Kelly Watson is a Research Associate at the University of Manchester. She recently submitted her PhD thesis that investigated how to measure and disseminate the social value of buildings, using methodologies from the social impact sector. Her current post-doc research has developed a wellbeing valuation approach for the built environment, to promote understanding of the impact of design on the people that use it.
In conversations with new recruits, with potential clients, partners, press, we are often met with confused faces puzzled by our inability to limit SSG and our potential to one area of work, one sector, one job. In a description for UBC from a couple of years ago, Director Yuill Herbert charts our trajectory, why and how we do the work we do, why we compete on the threshold of constant change and innovation. All the while keeping our feet firmly on the ground in being held to account not only by our cooperative members but by the grassroots; the communities we work closely with and for. Meaningful change is nothing without their participation and education around the decisions that ultimately matter to them.
“Our task is to look at the world and see it whole”, EF Schumacher
“SSG was founded in 2001 on the basis that meaningful solutions to critical societal issues needed to overcome the silos and stovepipes that characterise scientific study, design professions and design practice- and we have applied the idea of whole systems to the areas in which we work- building, planning, strategy, research and policy. Our portfolio spans energy planning, water planning, green building, urban design, waste analysis, climate change mitigation and beyond to health planning, adaptation and transportation modelling. Our dedication to this approach is such that we have embedded collaboration in our organisational structure, incorporating as a workers co-operative. Read more
“We believe that the time is ripe for Canadian communities to become leaders in the implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable technologies, infrastructure and building design, but this leadership is highly dependent on local, provincial and federal governments facilitating further innovation.
We believe this can be achieved by advancing bold legislation, congruent and coherent policies, and incentives to share and expedite the uptake of leading-edge practices. There was also unanimous agreement on the capacity of communities to embrace this agenda if governments go boldly where none has gone before.
The action plan is organized around these six major themes essential for moving forward to a carbon neutral economy by 2050, desirable, doable and achievable if we start now.
There is one overarching critical imperative that must be addressed is to recognize the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities to the political future of this country and to resolve outstanding governance issues, fairly and as soon as possible.”
“We believe today more than ever we need bold leadership. Our guess is that the real leadership needs to come from Canadians from communities everywhere. Dig in, take responsibility, and demand action from your elected officials.”
(adapted from Synder)
Green Building audio tours have released our latest podcast that guides listeners through our project for community supported housing with Portland Hotel Society in Vancouver, BC. SSG Director Jeremy describes our contribution and sustainability of the 139 unit development for vulnerable people alongside Jeff West from Portland Hotel Society. Features include a rooftop garden, a high efficiency Airstack heating system, heat recovery units in the ventilation system, and a solar hot water array and 80% waste diversion rate during construction.
For the audio, please click here:
For images, please view here:
Prelude, a housing development we worked with to achieve LEED Silver Equivalency, has won the Multi Family Development Award by Canadian Home Builders Association.
Prelude City Homes is a unique mixed use development, one of the first to hit the market as part of the City of Vancouver’s innovative Cambie Corridor Plan. The 6.5-storey building consists of 4 strata commercial units and 52 strata residential units, two of which are free standing 3 bedroom laneway houses. Embodying the principles of urban densification, the project is located in the already established Oakridge neighbourhood, and within a few steps from schools, universities, parks, day care centres, community centres, a shopping centre, golf course, and the Canada Line Skystrain.
Sustainability Solutions Group was brought on to coordinate the achievement of LEED Silver Equivalency, and has encouraged the incorporation of such building features as: the use of groundwater for irrigation, the use of heat recovery ventilators, maximized daylighting, and LED lighting systems, to name a few.
Since 2008, SSG has been involved in sustainability consulting and LEED Certification for the socially-assisted housing project 188 East 1st Avenue. Listen in for ways SSG helped bring sustainability, efficiencies and wellbeing to this building and it’s residents.
The Canadian Green Building Council recently announced that the Sorella Women’s Housing project was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status. Sorella is a new 10-storey, mixed-use building in downtown Vancouver dedicated to housing women. At the corner of Abbott Street and Pender Street, near Vancouver’s Chinatown gates, the building replaces a vacant, derelict lot. The 108 unit building also has 4 ground floor commercial spaces that are occupied by restaurants and a barber shop. Read more
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named Vancouver Convention Centre West (VCCW) among its 2011 Top Ten Green Projects, announced last month. Sustainability Solutions Group, the sustainability and LEED consultant for VCCW, led the project to a LEED Platinum rating, the highest level of certification by the Canada Green Building Council. VCCW is the only Canadian building on AIA’s list and is the only LEED Platinum convention center in the world. Read more