Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada Endorses LEED

From Canadian Consulting Engineer October/November 2003 by Gary Bolton, P.Eng, Chair Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada Our magnificent planet has a finite amount of energy. Recent media coverage continues to raise concerns about global warming and receding icecaps. As engineers, we will continue to play a key strategic role in the development of sustainable, energy-efficient projects for the future. Clients are requiring, rightly so, “sustainable” and “green” buildings. While these terms are interpreted differently by each of us, focus and definition for the initiative are now being provided through the LEED Canada Building Rating System presently being developed across Canada by the Canada Green Building Council. I had the honour of attending the Council’s first board meeting at the end of July in Vancouver. Their membership development is strong, government support at all levels is growing, they have assembled a strong, diverse, national board, and initial cross-Canada training sessions were scheduled for this October. ACEC strongly recommends that our member organizations and firms consider participation in this worthwhile and timely initiative. Because of our diverse, and often severe climate, many of the recommended design, construction, operational and maintenance elements of the program have been addressed and incorporated into projects for many years. We now have the opportunity, and responsibility, to raise the bar for sustainable projects through innovative strategic planning with the entire design team early in a project’s life. While not all the LEED rating components carry a higher initial capital cost, we also have a duty as engineers (and taxpayers) to continue to promote to clients and funding agencies a decision-making process which is based on life-cycle costs; not just first capital costs. Some progress is being made in this regard, but we have a long way to go. The core of our business is problem solving, and the increasing need for more efficient, environmentally friendly projects will require all of us to develop the necessary skills (such as LEED) for delivering our engineering value to the client.
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