Every building has a footprint. Every structure has an impact on the earth. In recent years, this has often been called an ‘ecological footprint.’ Rampant construction in the modern world — especially urban and suburban development— has largely proceeded without reference to the negative costs to the earth: the energy and resources taken first to build and then to run new buildings; the intense extraction and refining process for the raw materials; the complex hazardous chemical materials that go into making buildings taller or stronger or more attractive; the waste produced, the land used and natural habitats destroyed. The list could go on. Sustainable development is a way of thinking about how resources are used and how construction impacts both natural systems and human communities. There are different standards and certifications that have been developed to recognize environmentally conscious and sustainable building projects. These include LEED and Green Globes as well as others. We suggest that you consult with the Property Department and consider these the next time you renovate or build.
THE STEPS INVOLVED…
Familiarize yourself with the basic concepts and standards of green certification programs.
Consult an expert. When hiring an architect or contractor, look for certification qualifications and interests.
Consider the development’s cost to the earth at every step of the process.
The Salvation Army has taken seriously the call to consider more sustainable building practices, recognizing the ongoing challenge of stewarding physical, environmental and financial resources. Some recent building and renovation projects that are worth checking out are:
Gateway of Hope, Langley, BC
Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre, Winnipeg, MB
The Homestead, Toronto, ON
Return to Going Green Matrix
Click here to download a PDF of this matrix.