Why should we even bother to save the planet? It’s totally out of control that global warming is a problem right? WRONG. The climate is changing to the extreme, and the impacts on the planet could be substantial. Due to burning fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) and clearing forests we have increased the amount of carbon dioxide dramatically in the Earth’s atmosphere and the temperatures are rising! When we burn fossil fuels, we create two main kinds of pollution: greenhouse gases and smog-causing pollutants. Smog has been linked to many health problems, from respiratory diseases to cancer. In addition, warmer and drier weather also increases the likelihood of forest fires which release carbon dioxide.
Trees are important because they act as carbon sinks and extract carbon dioxide from the air.
There are so many ways that cities like Guelph can start to become more “Green” and eco-friendly. More cities should start to use green buildings! What exactly is a green building? Well, there are many definitions of what a green building is and what it does. Definitions may range from a building that is “not as bad” as the average building in terms of its impact on the environment or one that is “notably better” than the average building. A green building is one whose construction and lifetime of operation assure the healthiest possible environment while representing the most efficient and least disruptive use of land, water, energy and resources. While many green materials and technologies do cost more, it has been demonstrated that many green strategies and technologies actually cost the same and some even cost less than traditional “not-so-green” technologies. By blending the right mix of green technologies that cost less with green technologies that cost the same or slightly more, it is possible to have a very green building project that costs the same as a conventional one. Often the key to a cost effective green building and site design lies within the interrelationships and associated cost and performance trade-offs that exist between different building systems. I am so proud to say that my very own City Hall of Guelph is built to meet the LEED Silver Standard (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) set out by the Canada Green Building Council. Its use of local and eco-friendly building materials, efficient lighting, its green roof and its heating and cooling systems are just some of the ways to reduce the City’s use of water and energy and lower its environmental footprint. Compared to a typical office building, City Hall uses 30 – 40 per cent less water and energy.Bicycle storage and showers encourage City employees to walk or cycle to work, which can reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from cars driving to and from City Hall. City employees can exchange a parking pass for a transit pass. Taking transit to City Hall reduces traffic congestion, air pollution and fossil fuel consumption as Guelph Transit vehicles use biodiesel fuel. About half of City Hall’s roof is covered by a living, growing collection of plants.
The green roof provides excellent insulation and helps to keep the building warm during the winter and cool during the summer. The soil and plants absorb rain water and melted snow to reduce stormwater runoff and, like all plants, they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, which reduces air pollution. Typical carpets, glues and paints contain toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause air pollution and potential health problems. Using low-VOC materials protects the health of the people building and working in City Hall. At least 10% of the materials used to build City Hall came from local suppliers. Using local sources lowers the fuel needed to deliver supplies, and supports local businesses. TIO COAT flat roof is a great roof product for home owners who are looking for a new way to help improve the environment. TIOCOAT™ is a elastomeric coating of high-strength that gives the best achievable weather resistance and reflectivity. Specifically, flat roof is a tough white finish resists abrasion, biological growth, dirt and extreme weather conditions. Energy efficient buildings are a winning situation for both a company’s operating budget and the environment. While new construction properties can benefit from passive energy conservation techniques, such as building designs that maximize sunlight for heat and light or incorporate rooftop gardens for water management and insulation, existing buildings can conserve energy without compromising comfort or safety. 🙂