Waste Reduction Week and the Residential Building Industry
Built Green highlights long-time efforts of green builders and renovators
In recognition of Waste Reduction Week, Built Green Canada acknowledges the integral role waste management plays in environmental sustainability, as well as those builders who choose responsible waste reduction methods.
While Waste Reduction and Recycling Weeks in Canada began in the mid-1980s, the national Waste Reduction Week program began in 2001, spearheaded by the Recycling Council of Ontario. This campaign is aimed at education as well celebrating environmental efforts and encouraging further solutions.
In parallel, leaders in the residential building industry formed Built Green Canada shortly thereafter—a national, non-profit organization providing third-party certified sustainable building programs. These programs focus on seven critical areas of green building, taking a holistic approach that includes energy efficiency alongside key considerations like materials and methods, water conservation, and waste management.
In the residential building industry, waste management primarily refers to the handling of materials on the construction site: the Built Green programs encourage builders to reduce waste, reuse materials, and recycle or donate what’s left over. In addition, the programs encourage builders to think long-term and enable their customers to live more responsibly by including features like recycling and composting facilities. Choices don’t have to be complicated or expensive to make an impact.
“While energy performance is a dominant focus across the country to mitigate climate change, Built Green builders and supporting industry have championed a holistic approach to sustainability—as part of this, integrating waste reduction practices,” says Built Green Canada’s CEO Jenifer Christenson. “Campaigns like Waste Reduction Week, alongside ongoing industry leadership, are key to promoting awareness, and in turn, progressing uptake of these practices.”
Meanwhile, increasingly municipalities are asking that builders and developers sort their waste—and while initially this can be met with resistance, it is an environmental approach that can not only be straightforward, but also cost-effective.
Waste management services further help builders reduce the load, in terms of administration and supervision. These companies come onsite to recycle and redistribute materials, whether for recycling or donation, maximizing landfill diversion—and as a result, may reduce landfill fees for the builder. Built Green members can help: Sea to Sky Removal serves the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor, while 1st Choice® Construction Site Services Inc. services greater Edmonton.
Waste Reduction Week runs alongside the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s Renovation Month, intended to help educate consumers on what goes into a renovation and how to find a professional renovator. Fitting, as waste reduction is an important component of responsible renovations.
Built Green Canada’s renovation programs, both single family and high density, guide industry through an environmentally friendly approach. As part of this, points are earned for the reuse of building materials, including building walls, floors and roof structure—practices that result in high percentages of landfill diversion, and offer another way to save through reduced landfill fees and more efficient use of new materials.
Built Green Canada is a national, industry-driven, non-profit organization offering third-party certification programs for those interested in sustainable practices in the residential building sector: programs for Single Family, Single Family Renovations, High Density (including multi-storey, residential tower, and mixed-use), High Density Renovations, and Communities. Since its inception, builders have completed over 34,175 BUILT GREEN® certified homes in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario; including units in multi-storey projects, this total is over 38,169 (as at December 31, 2020).