Real Estate Foundation of BC

For grants to be awarded to recipients of the Vancity/Real Estate Foundation Green Building Grant Program in 2012.

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Green Building Grants 2012

In 2012 eight Green Building Grants were approved totaling $200,000, the maximum available for this grant cycle.

Project Descriptions

ASRi Research Society - Efforts to integrate natural building materials and other alternative building systems in homes and commercial buildings are hindered by a lack of inclusion in the current BC Building Code. ASRi Research Society will produce the "Alternative Solutions Resource" (ASR), a manual that offers regionally appropriate information on alternative building materials and systems, such as strawbale, thermal mass, and grey water systems. The manual will help facilitate the use of natural and alternative building practices in BC both by offering reliable information and by contributing to the extensive research currently required by building authorities to prove the feasibility of alternative designs through the "alternative solutions" process. The information contained within the ASR manual will be made readily available to all members of the building community, including approving authorities. More widespread adoption of alternative building practices will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate local economies, and increase housing affordability.

Cowichan Green Community Society - Using green technology and alternative building materials, the Society is re-purposing a derelict, non-functional municipal building in North Cowichan’s Kinsmen Neighborhood Public Park to establish the Youth Green Classroom. The retrofitted building will provide schools, community organizations, businesses, contractors, and builders with a demonstration facility offering educational programming and information on green building design, green technology, alternative food production (such as vertical farming) and food security.  It will be a model for innovative use of community space.  Youth will be actively engaged in the project design, construction and educational opportunities.  They will receive training and gain valuable experience in leadership, community skill building, marketing and communications, green building skills, and working with video. The youth’s experiences and video clips will be shared across social media networks to provide resources for others on how to go green and how to create a similar model at their own schools.

Cowichan Station Area Association - The Greening “The Hub” Community Centre is an organized effort by the Association to retrofit the historic Cowichan Station School (built in 1913), which was shut down five years ago. The goal is to provide the community with a multi-purpose community centre/hub for arts and culture, education, recreation, and small business uses. The project is focusing on green building throughout each stage of the project, from the initial assessment to the post construction audit. The project intends to reduce the community’s carbon footprint by retrofitting existing energy systems and upgrading windows and lights. With the help of an instructor from Vancouver Island University, the project team will produce an educational toolkit that includes cost versus savings data, lessons learned, and CO2 outcomes of the project. This toolkit will be shared with organizations with targeted roles in green building such as GreenCity Victoria, Light House Sustainable Building Centre, Cascadia Green Building Council, and the UBC Sustainable Building Science program.

Groundswell Network Society - Since commencing operation of the award winning, low energy-use, solar heated, water conserving educational greenhouse in 2009, the Invermere based Society has identified a number of opportunities to enhance its green building systems. It has also received a plethora of requests from other communities interested in emulating its success. Through their "Community Greenhouse Upgrades and Enhanced Program Delivery" project, they will undertake these enhancements and also develop new education and communications tools to assist other communities. Thermal blanket insulation, solar energy, heat recovery, and rainwater harvesting are among the improvements to be made. The reductions in CO2 will be monitored using built-in equipment that can accurately track reduction volumes. Groundswell Network Society will showcase its findings to a wider audience through online distribution, print, workshops, and audio/video presentations.

Howe Sound Curling Club - The Club plans to green the joint community building that houses itself, the Squamish Valley Golf Club, and the Squamish Squash Club. Through a Combined Heat and Power Project, they aim to double the efficiency of the existing plant and reduce operating costs by half by replacing a 47 year old ammonia ice making unit and Freon gas technology heat pumps with a more efficient energy system. The new system will enable them to store and re-use the waste heat from ice-making operations to heat the building and provide hot water for the facility.  A solar hot water heating system will be installed to help top up any shortfall. A water usage and waste management strategy will complement these efforts. The Club will document its experiences from this project to produce a green building case study that will be disseminated amongst other community recreational facilities.

Society for Organic Urban Land Care - The Society (SOUL) has made it their mission to promote and support organic practices among professionals and communities through education, certification, and standardization. To implement new policies and regulations for organic land care, SOUL Care is engaging a broad audience of green building certifying bodies and land care industries in a review and update of the current SOUL Organic Land Care Standard. As part of its educational outreach plans, SOUL Care will make presentations to regional and provincial bodies, and participate in green building conferences, to introduce the Standard and present related policy options to support sustainable development and land use.  Importantly, the society will encourage the inclusion of the environment surrounding a building in calculations for a green building’s environmental impact.  By including the surrounding landscape in green building assessments, and implementing SOUL Care’s standards and practices, building developers, owners and managers can provide for increased carbon sequestration, reduced pollution, reduced land fill impacts, and sustainable food production.

Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall - A downtown Vancouver heritage building is undergoing a “greening renovation” to become a leading edge childcare centre and interpretive centre for the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall. This includes renovating structural elements rather than rebuilding, collecting rainwater from gutters, solar thermal heating, and energy and water efficient appliances. Greening will also be incorporated in the curriculum with an organic rooftop garden, onsite composting, lessons in closed loop recycling, and community Green Zone initiatives. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the renovation, the organization will monitor energy usage before and after completion, and will have an on-site “Live Screen” that shows savings in energy costs through solar energy generated. They hope that the project will be a model for other organizations with similar aspirations.

Village of Granisle - After being identified as the ideal test site for an energy and building retrofit in the 2011 Community Energy Plan, the Granisle Fire Hall Renovation project aims to lower energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use. To reach this goal a new biomass/energy boiler will be installed as the primary heating source in the Fire Hall, which currently has the highest propane usage of all community facilities. Extensive reinsulating of the roof and installation of energy efficient windows, doors, and weather stripping are also planned. The project will be an ideal demonstration to spur more widespread retrofits across the Village of Granisle community and other small northern communities working to develop attainable projects to meet BC Climate Action Goals.