Green Building

Less water, less waste, less energy: that's the goal of all new Regional buildings.

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®)
In April 2005, Regional Council approved a policy that all new Regional buildings larger than 500 square metres of occupied space would be constructed to the Silver level defined by the internationally accepted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standard.

This standard was adopted after building our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fleet Centre in 2004. Because of its innovative construction, it was certified as Ontario's first LEED® Gold building.

Some features of our EMS building:

  • consumes 60 per cent less energy than a conventional building built to code 
  • consumes 85 per cent less water 
  • recycle or reuse of 80 per cent of construction waste 
  • recycled or renewable materials made up 25 per cent of total construction materials 
  • bio-swales treat storm runoff
  • drought-resistant meadow grass mixture eliminates need for pesticides and requires cutting just twice a year

What is LEED?

The LEED® program is a green building rating system developed in the United States and adopted by the Canada Green Building Council. Six categories associated with facility design and construction have been assigned correlating levels of environmental benefits.

The table below lists the six categories and design measures that could be used in each:

Facility Design and Construction Measures in the LEED® Certification Program


 LEED Category


 Sustainable Sites

Minimum site disturbance, high density, proximity to transit, bicycle facilities, reduced light pollution, improved storm water quality, and redevelopment of brownfield site

Water Efficiency Utilization of low-flush and dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals, rainwater harvesting for non-potable water use such as toilets, and drought-resistant landscaping 

 Energy & Atmosphere

Use of high-energy-efficient building systems, CO2 monitoring, entropy heat recovery and renewable energy sources, and elimination of ozone-depleting substances. Often leading-edge technology is utilized

 Materials & Resources

Focus on use of renewable materials, recycled materials, non-toxic materials and locally produced or extracted materials, building durability, and recycling, reuse and reduction of construction waste going to landfill 

 Indoor Environmental Quality

Selection of materials that release few or no toxic compounds into the building, as well as other issues affecting overall indoor environment 

 Innovation and Design Process

Use of systems such as green cleaning, renewable energy, new materials and green roof 


LEED design measures

One of the above design measures introduced to the Region's LEED® projects is the use of cisterns.

Cisterns require significantly less energy than producing a litre of drinking water. To reduce consumption of drinking water, cisterns have been used for non-potable applications such as flushing toilets, making salt brine at a salt storage building, filling street sweepers, spraying a cellulose cover material at the landfill, and washing heavy vehicles.

Points accumulated for each project, with third-party validation, may result in a certified Silver, Gold or Platinum designation. For example, as a prerequisite, energy efficiency means a 25-per-cent energy savings over Canadian Building Code standards. Up to 10 points are available at incremental thresholds of energy savings.
Most Silver-level buildings have from 35 to 50 per cent energy savings. Most Gold-level buildings have energy savings ranging from 50 to 60 per cent.