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Letters to the Editor Issue 24

Re: Re: Green Student Centre

In regards to the response that was kindly written back to me last week, I do need to clarify some essential details which I did not properly elucidate in last week’s article.

A site beside the river is roughly chosen; however, what is open to variation is the extent to which the building will take up the parking lot or the forest.

I strongly agree with you though. As an accessible greenspace feature that is green all year long and which is the only forest in the central campus, our forest is indeed something that should be kept.

Another excellent point you bring up is the choice of the construction company. In the construction of green buildings, choosing a company that 1) has experience in building green buildings and 2) has a green ethos is more crucial to the success of a green building than one might otherwise think.

Campus Sustainability coordinator Shelley Strain noted, “Using a construction company which has had experience in green construction is essential because it can ensure compliance with the necessary green standards for construction and a familiarity with non-conventional material sourcing and installation.

In the end, this brings significant cost savings, so if we plan to build green, it is really important that we have a construction company that knows how to do so.”

However, as important as ensuring that the construction and physical materials used in the project are sustainable, what we must remember that LEED is a comparative system; in other words, it only compares the building to what it would have otherwise been given the same overall structure or design.

Thus, an extremely inefficient design could be LEED certified if it saves 20 percent of the energy it would have otherwise used.

What must be considered in all of this is how efficient the design is to begin with. As great as the LEED framework can be, it will not guarantee a building’s sustainability if it wasn’t designed to be sustainable to begin with.

-Nick Weissflog

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