CEO Letter – March

Hello everyone,  

Planning for our annual conference is well underway and we are overwhelmed with the number and caliber of speakers lining up for this year’s annual conference! 

Introducing Keynote Speaker Bill Reed, Principle of Regenesis  

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker this year is Bill Reed of Regenesis Group. He’s not just any expert; with a background as a founder of LEED, Bill dives deep into how we can evolve from simply being “sustainable” to truly regenerative in our approach to design and community planning. His ideas challenge us to think beyond reducing harm to actively enhancing our ecosystems and communities. Reed’s work, centered around integrating human activities with living systems, pushes the envelope on what it means to design with nature, not just in it. Imagine buildings and communities designed to work like forests, supporting life and thriving on the principles of regeneration. That’s the future Bill envisions—one where our built environment nourishes the planet and us in return. Get ready to explore these transformative ideas with Bill at the conference. Read more about Bill in our conference speaker page 

More Homes, Built Better 

The Task Force for Housing and Climate has laid out an ambitious roadmap to tackle Canada’s housing crisis head-on, aiming to construct 5.8 million new, affordable, and environmentally friendly homes by 2030. Their strategy encourages denser living spaces, updates to building codes for better climate resilience, and the use of innovative construction materials like mass timber. Furthermore, they’re calling for financial incentives to support these green housing initiatives, emphasizing the importance of strategic building locations and construction methods to bolster housing affordability and climate readiness. We also welcome the report’s recommendations to support building homes to the Passive House standard and change codes to improve resilience through passive cooling techniques. 

However, there’s potential to amp up this plan by adopting a broader regenerative lens. While the push for low-carbon materials addresses part of the environmental impact, integrating comprehensive policies for reducing embodied carbon throughout the construction lifecycle could elevate the strategy (such as adopting the federal low-carbon concrete procurement standard as a start). The report could also be promoting phasing out new natural gas hookups and infrastructure and championing the adaptive reuse of existing structures and new builds. By embracing principles of the circular economy, the Task Force’s recommendations could not only address the immediate housing and climate challenges but also pave the way for a more sustainable and regenerative future in Canadian housing stock. 

More Green Homes, Less Wash 

In a recent letter, I engaged federal Commissioner Matthew Boswell about a topic close to our hearts: greenwashing in the building industry. It’s an issue that muddies the waters of sustainability, making it hard to see who’s really driving toward high-performance and who’s not. That’s why I emphasized how important it is for environmental claims to be supported by solid, scientific evidence, like the Passive House standard is. 

Greenwashing not only confuses consumers but also puts a damper on real progress toward our net-zero targets. Some existing building standards, while well-intentioned, fall short of delivering the promised low-carbon performance, largely due to methodologies that allow for the accumulation of points rather than based on verified performance. Our engagement with the Competition Bureau and other stakeholders aims to ensure transparency and substantiation in environmental claims. It’s about setting the bar high to ensure that when a building claims to be green, it truly is.