Real Estate Foundation of BC

For grants awarded to recipients of the 2009 Vancity/Real Estate Foundation Green Building Grant Program.

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Green Building Grants 2009

For the 2009 intake, five organizations received Green Building Grants totaling $150,000, the maximum available this grant cycle.

Project Descriptions

Cascadia Region Green Building Council - The Eco-Sense home is an innovative, affordable and sustainable home. It features passive solar design, solar PV, solar thermal, composting toilets, rain water harvesting, grey water re-use, a living roof, earthen floors and structure, and natural, non-toxic finishes. This project will focus on researching and analyzing the green performance of the Eco-Sense home, which is located in the Highlands municipality of the Capital Regional District on Vancouver Island. Through a year’s worth of in-depth research and data analysis of water and energy systems, the project team will bring a high profile awareness to what is a replicable, affordable, and accessible residential building model. This research and data collection will be complemented by a thorough educational program. Through this education and dialogue, Cascadia and Eco-Sense aim to influence policymakers and bring the building industry and the public’s attention to the ways that deep green buildings are achievable and affordable at the residential level.

Environmental Youth Alliance - Green Graffiti is a project to engage local citizens in the green building movement through the creation of green or living wall gardens. The Environmental Youth Alliance is partnering with BC Housing, UBC Green Skins Lab, and Streamline Enterprises to install living walls on four low-income residential buildings in communities across Vancouver. The project brings together residents and local youth volunteers to collaborate on the design, installations, and maintenance of the wall systems, which will include food plants, culinary herbs, and native species for wildlife with an additional “façade greening” to increase green wall surface area and resultantly, improve the environmental/aesthetic impacts. The four sites have been chosen based on lack of surrounding green space, need for community building, interest in food production and desire to improve energy efficiency. Volunteers will routinely monitor the walls’ performance using indicators such as wall temperature to assess potential energy savings and by extension, greenhouse gases.

Paramount to the success of the project is an educational and training campaign to convey the importance of green wall and green roof technologies in mitigating the effects of climate change and the urban heat island effect, improving stormwater management, and contributing a visual amenity that can provide food, wildlife habitat, and therapeutic value to high density urban areas where conventional tree and shrub planting is not feasible.

Tyee Solutions Society - The Green from the Ground Up project will bring together skilled professional journalists to research and write a nine-month series on the state of green building in BC, offering concrete and innovative ideas for "mainstreaming" sustainable building practices.

The reporting will include stories falling roughly into three categories: policy, regulation and financing; cutting through the greenwash; and best practice profiles. Most work will occur in Vancouver and Victoria, but travel to four other communities in BC will round out the regional scope of the articles.

The series will be published by the Society’s partner, (readership of 150,000 - 200,000 unique visitors/month), and also by other diverse media partners to ensure broad reach and readership. Tyee Solutions Society will also strategically distribute the research to individuals and organizations in a position to effect positive change.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation - Even if every new building were built with the latest in green technology, merely focusing on new construction would not make our communities models of sustainable design. The unaddressed issue is the accumulated stock of existing buildings. Of the 137,000 commercial and institutional buildings in Canada more than 50% were erected before 1970. Demolishing them to build new green buildings is not the environmentally sound course of action. Reusing, retrofitting, and recycling older buildings are more sustainable choices.

The Green Building Grant Program has awarded the Vancouver Heritage Foundation $12,000 to develop The Heritage & Sustainability Nexus. The program is an evening lecture and one-day symposium featuring guest speaker, Richard Moe, President of the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program will also present the CMHC NOW house, LEED for Existing Buildings, and 3 – 4 case studies demonstrating best practices in the rehabilitation of historic buildings using sustainable design principles.  The program is designed to inform planners, elected officials, building officials, design professionals, and the interested public. The legacy of the program is the dissemination of the latest information on energy efficient retrofits of older buildings, the capture and web posting of the learning sessions in podcasts, and the publishing of the case studies on the web.

Whistler Centre for Sustainability - The Resort Municipality of Whistler has undertaken an energy retrofit of its community centre and swimming pool, the Meadow Park Sports Centre, including a geoexchange system for the swimming pools and solar panels for domestic hot water heating. These retrofits will significantly reduce GHG emissions and energy use, and will achieve a significant return on investment. As the community centre is so well used by Whistler residents and visitors alike, there is a great educational opportunity for the Whistler Centre for Sustainability to provide informational materials to describe the retrofits, energy and cost savings, and to demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of solar panels. In addition, the Whistler Centre for Sustainability will develop and deliver a workshop targeted at local governments to demonstrate the business case for energy retrofits, and how such retrofits can help them meet their provincial commitments to reducing GHG emissions.