Riding the Green Wave
The Star discusses the "green wave" in Canadian residential development, which I think is rather an overstatement, more like a green ripple, but nonetheless there is a visible shift among the big players in the industry. Designer Andrea Kantelberg (who did the Tridel eco-suite) says:
"(Green priorities) will absolutely soon be the norm because we can't carry on as a world without making some serious changes. That's not preachy, that's reality."
But buyers are not yet convinced, do not yet really understand, and are going to have to accept change."It's great to say in a focus group that you care about the environment," [Daniels Group VP Martin] Blake says. "But are you willing to give up your granite countertops (which have often been transported from Europe)?"
Blake agrees with Kantelberg about the importance of buying and building local. "No more imported Kentucky limestone; why don't we just go with what the local environment has," he says. "There has to be a recognition of the cost and the impact," he adds.
So is using granite for your countertops eco-friendly? "Forget about it," Kantelberg says. "People may perceive it as a natural product, but it is not a renewable product." ::The Star
Top five trends:
• More "free" power through the increased use of geothermal, solar and wind energy in new home construction
• Widespread use of paints, carpets and other building materials that are free of volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to as VOCs
• The use of more recycled or salvaged building materials such as glass, steel, aluminum, plastic and drywall
• More building products from rapidly renewable natural sources such as bamboo, jute, cork and sisal
• Products made or harvested using processes that use little energy or water, are free of pesticides ,and don't produce any emissions or other pollutants