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Posts Tagged ‘LEED Consulting in Toronto’

Heating and Cooling THE RIGHT WAY

Chillers and Heat pumps work on the same principles of vapour compression cycle. The chiller operates at 12/7 deg C(54/44 deg F as per ASHRAE standards) chilled water in /out temperature and heat pump operates at lower evaporating temperature depending on the ambient temperature and high condensing temperature required for winter heating.

The following different options are available for winter heating:

1. A reversible heat pump works as a chiller during summer conditions, which produces chilled water at 12/7 deg C ( 54/44 deg F as per ARI conditions) .During winter conditions the refrigerant flow direction is reversed ,the evaporator becomes condenser and rejects the heat inside conditioned space for heating. Waste heat source can be used to achieve the maximum efficiency of the heat pump. Different types of heat pumps like gas fired heat pump, geothermal heat pump are used.

 

2. Electric heaters which are placed inside conditioned space. A 1 KW space heater produces less than 1 KW of heat. The heat pump with 1KW of input power can produce as high as 4 KW of heat.

3. Steam /water Boiler with circulating pumps and indoor units/Air Handling units for heating. This option can become viable for large residential /commercial building where central boiler for heating is used.

Following is detailed comparison of electric heater/heat pump/boiler for winter heating:

Toronto Condo Boom!

Lots of talks are happening around regarding future of condo market in Canada especially in world-clasc cities such as Toronto. The Condo market in Toronto has seen a boom in last few years due to following factors:


• Single family homes are in short supply in downtown area hence the prices for the same are sky rocketing. People are looking for more economical options and condos have proved to be the obvious, and frankly only choice.
• The demography of Canada is changing at a fast rate, the age group between 20 to 44 years, which is target market for condos is growing at faster rate compared with other metros from developed countries.
• Toronto Condominiums are a safe-haven for foreign investment and a secure place to see their money appreciate over time.
• To provide the boost to this sector, Government has adopted a policy of lower interest rates.
• The Canadian Government is keen on preserving the green land. This has led to additional floors on existing condos. Essentially, in downtown Toronto, there is no such think as a Greenfield
• Investors looked at it as a high return investments compared to capital market. Investors could get high returns as rents are high and interest rates are low.


Emotions also play an important role in any type of market and some fractions of the media has been creating a sentiment that the condos market bubble in Toronto is going to burst. On the other hand developers are assuring good returns from Condo market. Many economists have predicted that an increase in interest rates will have a negative impact on growth of condo market. However this will all depend on how the overall economy of the region is performing. A large number of employees in Canada work for financial services, Business services, Life sciences, green technology sectors. There is no reason that these sectors will see big downslide in near future. The countries like United Sates are showing good signs of growth in GDP. The Ontario merchandise export to United States has increased by almost 7-8 % in year 2011/12.

In worst case scenario the sharp increase in interest rate will reduce the demand of condos and create more default payments due to increase in EMI. As the supply will exceed demand, the prices will fall. Even if banks want to liquidate the properties, they will not have buyers who can pay mortgage amount. Hence the banking system will suffer badly. The government can’t afford to let this to happen. It will either take corrective action by reducing interest rates or by providing financial aid to the sector.

 

Condos market may see temporary drop in prices but it is going to be an investor’s hot destination on long term basis. Personally, we would like to see a lower sloped rise in Condo prices, as this will be a much more sustainable market as opposed to the exponential-seeming trend of recent prices.

The Prius Effect and Building Dashboards

Hello Everyone,

 

i just want to start this post off by congratulating everyone who has passed the LEED GA thus far from the class. Great job everyone and don’t stop there!

Today I want to talk to you about something known as THE PRIUS EFFECT. This phenomena was actually introduced to me through LEED. For a little background on the prius effect we must go back to one of the first hybrid cars, the toyota prius. The Toyota Prius innovatively interacts with the driver to make one concious of your fuel consumption.

It is very simple, as the driver sees his/her fuel consumption ($$$ Leaving their pockets) they will try to drive in a way that reduces the consumption rate. This in turn reduces the amount of money that will be spent on gas.

This effect can be duplicated inside sustainable/energy-efficient LEED buildings. By utilizing something known as a building dashboard, the occupants can see their energy consumption and make note of how their activities can reduce that consumption as well as their energy bill.

