MEC's Green Building Systems
Green building is the way we mitigate environmental degradation by designing and operating our structures to use energy, water, and materials efficiently.
The demolition, construction, and day-to-day operation of buildings can be extremely wasteful. Approximately 8,000 pounds of waste are typically thrown into a landfill during the construction of a 2,000 square foot home. Building construction worldwide consumes 3 billion tonnes of raw materials annually. In addition, building operations are responsible for close to 30% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.
What MEC Is Doing
For over a decade we've been "greening" our buildings – making design and materials decisions based on environmental considerations. The Ottawa and Winnipeg stores were the first and second retail buildings in Canada to comply with Canada's C2000 Green Building Standard – a Natural Resources Canada program that acknowledges buildings that achieve a 50% reduction in energy consumption over conventional structures. With every new store we build or lease, we aim to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impacts.
The foundation of our green building program is based on four principles:
- Reduce – Avoid using unnecessary materials.
- Reuse – Incorporate existing materials.
- Recycle – Incorporate existing materials in new ways.
- Rethink – Look for new and better building solutions.
MEC's environmental design process is fairly simple: we look at each building element (from floor finishes to roofing materials) and ask ourselves the following questions:
- Can we do without it?
- Does it have less embodied energy (the energy required to manufacture and transport a product)?
- Does it have less embodied pollution (the quantity of pollutants created in the manufacture and transportation)?
- Is it more energy efficient?
- Is it locally manufactured (contributes to the local economy, and reduces embodied energy and pollution)?
- Does it have a longer life cycle (longer-lasting products reduce consumption)?
- Can it be recycled, and does it contain recycled content?
- Does it reduce the amount of waste destined for a landfill?
- Is the product a naturally occurring, renewable, and sustainable resource?
- Does it raise awareness of environmental issues?