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LEED BUILDING « leadingleed.com
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I am Mathew!

I am a Certified CA and have nothing to do with green buildings, other than the fact that I work and live in one. So, perhaps I have the most to do with Green buildings!

In the past 5 years many new office towers have sprung up in the downtown core, however not on Bay Street itself, they have been built south of Front Street, and the core has now been stretched. All of these buildings have been built with LEED certification objectives in mind.

With the Bay Street buildings now aging past the 30-40 year old mark, they are becoming outdated , and tenants are realizing that these new buildings have a lot to offer including new modernizations such as LEED certifications. 10 Major Bay Street tenants left their bank towers in the past 5 years and moved to these new buildings in the southern core, and they said 2 major reasons were it was more economical, and the building’s LEED certification aligned with our company’s’ objectives in being more environmentally conscious.


Many owners on Bay Street saw this happening, and became concerned that they were losing tenants to these more up to date buildings. The owners of the RBC plaza decided to refurbish and update the massive office complex, which was over 30 years old. It was the first Bay Street bank tower to obtain LEED certification. Cadillac Fairview saw what was happening around them at the RBC Plaza and First Canadian Place, and decided they need to begin refurbishing their complex, the TD Center, in order to keep tenants. So they began a massive project to refurbish and retrofit all 6 buildings to obtain LEED certification. They started this project by replacing all of the windows with updated ones to better insulate the tower, in the oldest tower, over 45 years old. Next they plan to install a 22,000 square foot grass roof on top of the banking complex at the TD Center.

As you can see LEED certifications now speak loud to major corporations on Bay Street, and it is now playing a big role in the buildings they are deciding call their homes.

Revitalizing Toronto’s Regent Park Neighbourhood

Part 1: Introduction to the Urban Layout

Last weekend I went for a walk east along Dundas, before long I found myself deep in the Regent Park housing development. Although this area is undergoing some major structural improvements, there is still much stigma surrounding Toronto’s oldest and largest community housing project. From what I saw, through innovative design and construction there is a significant effort being put into reversing the degradation and negative atmosphere.

In 2006, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) initiated a $1 billion, 12-year plan to revitalize the 69-acre Regent Park neighbourhood. Originally built in the 1940s, the neighbourhood was planned after the ideals of the British ‘garden city’ urban model. Through which “modern” living conditions were established with low-rise units, meant to reduce the use of vehicular transportation by increasing the population density of a region. In this case, the density was successfully improved but the residents themselves suffered, and Regent Park subsequently became one of Toronto’s most infamous neighbourhoods.

The existing (Left) and proposed (Right) layouts for Regent Park.

Among many factors, the layout and organization of the neighbourhood can be partly to blame for failure of the original urban model. Many residents feel that they are separated from the rest of the city even though in reality they live close to the downtown core. In the adjacent graphic you see how the existing neighbourhood has very few bisecting roads. It is organized into North and South regions, which are only divided by Dundas East, acting as the major artery through the neighbourhood. The proposed plan is to open up the area, by building roads that go through these large North and South “superblocks”. Not only will this allocate more space for community green-space projects, it will also improve the livability of the region by reintegrating it with the surrounding city. Safety, which is currently a problem, will also be improved as the smaller blocks can be easily accessed and monitored from the surrounding streets.

Architectural rendition of the new layout for the Regent Park neighbourhood.

Next week, Part 2…

Discussing the LEED characteristics of the new buildings and systems being introduced to the Regent Park neighbourhood.

Frito-Lay’s going green with its distribution centres

LEED certification extends and applies to construction projects of different industries, one of which we will explore is manufacturing industry’s distribution centres.

