Is there a need for LEED?

OBJ Staff
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Council debates necessity of obtaining green building status

The City of Ottawa is deferring its decision on whether to end the practice of certifying its buildings to a common environmental standard.

(File photo)

Because of delays in the approval process, the city's environment committee recently recommended scrapping the current municipal policy that required all newly constructed facilities of a certain size to be certified under the international environmental ratings system known as Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design, or LEED.

The motion, however, called on the city to continue to construct facilities "that meet the intent of the LEED criteria."

Several buildings have already been LEED certified, such as the headquarters for Ottawa paramedics on Don Reid Drive, just south of Walkley Road.

However several completed projects are still awaiting certification because the organization responsible for approval has “had trouble with meeting the quantity of projects,” according to a report from city staff.

These include the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans and 14 other buildings.

City council, however, was apparently unconvinced that the committee motion was the best way to deal with the problem and referred the issue back to city staff.



Mayor Jim Watson wants to address the litter on city streets that he believes, if left untouched, will keep visitors away from the nation’s capital.

Mr. Watson made the remarks about the “little things” such as cigarette butts, paper litter and old pop bottles that affect visitors’ perceptions as part of his annual “state of the city address” at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“When you visit a city, regardless of how much fun you had, people will always notice how clean a city is,” said a text of his speech provided by his staff. “Far too often our streets and sidewalks are strewn with litter.”

He wants to “substantially increase” the number of recycling bins on the city’s streets and create a new public awareness campaign about the issue in 2013.

His speech did not say how much the initiative would cost.



The province appears to have come through with funding for a new home for the Ottawa’s lead economic development organization.

Bob Chiarelli, member of provincial Parliament for the Ottawa area, has called a press conference at Invest Ottawa’s offices Thursday to discuss the proposal for an “innovation complex” at Bayview Yards.

Mr. Watson said this week he was optimistic the province would come through with $15 million for the project. The city needs the money to help make the proposal to renovate the former garage on Bayview Road east of downtown a reality.

Invest Ottawa wants the space so it can house start-up companies and researchers to connect with one another. It believes that will create better companies and ultimately lead to more jobs.

City council passed a motion at council Wednesday agreeing to support the proposal in principle.

Organizations: Shenkman Arts Centre

Geographic location: Ottawa, Walkley Road.However, Orleans Bayview Road

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Recent comments

  • David Landsberg
    January 25, 2013 - 05:41

    So the solution is to follow the LEED criteria, and save money and time by not certifying the product? Designing and building a LEED facility requires more design effort and rigor than conventional buildings. How about the design team? Should we pay a premium for these additional services? Or shall we likewise expect to pay conventional rates for fees yet expect a high performance product? And what of the LEED process itself? It is shocking how many owners (particularly institutions and governments) direct their professionals to follow the LEED criteria yet choose to deny the Canadian Green Building Council their own rightful participation and certification fees. Is this not theft or plagiarism? If we want the CGBC and LEED to evolve, streamline and improve - can we expect this happen when communities simply steal their intellectual property and refuse to support the process?

  • Don Anderson
    January 23, 2013 - 17:00

    You do not have your facts correct concerning the issue of the city staff recommendation on repealing the need for LEED certification of new City buildings. This recommendation from the city's Environment Committee drew enormous public resistance and a flood of letters to the Mayor's office. You have done your readers a disservice by not presenting the whole story.

    • Bob
      January 24, 2013 - 10:09

      The LEED issue is interesting. The key to these project is to build the buildings to a LEED standard and to manage them accordingly (BOMA BEST). The Certification is not required. Great idea City...will save money and follow a great program.