According to The Economist’s Global Liveability Survey 2016, Melbourne’s remains the world’s most livable city for the sixth year running, and judging by the hike in eco-friendly development projects, it could soon bring home the medal as the planet’s greenest metropolis as well. With the upgrade to solar power we’ve seen in the CBD (Central Business District) of late and the Melbourne Water’s pledge to a more sustainable and livable Melbourne encompassing a number of projects, we’re witnessing a rise of environmentally conscious developments that will change the face of Victoria’s capital for good, for the better, and for the greener, too. » Read more: Five Green Shades of Melbourne: Development Projects Changing Capital of Victoria
This past week I was fortunate to be able to attend the Green Building Fest, an annual event, hosted this year by Sustainable Buildings Canada and the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (IISBE). Watching the presentations was like being on an emotional roller coaster. When the various government officials presented (Glen Murray (minister of the Environment and Climate Change), Alex Woods (policy writer presenting Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan) and Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario), I felt depressed and hopeless based on their honest and somewhat depressing view of where we are headed. The news is not good.
I was uplifted, however, by the brilliant and well-prepared presentations from the extraordinarily talented people invited to speak to us about projects in which they are involved that are helping us adapt to climate change. The theme this year was resiliency — because we can no longer prevent climate change, it’s here, so we must prepare ourselves and our communities for the effects of extreme weather events. The presenters gave me hope that we will be able to adjust and adapt, although, make no mistake, it’s going to be messy and ugly and expensive in the beginning, but the cost of inaction is uglier, messier and even more expensive. We are at the point of no return. We need to act now and put ideas into action or future generations will pay dearly for our inaction. » Read more: Reflections on a Successful Green Building Festival 2016
Like many cities across North America, Montreal has problems with localized heat islands during the summer, raising the temperature significantly compared with its surroundings. This effect is due to the density of buildings and road network, and not enough green space to absorb the sun’s heat. In addition, with changing and somewhat unpredictable weather conditions due to climate change, an increasing number of cities are beginning to experiment with different forms of urban agriculture. One of the projects in Montreal is a partnership between the Montreal convention centre (le Palais des Congrès de Montréal), the department of urban agricultural research from the university of Quebec at Montreal (AU/LAB at UQAM), Miel Montreal, and La Ligne Verte. This is a true collaborative project to learn what is possible regarding growing food within the confines of a rooftop. The project aims to fulfill several objectives:
- Reduce heat island effect for the neighbouring area;
- Absorb stormwater;
- Produce plants and vegetables for a variety of uses;
- Preserve heirloom seeds from some rarer varieties of plants;
- Demonstrate Montreal’s efforts to become a resilient city in the face of changing weather patterns;
- Provide a “lab” like setting to develop new vertical farming techniques.
If you read this blog enough, you know by now, that I hate waste. I hate that we have to throw out perfectly good packaging items such as spray bottles, glass jars, and cardboard shoe boxes. I reuse as many as I can but at some point, there is a limit. So, when I stumbled on Splosh through the Ellen MacArthur website, I saw a company after my own heart. Splosh makes eco-friendly household cleaners and has thought of every facet to minimize waste production along the way. Once you are set up with your first cleaning kit — first order includes the bottles — you order your refills via a website. » Read more: Splosh – Eco-friendly Cleaning, Almost Zero Packaging Waste
This year’s green building fest is going to be an exciting one. The International Initiative for the Sustainable Built Environment will be co-hosting it with Sustainable Buildings Canada. This is a great event for anyone working in or interested in getting into the green building world. It’s going to be held on September 19-20, 2016, at the Eaton’s Centre Marriott.
I’ve been attending this conference on and off since 2007 when it was held up at the International Centre on Airport Road. The festival was a pretty small affair back then, and the instructors were still introducing LEED and associated factors such as LED lighting and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). We’ve come a long way since those days, and the topics are more sophisticated than ever. It’s great that facets of green building are going mainstream (such as the use of recycled materials, looking at VOC content, and an eye on energy efficiency), but there is so much more to learn, and policies that need to be developed/implemented for the built environment to help tackle climate change. » Read more: Green Building Festival in Toronto, September 19-20, 2016 – hosted by SBC and iiSBE