4 Ways ‘Going Green’ Can Benefit Your Condo Building

Lush, green rooftop patios, cleaner air and an eco-friendly community is every environmentally aware individual’s dream living situation. However, even those who value a lifestyle that benefits the environment more than harms it may not be fully familiar with the term LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Some renters or condo owners may currently be living in LEED-certified condominiums but aren’t fully cognizant of what that means. Property management companies are beginning to understand the benefits of eco-friendly housing and want their condo residents to understand what this means as well.

What is LEED?

Since building construction generates up to 35% of greenhouse gases and 35% of landfill wastes between the start of the project to demolition activities, making this process more eco-friendly was inevitable. That is why LEED, an internationally-recognized green building certification system, was developed by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) in order to monitor condo construction conditions and promote eco-friendly housing opportunities in Canada.

The program started in Canada in 2002 to redefine buildings and communities where Canadians live and work. In fact, schools, office buildings and even retail outlets across Toronto are working towards environmental-friendly buildings that are certified by LEED.

LEED, a volunteer-based program, acts as a third party to verify that a condominium or any building project meets the guidelines set by the CaGBC for environmentally-friendly living.

This results in condominium buildings achieving higher performance and sustainability every step of the building process through green design, construction, operation and maintenance. The rating system awards points for environmentally-beneficial living according to 5 criterias:

  • Sustainable Site Development
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Material Selection
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

Buildings are then recognized as LEED-certified, LEED-silver, LEED-gold or LEED-platinum in ascending order of overall performance based on the points they are granted after inspection.

In just 2015 alone, Toronto’s condo boom resulted in over 35,000 new residential units on the market. As a result of increasing awareness of eco-friendly housing, construction companies, property management companies and residents all support the increasing number of LEED-certified construction projects.

CaBGC, the non-profit that overlooks LEED, had 1,000 registered projects in 2012, of which one-third were projected in Ontario. While we understand the need for a rating system and a body to monitor eco-friendly living, what are the benefits of a LEED-certified condo?

1. LEED-certified condos are energy efficient:

Since 2005, projects that meet LEED Canada standards have resulted in energy savings of 1,600,321 eMWH. Just to put that in perspective, that is enough energy to power 54,307 homes in Canada for a year.

What this means for your condo building is that it’s built with energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints and finishes and low-emissivity argon filled windows. These condos feature individual suite controls that allow you to both monitor and limit energy usage, all switches and programmable thermostats and energy-efficient appliances.

2. LEED-certified condos mean that your condo building saves water:

22Condominiums utilize a good amount of water between residents and the upkeep of the building. While some condo residents may be careful about not wasting water, not everyone is aware of how much water they are using.

LEED’s certifications has resulted in saving 3.3 billion liters of water since 2005 in Canada alone. This is equivalent to 1,336 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

3. LEED condos mean a higher quality of life for residents:

According to  a Nielsen-Canada-wide survey regarding environmentally-friendly homes, 85% of respondents claimed if the homes were LEED-certified, it would play an important part in their buying decision. The same survey said that 82% would of respondents would be more likely to invest more money in a property if it was LEED-certified.

Why are condo-buyers or homemakers more interested in certified properties? It’s because these buildings mean a healthier life for residents. Residents who reside in eco-friendly condominiums buildings benefit from better indoor air quality, resulting from the use of less harmful paint jobs with low VOC paint.

It also means that building amenities include rooftop gardens or lush condominium patios as well as bicycle storage and carpooling options among residents to promote healthier activities outside of the home.

LEED buildings not only mean a healthier living environment for you, but they reduce energy and water bills by as much as 40%. This means savings for both residents and the condo building overall.

4. LEED-Certified Condos have a higher resale value:

According to a TD Economics Special Report conducted in May 2015, the simple fact that a building is LEED-certified increases the resale price of Toronto condo units by anywhere from 5% to 14%.

In today’s eco-friendly world, buyers may be willing to pay more to live in a ‘greener’ space if that is in accordance to their healthy lifestyle. LEED-certified buildings tend to employ the latest equipment, including improved boiler systems, HVAC equipment and individual energy monitoring systems for each unit. Since these efficiently engineered pieces of equipment lower maintenance and upkeep costs for both unit and property owner, it increases the demand for condo building developments to be eco-friendly.

Since the benefits of living in an eco-friendly condo are many, both for the environment and condo residents, property management companies are playing their part to help create awareness around eco-friendly living.

If you are interested in benefiting from the opportunity to implement eco-friendly changes to your condominium building, contact ICC® Property Management. Since the introduction of the concept, ICC® Property Management has gained experience working with LEED-certified buildings. With a focus on transparency and communication, we work with your condo board to determine which opportunities will work best for your building.

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