But no longer. Today environmentally friendly and resource-efficient principles are part and parcel of most education and training offered by post-secondary institutions and professional and industry associations in Canada.
In most parts of the country, the supply of green building education and training is being met by demand.
“There’s a big demand in BC,” said Helen Goodland, principal of Brantwood Consulting and advisor to the BC Construction Association on innovation and sustainability. “That’s especially true in such major centres as Vancouver and Victoria.”
Jennie Moore, associate dean of building design and construction technology at the BC Institute of Technology, says there’s a general move to make green building an integral part of architecture and construction education.
“The school’s correct name is School of Construction and the Environment,” said Moore. “Its motto is ‘concerned with the natural environment, the built environment and the relationship between them’.”
Moore says most of the programs in the Building Design and Construction Technology portfolio address various aspects of green building design, sustainable materials choices and energy conservation as part of the core curriculum.
In some cases there are also stand-alone courses that are part of the credential.
“For example, the Architectural Science program not only embeds sustainability in its studio design courses, it also offers specific courses on sustainable design and wood design,” Moore said.
The school also collaborates with industry partners.
“Recently we worked with the Canadian Passive House Institute to offer Passive House trades training, to help building contractors construct homes effectively to the Passive House standard,” Moore said.
Passive House certifier, consultant and trainer Monte Paulsen, managing director of Red Door Energy Design Ltd in Vancouver, says a requirement to build to Passive House standards is “inevitable.”
“Most carbon comes from three main sources – transportation, industry and buildings,” Paulsen said. “Compared to the other two, carbon produced by buildings is relatively easy to regulate. It’s the low-hanging fruit for energy-efficiency. So training owners and builders in Passive House standards is essential.”
Passive House isn’t the only green building standard used in Canada. Others include LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), WELL and GRESB (Green Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark).
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is the license holder for LEED in Canada, and supports the other two standards in this country.
“The council has educated over 20,000 green professionals to answer the demand for knowledge and jobs the new green marketplace created,” said Mark Hutchinson, vice-president of CaGBC’s Green Building Programs.
The council has developed a variety of educational programs that are delivered as public and private workshops, online courses, webinars and courses at more than 20 post-secondary institutions.
Beginning in 2016, CaGBC will offer Green Professional Skills Training (GPRO) courses across Canada.
GPRO is a comprehensive national training and certificate program that teaches the principles of sustainability and trade-specific green construction knowledge to people who build, renovate and maintain buildings.
The brand new Master of Engineering, Integrated Wood Design program at the University of Northern BC combines “no-nonsense, science-based sustainability” with modern timber design and building physics, says program chairman and associate professor Guido Wimmers.
“Essentially, we’re preparing young engineers for the challenges they’ll face over the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.
The first cohort of four students began in January 2016.
“We expect it will take another three years for us to reach our maximum intake of 20 students,” said Wimmers.
The program covers 16 courses in three semesters over 12 consecutive months. Classes take place in the Wood Innovation Design Centre, which is built to LEED Gold standards and whose designer, Michael Green Architecture, won a 2015 award of excellence from RAIC Architecture Canada.
Most green building education and training is delivered the traditional way in classrooms. But this method of delivery misses many students, especially those who already have jobs.
For them, the RAIC (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University offers online, and only online, courses.
Like the Integrated Wood Design Master of Engineering program, the centre is new, founded in 2014.
“We’re the second-largest architectural program in Canada, with more than 500 students,” said Douglas MacLeod, chairman of the centre. “All of our courses address sustainability, energy efficiency and sustainable design.”
Students collaborate in design projects by means of social media. In the fall, students from Alberta, Mexico, Wales and South Africa will meet online in the Sustainable Building Science Workshop.
Source: Journal of Commerce