CSC Connections Cafe to explore “economics of sustainability” in March

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Gunter Lang joins expert panel discussion exploring the business logic behind sustainable construction

Ottawa Construction News staff writer

Gunter Lang, CEO at Lang Consulting and head of Passivhaus Austria will participate in the expert panel discussing the “Economics of Sustainability” at the annual Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) Ottawa Chapter’s Connections Cafe on March 11.

Lang will demonstrate how a big energy change makes sense. 

“According to the World Energy Outlook 2013 report, fossil fuels are subsidized annually worldwide by 438 billion euros ($618 billion Canadian),” he says. “Already half of these funds would be sufficient for a Global Energy Efficiency Master Plan, which could reduce the energy consumption for heating, cooling and dehumidification by 85 per cent worldwide at 44 billion sq. m. of floor space within 20 years.”

“This corresponds to approximately one-third of the world’s living space,” he said. “Rather than making a few energy companies even richer and more powerful, this way the world’s energy poverty and dependence on fossil fuels could be drastically reduced, the environment can be saved and the urgent need for climate protection goals could be reached.”

In addition, millions of additional green jobs and a global economic recovery would be created. The reduction of energy demand is the cheapest and largest energy source worldwide, Lang says.

Gunter Lang
Gunter Lang

“Existing buildings are responsible for about 40 per cent of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions worldwide,” says Lang. A thermally enhanced remediation with at least an 85 per cent increase in energy efficiency can be done in 90 per cent of all climatic regions. This includes energy consumption for heating, cooling and dehumidification.

Lang joins several other speakers exploring the economics behind sustainable construction practices, moderated by Jeanette Southwood, global sustainable cities leader and urban development and infrastructure leader from Golder Associates Ltd.

The evening, including dinner and networking opportunities at Algonquin College, will explore the challenge of sustainable construction, and provide the audience with an update on the trends as they relate to sustainability’s three pillars – “economics, society and the environment,” says event organizer Sonia Zouari, CSC Ottawa’s vice-chair.

The advertisement in Ottawa Construction News
The advertisement in Ottawa Construction News

“We’ll explore how landmark projects in the Ottawa area are meeting the present needs without compromising the future” and will explore “how creative energy solutions and innovative technology are contributing to a sustainable future,” she said.

In addition to Lang, other panelists include:

  • Passive House pioneer Malcolm Isaacs will examine ways in which incremental or additional costs can be defined for ultra-low-energy Passive House buildings, and how these costs typically compare against a variety of hard and soft benefits.
  • Adam Cronk, president of Green Giant Design+Build, will present the benefits of increased build efficiency, shorter site exposure time, quantifiable performance of envelopes as engineered systems and why much higher levels of employee training and retention are vital to these goals;

  • Architect Anthony Leaning will demonstrate how the social dimensions of design can assist sustainability through higher productivity, creativity, lower carbon lifestyle, and reducing social support costs in affordable housing;

  • Economist and financier Rob Conboy will present financing strategies and available incentives for sustainable projects; and

  • Nadine Gudz will share insights on how Mission Zero drives business strategy, engagement, design and sales along with lessons learned and what’s to be done.

The moderator, award-winning engineer Jeanette Southwood, leads the Canadian urban development and infrastructure sector and the global sustainable cities teams at Golder Associates.

Southwood is a Fellow of Engineers Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and has received the Ontario “Leading Women Building Communities Award.” She is also a University of Toronto lecturer, and was honoured as one of Canada’s Clean 50 for 2014.

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