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Shades of Green:

Green Building Standards in Canada



There are several green building standards in use today in Canada, all taking slightly different approaches that reach the same goal of creating more efficient buildings.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) — LEED is the most international standard going these days with a standard that is advised and applied in 16 different countries. In Canada, the standard is maintained by the Canada Green Building Council.

A short list of LEED certified projects in Whistler includes the Whistler Public Library, the Whistler Athletes’ Centre, the Whistler Sliding Centre and the Spring Creek Fire Hall.

Buildings looking for LEED certification are evaluated and given a score to determine how that building will be rated — Certified, Certified Silver, Certified Golf or Certified Platinum.

Built Green Canada — Built Green is a third-party certification program created in Alberta in 2003 for homes that are resource-efficient, provide healthier indoor air, preserve natural resources and have improved durability. The program focuses mainly on residential properties, from single-family homes to higher density projects like townhouses.

The program differs from LEED in its focus on homes, as well as the fact that they’re taking a market approach rather than regulatory approach.

So far more than 15,000 homes have been certified, and Built Green points out that very few of those homes would have been built using the more rigorous, and sometimes more expensive, LEED program.

COMA BEST (OR GO GREEN) - This is a commercial building standard that was adopted in Canada from a British Standard, and approved by the Canadian Standards Association back in 1996. It’s been claimed that COMA BEST buildings use 11 per cent less energy and 18 per cent less water than the industry standard.

R-2000 - The R-2000 standard is a voluntary standard administrated by Natural Resources Canada. It’s been in use for over 25 years now, creating a constantly updated benchmark standard for energy efficiency and indoor health that shoehorns with other building standards and certification programs.

PASSIVHAUS - This is a European standard created to be simple, emphasizing non-mechanical processes like insulated walls and sealed doors and windows to reduce energy loss. There is something like 25,000 passive houses in Europe, but only a few in North America, including Whistler’s Lost Lake Passive House. That’s set to change with Durfeld Constructors — which assisted in building Lost Lake Passive House — applying what they learned in that project to additional projects, including a duplex at Rainbow. The company, branded BC Passive House, is has taken a site at the industrial park in Pemberton to pre-build passive houses for assembly elsewhere.


  1. Canada Green Building Council (LEED) — www.cagbc.org
  2. Built Green Canada — www.builtgreencanada.ca
  3. Green Building Advisor — www.greenbuildingadvisor.com
  4. Natural Resources Canada, Office of Energy Efficiency — http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/home