April 27, 2006
Media Release

York Region approves sustainability standard for new buildings

Region to adopt LEED Silver as benchmark for future construction
NEWMARKET York Regional Council today approved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver as a minimum sustainable design and construction standard for new Regional facilities being built.  This new benchmark allows York Region to provide a positive example and commitment to the environment.
A LEED Silver standard will ensure that Regionally-owned facilities are designed, developed and operated to demonstrate leadership in sustainability for the benefit of the environment and the residents of York Region.  The new LEED Silver standard will be applicable to all new Regional facilities with floor area over 500 square metres (5,382 square feet).
LEED Silver designation is a component of the Sustainable Development Initiative for York Region approved by Regional Council in 2005, which set out a work plan with the objective of moving the Corporation toward a more sustainable Region.
"York Region has a framework to develop new facilities in a sustainable manner, and implementing LEED Silver will be an important element of future Regional buildings," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "York Region is committed to protecting the environment, contributing to the health of our communities and ensuring economic vitality that respects natural resources."
LEED is a management tool used for measuring sustainable building performance.  LEED certification is obtained through the Canada Green Building Council.  In order to meet a specific level of LEED certification, projects accumulate credits for specific categories of sustainability, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources and indoor environmental quality. 
"Sustainability efforts and environmental consideration starts at the planning stages and continues on through the project lifecycle," said Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Chair of the Region's Finance and Administration Committee.  "This benchmark means new buildings will not only have a lower impact on the environment but also save energy and operating costs which translates into savings for York Region."
Sustainable buildings carry a higher initial cost premium for design and construction based upon many factors, including the type of project, market maturity and when LEED is integrated in the planning process.
Based on current cost studies, it is estimated that construction of a LEED Silver building results in an incremental capital budget allowance of 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.  However, the benefits of this investment include lowered operating and maintenance costs, reduced energy and water consumption, a healthier and more productive workplace and a decrease in materials going to landfill sites.
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
Media Contact:  Tracy Atkins, Corporate Communications, York Region
          Phone:  (905) 830-4444, Ext. 1209 After-hours media queries: Pager (905) 830-3302
Email: tracy.atkins@york.ca

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