Saanich must raise green standards, councillor says

  • Mar. 1, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Saanich is raising its expectations.As sustainability features become standard when proposed residential and commercial buildings come to council for approval, one councillor is looking to ensure that all green options are considered.Coun. Dean Murdock wants staff to set environmental standards for developers so bargaining for green features doesn’t take place at the council table.“We’re moving to a point where there’s an expectation on council that you’re going to build to at least a gold or silver LEED standard,” he said. “Things have shifted quite dramatically in the last five years. There are so many different options (available) to achieve LEED or build green.” Those options include anything from the type of building material used to how the rooms are heated.“I’ve asked staff to look back to see: this is what we were looking for (five years ago), this is what we’re looking for now.”Murdock wants to take an inventory of what developers have already done – from the use of solar hot water to the integration of rain gardens – to give council more clout during sustainability discussions.“If someone comes to the mic and says: ‘That’s not functional’ or ‘It’s too expensive,’ we can point to examples and say: ‘This is where that was implemented. See how they made it work?’” Murdock acknowledges that building green can be achieved in a variety of ways and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. This way, however, council will be able to set the bar for, at the very least, basic requirements that will give some assurances before anything is