In embracing the concept of sustainability through Whistler
2020, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has assembled information collected
from literally hundreds of sources into a single framework intended to guide
the municipality for the next 20 years. While the Whistler 2020 document is as
comprehensive as can be, the exercise of collecting all that information
revealed several gaps in the knowledge base — grey areas that the RMOW has
had to fill in to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability.
One of those areas is sustainable design for detached
residential building. While there is no shortage of green building standards
for large-scale buildings, finding information applicable to single-family
homes, duplexes, and other complexes was more difficult.
Given the number of large-scale housing projects slated for
the next few years — the Rainbow project, the athletes’ village, Fitzsimmons
Walk — the RMOW took matters into its own hands and initiated the Whistler
Whistler Green was developed by looking at the available
information, and meeting with local contractors to determine what was possible
for residential building in Whistler. Seven different areas of construction
were identified — Site and Landscape, Energy, Water, Indoor Environment,
Materials, Waste, Owner and Public Education — as well as a checklist for
architects and contractors. The goal is to reduce waste in construction, use
sustainable materials, and make homes more efficient. With hundreds of
additional dwelling units proposed for development or redevelopment in the next
5-10 years, the impact of Whistler Green could be significant.
The program will be brought to council in August, where
municipal staff will request permission to require all applicants for
residential development to complete the Whistler Green checklist. Initially,
compliance will be voluntary, but the municipality will research opportunities
for mandatory green building measures to be introduced in the years ahead.
Pique Newsmagazine caught up with municipal planner Guy
Patterson to talk about Whistler Green and how it can be used.
Pique: Where does Whistler Green currently stand, and when
will it be available to contractors and the public?
Guy Patterson: The
formal public review period has officially ended and we’re refining the program
based on feedback. We’ll provide it to council for formal endorsement in
August, and once it’s approved it will be available to anyone on the website
and at municipal hall.