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_logoWhen does green building and designing stop being about merely saving energy, reducing our carbon footprint and start being about how comfortable we are and how few colds we catch?

vivian_loftness_cagbc_250The keynote speaker at the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) annual conference in Vancouver addressed these issues in her presentation, “Green Design for a Sustainable & Shared Quality of Life”. Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED AP, USGBC Board of Directors, Carnegie Mellon University Center for Building Performance & Diagnostics, is an internationally renowned researcher, author and educator with over 30 years experience in environmental design and sustainability.

As a LEED AP and member of the CaGBC, I had the pleasure of hearing Vivian speak about her research and have prepared this, my 4th article on the 2010 Vancouver conference. (If you missed the earlier articles, all are posted on my blog.) I found her research most valuable as I prepare and deliver interior design sustainability seminars.

We are not using energy for its highest and best purpose,

dayle_laing_suzanne_brown_fabrics101_350After explaining precisely what is toxic about our home and commercial textiles,

Dayle Laing proceeded to suggest positive alternatives for making safe and more environmentally friendly fabric choices to a group of Interior Designers. Her Fabrics 101 seminar was hosted in the showroom of Suzanne Brown & Associates, in the heart of Toronto's Designers Walk. Dayle based her textiles selection criteria on her extensive studying of the latest research in this area, her LEED AP, and her 2 decades of teaching and practice in this field.

Here are some comments from the designers who attended the event:

Very informative for a topic that has very little reliable information available.”

Jeffrey Douglas, Toronto, ON

This should be required information for anyone working in this industry. Great seminar.”

Brenda Lukacsy, Toronto, ON

Dayle's obvious passion for her research on environmentally improved products and how we as designers/decorators can help educate our own clients to make wise "Green" choices, shone through again.  The session was jam packed with extremely current and useful information about the industry that I previously was not aware of, despite my recent formal education in the field of interiors and my university degree in textile science. I think everyone in the field of design would really benefit from attending one or all of Dayle's seminars!" 

Janelle Withers, Toronto, ON

Your knowledge is fantastic and I really learnt so much. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom with us.”

Tamara Topornicki-Holdip, Toronto, ON

2010_conference_logoHow to build or renovate homes to be green, save energy and money and reduce our carbon footprint. This is my 3rd article on information presented at the annual conference of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in Vancouver, in June, 2010.

(Check this blog, if you missed the 1st two articles and want to catch up.)

Derek Hikson from Minto_Homes and Allan Dobie from Canada Mortgage and Housing, presented “Incorporating LEED for Homes in Sustainable Communities”.  CMHC is currently assisting 13 housing projects across Canada with their EQuilbrium™ Housing Initiative, which “offers builders and developers across the country a unique opportunity to stand out as market leaders by building healthier homes and sustainable communities”.

minto_house_250Derek said that Minto believes it has a corporate responsibility, that there is a market for green building and that they can make a profit. They offer homes at different levels of certification with different price points. Most interesting is their calculation that shows mortgage + utility costs per month with expected pay back time for each option. (This is one area consumers and designers often overlook, in my opinion: the total lifecycle operating cost for a purchase decision.)

envelope_150In the Minto projects, they claim the largest effect is achieved with a tight building envelope. They are orienting the homes and using overhanging roofs for solar gain, constructing double-studded walls with cellulose blown insulation totaling R-60, and using triple paned windows with low-E and argon fill. They focus on

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.



coast_mountain_expeditions_350Have you ever wondered what you would have to give up to live off the grid?

Are you willing to live without some of your daily pleasures? Does this have to be ‘all’ or ‘nothing’, and can technology solve it all, so we don’t have to choose?

Freshly returned from my 7th annual sea kayaking adventure with my two sisters, I am pondering our experience of staying at an off-grid lodge on Read Island near the coast of British Columbia.

Nestled at the top of Evans Bay, surrounded by rugged coastline and rich sea life, and located several kilometers from the nearest post office at Surge NarrowsCoast_Mountain_Expeditions consists of a main lodge, several guest cabins and a family home. We were hosted graciously by Ralph and Lannie Keller and their grown son Albert, celebrating 24 years of sharing their wilderness adventure lifestyle.

dayle_kayaking_350Albert and Ralph provided expert guiding and instruction for our daily kayak trips. Emphasizing safety skills, they refined our techniques to make the paddling experience more efficient and enjoyable. We were blessed with perfect weather (nearby Campbell River on Vancouver Island logs almost 5 feet of precipitation per year). Ralph commented “you don’t appreciate sunshine until you’ve gone camping in the rain”.

Almost immediately, the wildlife sightings began.

2010_conference_logoWhat is the latest in green buildings for the future?

What was the focus of the presentations made at the annual conference of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in Vancouver, June 2010?