On November 22, 2011, Frito-Lay, opened Hawaii’s first industrial “new construction” Gold site. Some notable features include the using of photovoltaics  to generate 10% of the facility’s electricity, using of light colored paved surfaces to reduce the heat island effect, high efficient LED lighting used in the parking lot, and parking on the roof to reduce the area taken by the site. In addition, materials were selected for recycle content, regionally manufactured and low levels of votile organic compounds. Also, low-maintenance native plants were incorporated into the landscaping design to promote sustainable growth of natural plants.

In additional to its Hawaii’s distribution centre, Frito-Lay also has another Gold Certified distribution centre in Rochester, New York, which opened back in 2005, similarly, it has also employed many LEED initiatives: Parking “fields” allow runoff to percolate through the ground as it is funneled into a below-grade storage basin; photovoltaic solar panels were integrated into the building envelope; Low and no off-gassing materials were used throughout the facility; Highly efficient mechanical systems and well insulated building envelope; and more than 50 per cent of the site was restored to green space.

Frito-Lay is no doubt one of the leader in industrial green building, and we hope LEED’s certification system will bring more sustainable industrial buildings to light in the future.

LEED SPOTLIGHT: Vancouver Convention Centre

On the waterfront, in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia, sits the Vancouver Convention Centre. Among its long, long list of awards and certifications, the centre has earned itself a platinum LEED rating.

In 2009, the Vancouver Convention Centre opened its West Building, which exhibited the finest in sustainable design. The building has the largest non-industrial living roof in North America, making it home to thousands of indigenous coastal plants and a wide-scale rainwater irrigation program. Heating and cooling in the building comes from a seawater treatment system, and along the shore sits an artificial reef providing prime habitats for a large number of underwater species.

As if the centre’s green design wasn’t enough, they make sure their actions are just as environmentally friendly. An average of 180,000 kilograms of waste is recycled annually, while canned goods and disposable dishes are conscientiously avoided. Only locally grown foods are used, and leftovers go straight o nearby charities.

Pushing past the constraints of traditional urban planning to create a sustainable and environmentally proficient space, the government of British Columbia has created the ultimate convention centre. A leader in green design, the Vancouver Convention Centre brings together nature, locality, and architecture in an exemplary way. No wonder it’s the first convention centre in the world to become LEED platinum certified.

For more details: http://www.vancouverconventioncentre.com/

The Empire State Building Goes LEED Platinum

Hello, My name is Edvard Bruun and I’m a new addition to the LeadingLEED blogging team. I’m a 2nd year University of Toronto Civil Engineering student, interested in sustainability and the urban environment.

The Empire State Building earning LEED Platinum certification marks an important landmark in the battle for urban sustainability. Since its completion in 1931, the 102-story tower has dominated the New York skyline, becoming an internationally recognized and admired structure. It seems fitting that a building that is so infused with ingenuity and originality should once again blaze a path for the rest of the world to follow.

The idea for this green retrofit, the largest in the United States to date, was born primarily from economic reasoning. Anthony Malkin, who supervises the Empire State Building Company, stated in an interview:

“Everything that we’re doing at the Empire State Building is about business and, bottom line, that’s the first and most important thing”

Although not inline with an environmentalist’s perspective, his plan still benefits both the economic and natural spheres of society. The energy budget of the building is reduced by $4.4 million annually, carbon emissions are cut by 105,000 tons over a 15-year period, and all this results in a project payback period of less than 3 years.


In my opinion, the importance of this news goes beyond the accomplishment of achieving LEED platinum standards. This event also marks a change in corporate sentiment regarding sustainability. Profitability and sustainability have often incorrectly been seen as opposite sides of the economic spectrum, you can have one or the other, but never both. Through Anthony Malkin’s vision, the Empire State Building now stands in defiance of this naivety. As the Empire State Building reaps the benefits from environmental and economic synergy, the rest of the world is poised to follow.

The Guardian website doesn’t allow video embeds, so instead I’ve linked a short video on the changes to the Empire State Building below:

Empire State Building Goes LEED Platinum

University of Toronto EXAM CENTER – LEED Gold

I am a student studying Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. Ironically, the building in which I dread the most, is the closest to my heart.

