Sustainable Ottawa construction: “Beacon” projects demonstrate successful environmental and energy-savings initiatives

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What makes a “Beacon Sustainable Project?”

Panelists at a Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) Ottawa chapter gathering on Nov. 4 explored the challenges and opportunities in reaching to the highest level of environmental sustainability.

Jonathan Westeinde, founder and managing partner of Windmill Developments, which is developing the Chaudiere islands Zibi project, said the challenge is to create an appealing, collaborative environment on land where five levels of government have an interest.

Principles include:

  • To promote development that celebrates the long heritage of the lands;
  • To make the development connect seamlessly with the surrounding community and broader capital region;
  • To promote healthy living;
  • To promote and provide access to a vibrant waterfront;
  • To create a complete community with a broad range of uses;
  • To promote and incubate innovation and creativity; and
  • To create and enhance views, both to and from the islands.

He said, within the framework of the Barry Hobin designed master plan, there will be diversity in design through international design competitions for the different blocks within the site. However, all the designs will be based on carbon neutrality.

at csc event
From left: Salus executive director Lisa Ker, CSC Ottawa chapter chair Sonia Zouari, Ottawa Coun. David Chirnechenko and Windmill Developments founder Jonathan Westeinde.

Ottawa Salus Corp. executive director Lisa Ker outlined the progress in constructing Salus House, the first social housing project in the region built to Passive House sustainability standards. With new materials and different construction requirements, building costs are higher – but “no one is gouging us” – and Salus expects to recoup the modest additional initial investment through much lower energy and operating costs than a conventional building.

She said the project to provide housing for individuals with mental health challenges needs to combine sustainability, affordability, comfort and versatility. “We operate clean affordable, affordable suitable buildings if we want people to integrate into society, our buildings need to integrate society.

“The building must not stand out – except for its attractiveness,” she said.

Ottawa Coun. David Chirnechenko says the city should aim to be a Renewable Energy Powered City, achieving 100 per cent renewable energy status by 2050 as the city joins the world in tackling climate change challenges

“It’s a rallying cry around the world,” that leadership in environmental sustainability and climate change is happening at the municipal level.

Renee Gratton, founding director of the Construction Resource Initiatives Council (CRIC), moderated the event at Algonquin College, which occurred through the initiative of CSC Ottawa chapter chair Sonia Zouari.

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