Better Collaboration Leads to Greater Energy Efficiency in Buildings

sophie-vancouver-sun.pngA recent article in the Vancouver Sun highlights the fact that the City’s “strict energy and emissions requirements for all new large buildings is changing how building professions approach their jobs, and increasing the degree to which they collaborate in designing new tall buildings.”

Sophie Mercier, a building envelope specialist with Morrison Hershfield agrees, noting that the City of Vancouver has “awakened the professionals within the construction industry to what really needed to be done to improve the energy performance of buildings.”

The City’s Greenest City Action Plan lays out some tough new standards to help Vancouver become “the greenest city in the world”. It requires that all new large buildings meet energy reduction targets of 20 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020 and that they be “carbon neutral” by 2030, which will force a high degree of collaboration between architects, engineers and designers.

Sophie Mercier notes that although construction professionals have been working together for years, the City’s implementation of a document submittal process has forced a higher level of coordination amongst the different professionals working on a building project to increase awareness of how one aspect of the work impacts the others.

Mercier also expects that new, more stringent targets for energy efficiency will force those who build and market new buildings to recognize that the look of buildings may change. “We like to have big areas of glass on our buildings, yet glass is not the best thermal barrier. As we move toward more energy efficient buildings, all-glass buildings and exposed concrete buildings may become less desirable as we look to improve energy efficiency.”

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