With eco-friendly construction completing the list of Alberta construction market trends in 2016 it’s no wonder commercial and industrial businesses are becoming more curious about LEED certification. The benefits of a positive LEED rating include (but are not exclusive to) energy conservation, enhanced tenant and/or employee satisfaction, and positive public relations.
For the purposes of commercial/industrial businesses embarking on an exciting new build, we have provided information on LEED certification as it applies to new construction projects (vs commercial interiors, etc.). Read further to learn more about how to receive a positive LEED rating for your new build in Alberta.
1. Meeting Minimum Program Requirements
As a commercial/industrial enterprise attempting to gain a strong LEED rating you need to know the Minimum Program Requirements (MPR). These include the following:
i. Must Comply with Environmental Laws – Your new construction project and all properties under its umbrella must adhere to pertinent federal, provincial (Alberta) and municipal (Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, etc.) environmental laws and regulations that apply to local builds. This requirement must be met from the exact date of your project registration or the beginning of the project’s schematic design (whichever comes first) through until project completion (i.e. receipt of certificate of occupancy, etc.).
ii. Must be a Complete, Permanent, Building or Space – Your new construction project must occur on existing land and be designed for, built on, and operated on a permanent location. Your LEED considered project cannot include mobile structures, equipment, or vehicles. If your project is designed to move at any point in its existence you will not be able to seek LEED certification for it.
iii. Must Use a Reasonable Site Boundary – Your new construction project boundary must include all bordering land associated with construction operations. This includes all land that may be disturbed in the undertaking of your build. This boundary cannot include land that is owned by another party (one not directly associated with the build) unless that land is essential to and supports the scope of construction for your build. In addition, gerrymandering (achieving favour by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency for the sole purpose of complying with conditions and/or credits.) of your project boundary is strictly prohibited.
iv. Must Comply with Minimum Floor Area Requirements – Your new construction project must be designed to come in at a minimum of 1,000 square feet (or 93 square meters) of gross floor area (GFA – the total floor area inside of your building envelope, including the external walls).
v. Must Comply with Minimum Occupancy Rates – Your new construction project must maintain one or more Full Time Equivalent (FTE) occupants. FTE is calculated as an annual average.
vi. Must Commit to Sharing Whole-building Energy and Water Usage Data
vii. Must Comply with a Minimum Building Area to Site Area Ratio – The gross floor area (GFA) of your new construction project must equal no less than 2% of the gross land area (GLA) within your commercial/industrial project boundary.
This MRP form must be completed and handed in with your LEED project submission.
2. Registering Under the New Construction Rating System
As an enterprise looking to build a new commercial or industrial development in Alberta, you fall under the LEED® Canada New Construction (NC) rating system. From there, you have two certification options open to you – to register your build with the Canadian Green Build Council (CaGBC) or the U.S. Green Build Council (USGBC). Under the latter the rating system is further segmented by industry. For example, if you are building a retail operation, your project will fall under the USGBC retail category, where the LEED credit structures and point weightings are better suited for your building type. However under the USGBC there is no reference to Canadian programs, standards or regulations nor are metric equivalents provided and thus more “homework” is required. Thankfully recent developments have allowed Canadian projects to make use of the newly instituted Canadian Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) program. The registration process for LEED certification begins here. How you choose to register will be an important decision and a local helping hand will be appreciated (keep reading).
3. Securing the Services of a Professional Local Builder is Essential
There is no question, achieving a LEED rating of Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum status is no clear cut task. For instance, your project may be better suited to fall under LEED® Canada for Core and Shell Development (CS) instead of LEED® Canada NC. CS projects are commonly office tenancies where the developer has zero control over the final interior set-ups of the occupant. Confusing? It doesn’t need to be. By securing the services of a local builder versed in the ways of green building and the law and regulations of local commercial/industrial construction you gain an ally in the entire LEED certification process.
Contact Apple Building Systems today to take the first step towards a LEED rating that makes sense for your business.