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Architects call on federal government to get serious on the environment


January 23, 2007
by Canadian Architect

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has commented that while the Federal Government publicly issues announcements about funding energy efficiency with great fanfare, it quietly cuts programs.

As evidence, the RAIC points to the recent announcement on the Natural Resources Canada website indicating that all funding for the Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP) for New Buildings is now fully subscribed. The notice was posted January 21, 2007.

“A radical statement so early in the year. Even more stunning considering recent announcements,” said RAIC President Vivian Manasc, FRAIC. “Canada’s architects are disappointed. The built environment accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions. Considering that architects across Canada have between $40 to $50 billion worth of projects ‘on the Boards,’ and that buildings last for 50 to 100 years, the government’s lack of real commitment is appalling. We think it is time they got serious and raised rather than eliminated incentives to increasing energy efficiency.”

The RAIC is commited to reducing greenhouse gases and in November 2006 became part of the 2030 Challenge, a global initiative officially which calls for all new buildings and major renovations to reduce their fossil-fuel greenhouse gas-emitting energy consumption by 50 percent immediately, increasing this reduction to 60 percent in 2010, 70 percent in 2015, 80 percent in 2020, 90 percent in 2025, and finally, that all new buildings be carbon neutral by 2030.

“That would mean that by 2030, the construction and operation of buildings will no longer require the consumption of fossil fuel energy or emit greenhouse gases,” says Manasc.

Architects know that buildings can be designed to operate with far less energy than today’s average at little or no additional cost. This can be accomplished through proper siting, building form, glass properties and window location, material selection and by incorporating natural heating, cooling and ventilation and day-lighting strategies.

The RAIC is in good company, joining the American Institute of Architects, the US Green Building Council, the US Conference of Mayors, and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers in supporting this urgent mandate for a carbon-neutral built environment by 2030.



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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