This green hell-ish concept was designed from an old warehouse. It makes sense, all you need in an exam center are large open spaces for desks and chairs with enough room to encourage discourage cheating.


1. Re-using the entire structure when possible is not only logical and cost-saving, but also contributes to LEED points (MRc `1.1 – Building Re-use – Maintain existing Walls, Floors and Roof)

2. Electricity Reduction through the use of:

  • maximum use of natural light
  • a sophisticated lighting control system
  • high-efficiency T5 lighting fixtures
  • LED task lighting at each workstation
  • energy star appliances, computer monitors, displays and photocopiers
  • automated building controls (Direct Digital Control)

3. High SRI Rooftop made out of lightweight Concrete, keeps the building well insulated and keeps the temperature down during the summer.

4. Rainwater is collected on the rooftop, held in a cistern and then used in the toilets to reduce water use by 62%

5. Standing Bike storage is used for space efficiency.

A Green Mosque?

Believe it or not, the Ground Zero Mosque is going LEED.

I can confidently say that the decision for this house of prayer to go green is the LEAST controversial part of this project. I do not need to get into the politics of the project, because I am sure you can figure it out, if haven’t been following the news. (LoL)

The Mosque and community centre, designed by SOMA Architects, will be the first LEED certified Mosque in the world upon completion. The project is aiming for LEED certification and utilizing day-lighting to reduce the energy demand of lighting a 13-storey complex.

The multi-use Faith centre will include a 500 seat auditorium, 9/11 memorial and a prayer centre to name a few attractions.




Check Out the first LEED Platinum Home designed by SB Architects located on a hillside in the SAN FRANCISCO BAY area. Like your favourite car named Betty, these guys named their house too, the contemporary Hillside House (not as spicy as Betty) The 3 Bedroom, 3.5 Bath 3000SF home is built using many rapidly-renewable woods and natural materials such as stone. The house is built into a hillside, giving it beautiful panoramic views.


for more information about the builders click here


Now that I have introduced you to LeadingLEED?
And an idea of what Sustainability is?
The concept of meeting our NEEDS, and the NEEDS of future generations


LEED is simply a point system, or a scorecard. The more energy efficient and “green” the building is, the more points it will earn. These points are earned through meeting credit requirements in LEED and there are 6 Categories in which to earn credits.

1. Sustainable Sites (SS)

Site Selection is the first step and arguably the most important part of the green building process. Its simple, the potential environmental effects of the project, depends on where you plan to build it. LEED awards the location you’ve chosen based on items ranging from proximity to PUBLIC Transit to bike storage and showers.

2. Water Efficiency (WE)

Water, like any other resource is finite. As the global population increases, so does the demand for water to be used in human and industrial processes. LEED awards the reduction of water used in toilets as well as the Re-use of GREY WATER.

3. Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

Most credits in ALL LEED categories are aimed to indirectly reduce the need for electricity. EA is the one category whose purpose is to directly reduce energy demand. The LEED rating system rewards buildings for reducing their energy demand, increasing their energy efficiency, monitoring energy use as well as investing in  Renewable energy sources.

4. Materials and Resources (MR)

MR deals with two items, reducing WASTE which is sent to landfills and Reducing the environmental impact of a building’s materials. LEED looks at how Materials are: Selected, Disposed and Reduced. Points are awarded for materials reuse, recyclying, renewable materials and maintaining a building already on the proposed site.

5. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

IEQ is a large section in LEED and addresses the environment INSIDE a building and how it affects the occupants inside. IEQ awards points for lighting, temperature, ventilation, indoor pollution and the amount of Daylight

6. Innovation in Design (ID)

This section of LEED awards points for inventive, sustainable and green building strategies which are beyond the scope of the LEED Rating System and not properly rewarded. There is a maximum of 6 points and having a LEED AP on the project is worth 1 POINT!