I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 National Conference as a member of CaGBC and as a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Applied Professional). From my 30 pages of notes taken over 2½ days, here is a summary of the most interesting points made about the future for building green.

dayle_olympic_flame_250It was impressive to be in the company of 1300 motivated, passionate delegates. These people are not moaning that the sky is falling; they are making it their business to do something about it and make a difference with their actions. They are generously sharing what they have learned, making it easier for the next interior designer, architect, engineer, developer and contractor. There is a spirit of cooperation and mentorship that is gratifying and encourages me that each of us can make an important contribution as the momentum for green building and design increases.

vancouver_conference_ctr_250To kick off the theme, Performance Matters: the next generation of buildings and communities, the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, said that by 2020, 176 municipal BC governments will participate in the ‘Climate Action Charter’ resulting in new buildings being carbon neutral. 20% of all existing buildings will be retrofitted to be green. All rezoning must be done to LEED® certification standards. There will be 20,000 new green jobs created in Vancouver. The 2010 Winter Olympics showcased green building in the city, including the new LEED Platinum conference centre, which has a living roof the size of 15 hockey rinks. He cited the New York example where all buildings greater than 50,000 square feet must not only be renovated green but also show a payback within 5 years (including the LEED Platinum Bank of America building). The city of Vancouver

polar_bear_keeping_cool_250"Using something warm to keep cool -- isn’t this mutually exclusive?" 

Since windows are frequently cited as the weakest links in the home building envelope, focusing on strategies to minimize/maximize seasonal heat loss/gain make sense for thermal comfort and energy savings. As energy costs mount, this will be even more critical. Some government programs have recognized the importance of improving energy use by providing grants for window replacement.

Dayle applied her LEED AP knowledge when she prepared and delivered a Window seminar to design professional guests of Londén Inc. She shared scientific knowlege to help designers use conduction, convection and radiation window physics for wise selection of windows and decorative window products, such as Londén’s Warmer Window insulated shading material.

Dayle explained the benefits of well-fitted and caulked operable casement windows with fibreglass or wood frames, double glazing with low-e coating, or triple glazing, and argon gas fill to make the most of our windows. She discussed enhancing daylighting by choosing the appropriate sized window openings to minimize use of electricity for lighting and maximize enjoyment of green views. Decorating with window treatments was presented as both a creative and highly functional option for improving window performance.

green_window_150She spent hours compiling this alphabetical listing of sustainable window definitions which contains important terms for a good resource library.  One can look up the major certifications and logos found on window products to find out if they are independently third party certified, and what the ratings signify. This pdf download is available in the resources section of this website:

Environmental Green Resources

Dayle, thank you for an enjoyable, informative seminar.  You are extremely knowledgeable and a forerunner in the “Sustainable Living” movement.”

Mary Stanton, Toronto, ON

Other seminar participants made the following comments:

green_toilet_150You might wonder what is the ‘Coolest Shade of Green’ for toilets going into a LEED Platinum certified building.

Maybe you have had an experience similar to mine, when I was designing a bathroom for a client a decade ago, who proclaimed loudly that he must have a “big flush” toilet. He claimed the newer lower-flush toilets just didn’t perform well and he was not impressed with having to flush twice. We have come a long way in toilet-technology in the last 10 years and even more since Thomas Crapper applied for patents to improve water closets in mid 19th century Britain.

LEED_platinum_100Recently, I attended a seminar about the certification of Chapelview in Brampton, Canada. Martinway Contracting Ltd. is attempting 54 points, slating this to likely become the first LEED Platinum certified affordable housing project in the world. Green toilets are one of the products they considered to achieve this remarkable goal.

Are these familiar words to you?

Do you know how to apply them to your interiors to save money and make a meaningful contribution to lower the environmental footprint?

recycle_reuse_reduce_200“Reduce Reuse Recycle” was a popular refrain begun the 1970’s (which coincidently is the decorating style of the currently revived decade too). It is no accident that this mantra is commonly expressed in the circular form of the Mobius loop, consistent with the circular nature of ecology. 

At the November 1969 Stanford University “Conference on Man and His Environment: a View Toward Survival”, Barry Commoner said, “Because they are fundamentally circular processes and subject to numerous feedback effects, ecosystems exhibit nonlinear responses to changes in the intensity of any single factor.” [1] What simpler way is there than to choose basics that avoid complicated consequences?

While studying for my LEED AP exam, ...

dayle_carl_french_speers_road_broadloom_250Understanding that "knowledge is power", key interior design industry leaders attended Dayle’s 'Rugs 101' seminar at Speers Road Broadloom on February 4, 2010.

Proclaiming the session interesting and informative, they left the evening motivated to put more ‘green’ into their designs and sales.

Savvy interior designers, interior decorators, flooring sales reps and retailers gathered in the showroom to glean the practical advice on how to answer their clients’ demands for green rugs and carpeting. Carl French of Speers Road Broadloom sponsored the training of his staff and generously funded the attendance of 4 lucky local Sheridan College design students.

Dayle Laing, a LEED® AP, related the technical aspects of carpet fibres, construction, dyeing and finishing to the applicable LEED® credits, as she deftly handled questions and gave practical advice for handling design choices and spotting ‘greenwashing’ claims. She thoroughly explained the third party certifications pertaining to the carpeting industry.

'Coolest Shade of Green'

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