It allows occupants to check their real time energy/water consumption and even Greenhouse Gas emissions or see the trend of those aforementioned items.

Feel free to check out an exemplary one here: http://buildingdashboard.com/clients/brower/

Building Dashboards can also lead to LEED Innovation in Design credits.

Cities As Gardens: Sustainable Urbanism & LEED’s Role – Part Four

Part Four: Benefits of Appropriate Neighbourhood Pattern & Design

The neighbourhood pattern and design credit category aims to improve the internal design of the neighbourhood, as opposed to smart linkage which tries to place the neighbourhood in an appropriate external context. It advocates diverse – in use and population – dense, and walkable streets. These measures increase the liveliness of the neighbourhood by keep more people on streets and out of their cars.

The three concepts of walkability, density and diversity are intrinsically linked. Increasing density will bring out an increase in the uses of the area which in turn will bring more people on the streets increasing walkability. Shorter, tree-line and well lit city blocks will also encourage walking as it provides a more local feel to the area. A variety of functions, ranging across the economic spectrum, will make sure people are on the streets throughout the day: cafes, banks and clinics in the morning, eateries and shops in the afternoon, and bars and restaurants at the night. Other facilities such as public transit, urban agriculture, community centres and schools will also increase the community health by increasing diversity in age and socio-economic groups. If majority of one’s uses are within the neighbourhood, people will utilize cars less for day to day activities. We will no longer have to drive for 20 minutes to access the bank, grocery store, clinic or restaurant if they are only a walk away.

 

A dense, walkable street in Barcelona, Spain.

 

People tend to attract towards cities due to crowds: may it be their economic or intellectual benefit. Keeping people within their neighbourhoods crowds the streets, making them safer and more enjoyable than empty ones. Crowds’s synergistic value in successful neighbourhoods provide overall positive emotions to the user of the space. By keeping people on the streets by taking them out of their cars, not only do more people enjoy the space but the environment benefits from reduced transport usage.

 

Cities As Gardens: Sustainable Urbanism & LEED’s Role – Part Three

Part Three: Smart Location & Linkage and its Benefits for Modern Cities

Smart Location is application of mere common sense but , observing current cities, it is a principle avoided at an alarming rate. Cities of our age are exemplars of sprawl-based dwellings. The dependence on cars – and its precursor, the chase for a big home and a backyard – have led to cities moving further and further outwards with complete disregard of the dimensions of space and the environment; for some, including me, this phenomenon borderlines the absurd.

Concerning site choice, Smart Location & Linkage entails both the preservation and restoration of the natural ecosystem and proximity to mass-transit networks to reduce dependence on cars. If sites, be it for neighbourhoods or buildings, are chosen according to these principles their footprint will be drastically reduced without a single brick laid. It is about appropriateness of our project and not blatant disregard of its context.

This image shows how certain sites are more favourble due to their proximity to mass-transit and distance from pure eco-systems

This image shows how certain sites, in Seattle, WA, are favourble due to                                                                                                        their proximity to mass-transit and distance from pure eco-systems.

I paint a bleak image for their do exist fantastic examples of Smart Location. Toronto does have a positive history, though it parallely develops outwards, in building along the Yonge subway line; this should be an encouraging sign for policy makers and developers to lobby for better public transit, it boosts other industries. To further reduce car dependance, Smart Location also calls for better bicycle infrastructure – such as bike racks, proximity to lanes, in-house showers and even public bicycle networks such as BIXI.

Map showing BIXI’s – Toronto’s public bike network – locations around Downtown.

Furthermore, it outlines the development of sites near areas that have a wide range of services to reduce commute times- similar to development proposed by New Urbanism and Jane Jacobs.

The second half of Smart Location outlines conserving sensitive ecosystems and managing them as to not hamper their processes. Brownfield development – on a previously used site – is highly encouraged. Designs are encourage to conserve  wetlands – which are highly sensitive – and to manage water. It is encouraged to postulate a long term plan to manage and restore sensitive ecosystems – including wildlife and agricultural land.

Overall Smart Location has shown economic benefits too. Environment-mindedness and proximity to public transit do encourage more users of that neighbourhood. It is an achievable goal – that will prevent many long term issues – that most new neighbourhoods should adopt.

Part Four: Benefits of Appropriate Neighbourhood Pattern & Design

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