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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ExxonMobil and Climate Change

According to Agence France Press, 29 January 2004, a recently released report claims that ExxonMobil is responsible for about 5% of global greenhouse gas emmissions. The report claims that ExxonMobil’s oil and gas products have released 20.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since the company began as Standard Oil in 1882, which is equivalent to between 4.7 and 5.3 percent of the world total of man-made carbon dioxide. The report goes on to say that the company’s biggest years for emissions have been since 1996, when the UN’s top scientific panel on climate change found unmistakable evidence of man-made involvement in global warming. The studies for the report were carried out on behalf of Friends of the Earth International by Richard Heede of Climate Mitigation Services, Colorado, and by Jim Salinger and Greg Bodeker of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand. Click on the link below to view the report in pdf format, or follow the weblink.
weblink: Friends of the Earth ExxonMobile Pagedocument: ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Footprintin detail XlnkS643

Well-being and APEGBC Policy

The Sutainability committee has proposed the following statement to include in APEGBC sustainability policy: “The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. is committed to engineering practice that is specifically aimed at contributing positively and simultaneously to human and ecosystem wellbeing over the long term” This concept developed by Tony Hodge is explored in more detail in the attached PDF.
from: Anthony Hodge Consultants Inc.document: Well Being & Sustainabilityin detailsee also: Well-Being, sustainability, and engineering XlnkS5D2 XlnkC184C

Social Marketing

Sustainable social marketing is the application of commercial marketing techniques to programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences in order to improve their personal well-being and that of the ecosystem.
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Re-Inventing Urban Hydrology

Re-Inventing Urban Hydrology- Going Back to Basics to Develop New Tools By Kim A. Stephens PEng, KSA Consultants LTD, and Thomas N. Debo PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology From the introduction: “British Columbia is leading the way in North America in developing and implementing innovative approaches, criteria and tools for reducing stormwater runoff volumes at the source, where rain falls. Through Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, science-based performance targets have been established for designing individual sites and entire neighbourhoods to function hydrologically as though they are still naturally forested. Getting to this point has involved the re-thinking of traditional approaches to urban hydrology and computer modelling.” Click on the link below to learn more about this volume based approach and the development of the Water Balance Model.
document: Reinventing Urban Hydrologyin detailsee also: Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for BC XlnkS586

Complex

Indicates a set of things or ideas that resists to an immediate understanding. Synonym of complicated in a more forceful sense. Everything around us is complex. Nature is extremely complex and likely beyond our comprehension. Universe is complex and has resisted to any unified theory to date. Our economical, technical and social systems are also becoming increasingly complex. One factor that increases complexity in our live is the relentless march of technology, which is itself driven by social factors or the ferocious competition of modern society. Taken individually new devices seem reasonable and helpful: airplanes, cars, e mail system allow us to communicate or move faster. Taken together, and used by everybody in our society, these devices make our lives more complex and difficult. …Or can be used to unforeseen purposes, such as weapons or hate propaganda. Increased complexity arises when discrete elements combine to produce unanticipated effects. One of the challenge of sustainable engineering is to design devices and technical elements that can be used by all, in great quantities, in harmonious combination with everything else, without any side effect and with minimal impact on the environment or the society. A very complex task, indeed.
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The Doubter’s Companion. A Dictionary of Agressive Common Sense

A very lucid book, a dictionary attempting to redefine the meaning of everyday’s words, a practical manual for change, a criticism of today’s folly, a pie in the face of conventional wisdom. A very profound reflexion on our society coming from John Ralston Saul, a great Canadian philosopher, writer, and husband of Canada’s Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Standfort Encyclopedia Philosophy was designed from its inception (September 1995) as a dynamic reference work. In a dynamic reference work, each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. All entries and updates are refereed by the members of a distinguished Editorial Board before they are made public. It is a work in progress but worth while a visit.
weblink: Standford Philosophy sitefrom: Stanford Universityin detailsee also: Philosophy XlnkS533 XlnkC1873