Dayle Laing

The ‘coolest shade of green’ is the sustainable choice. Dayle Laing is a Professional Speaker and Author who uses her experience and training as an educator, a designer and a LEED Accredited Professional to empower Conscious Consumers to make practical yet beautiful choices for sustainable living, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing their body, mind & spirit.

2010_conference_logoSeveral people have asked what I learned about LEED for Homes at the annual conference of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in Vancouver, in June, 2010. What are the latest green building standards in residential housing?

There were several excellent presentations made on this program that has just celebrated its first anniversary in Canada and boasts of more than 500 homes registered. Commercial projects have had a head-start in building green. Since homes use relatively less power, we might conclude that our little efforts do not matter much. According to Stats Canada, we have a population of 34 million, so the volume of homes is significant, as it is in every developed country in the world. As the cost of fossil fuels mount in the future, those positioned with these new home building technologies will be the ones smiling.

In Canada, there have been several green building programs available over the last 20 years: EnerGuide, Energy Star, R2000, Built Green, and LEED® for Homes.



Tyler Hermanson from 4Elements and Jordan MacDonald from ThermalWise presented “Steps on the Path toward Better Homes” by comparing and contrasting these 5 green building programs. The presenters reviewed their material first with each program to make sure their information was accurate.


EnerGuide, Energy Star and R2000 target energy efficiency solely. Built Green (originating in BC and Alberta) adds environmental impact to the program targets. LEED® Canada for Homes (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) further adds a comprehensive set of green targets.

building_blocks_250Each program has merit, and builders are encouraged to start with a basic program, become comfortable meeting the inspection standards, and grow their knowledge and use of green building techniques before they attempt certification with a comprehensive program. A comprehensive program has the advantage of offering more than a ‘pass-fail’ score and allows builders to go after targets appropriate to their climate and consumer demand.

There are builder mentoring programs springing up across the country and Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) is gathering data on the success of these programs. Their website is a wealth of research and articles.

for_sale_200Real Estate boards (specifically Pacific NW MLS and Calgary) are looking at the premiums that certified homes fetch, and ‘time listed until sale’ data. (I think we can expect to see many such comparisons in the future.) The presenters urged builders to request 3rd party certifications from their suppliers, educate their tradespeople on green construction techniques, and to try to keep their building systems “lean and simple”. (I liked the education focus, as I have had experience dealing with both very progressive tradespeople and those mired in the ‘old ways’ of construction. There is a huge opportunity to educate and to encourage workers to find innovative ways to streamline the process for building green.)

The most interesting aspect of the new LEED® Canada for Homes program is a provision for house size adjustment. Chris Higgins, from CaGBC LEED for Homes, presented the program forms in the seminar: “Little House, Big House – How the Home Size Adjustor helps larger homes reduce their footprint and rewards smaller homes”. 

Large homes can achieve LEED certification, but they require more points than do smaller homes. All conditioned spaces are counted, including basements. Large homes require more innovation and better use of the footprint they do occupy. 

In the next article, I will explore some of the amazing green strategies and innovations that the builders and designers presented at the conference. If you would like further information or wish to book an educational or motivational seminar for your group, please contact the office at              905-846-3221








LEED Canada for Homes

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I was shopping at Kohls in Florida and they made a public address announcement that the building was LEED certified.

Elaine Harris
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Elaine,<br /><br />There is much momentum for green building throughout North America. That is impressive that this store was using their 'green' status for marketing directly to customers as they shopped! Thanks for sharing this.<br /><br />Best...

Elaine,<br /><br />There is much momentum for green building throughout North America. That is impressive that this store was using their 'green' status for marketing directly to customers as they shopped! Thanks for sharing this.<br /><br />Best regards,<br />Dayle

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