottawa

Telus House, Ottawa

Canada Green Building Council CEO Thomas Mueller disputed the report’s claims that there were 14 municipal buildings in Ottawa awaiting LEED certification. He said that of the 14 buildings supposedly backlogged, five have not been submitted, two that were submitted over the past two months and two that had already received their certification.

Mueller added that LEED certification enforces green building, noting that having the city monitor its own green building would at least give the impression that city buildings are being built and run at a lower standard.

“If you go to university and you take a reading course or you take a course where you have an exam — which one do you take more seriously?,” he told CBC New. “It’s the one with the exam and it’s the same with LEED certification.”

By Mark Schafer
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