Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Greenbacks for green

I suspect the foundation is being laid for a cost overrun on the new art gallery. In today's SP (Nov. 16/11) project manager Sandy Schultz says under the current budget the "green roof" is in but as they work through the design details some items may have to be re-looked.

I can image that this "green" council will bypass the opportunity for the roof so I'm guessing that cost overrun number one is in the making.

The big shocker was the comment that the gallery team will present the design and and update on the costs in January. I thought the design was already established and the cost fixed at $84 million, parking included.

I feel foolish for thinking that just maybe this one time the city would work within a budget.

21 comments:

  1. Everything needs to be LEED certified now, regardless of cost and regardless of practicality.

    This council is killing us. I just hope we can clean out the entire lot before they do too much more damage.

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  2. Not sure if they are using the right wording or not but a "Green" roof isn't exactly "LEED" certified. They are two different things.

    I believe what they are looking at is providing a roof structure that would enable vegetation to grow. Thus making it useful for more than just keeping the elements out.

    Now if we are talking about being LEED certified that is a whole different ball field. This certification is just a scam perpetuated by companies that want to extort additional money from owners. Just like those compact florescent bulbs that cost 20-30times more and were suppose to last 7yrs. (anyone have one because I have replaced mine many times over the last couple of years) We are tricked into thinking the energy expended and additional cost will be beneficial in the long run. It is fine if it is your own money and want to spend it but when we are talking about public money I believe the powers that be have a duty to bring in these projects at reasonable costs. BTW LEED doesn't automatically mean less day to day expense.

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  3. "anyone have one because I have replaced mine many times over the last couple of years"

    Maybe you should stop buying your bulbs at Dollarama. I changed over in 2003 and only had a handful of replacements required since.

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  4. Perhaps you should provide some evidence that LEED design is "a scam", comparing it to CFL bulbs isn't proof.

    LEED design and other similar systems that take a long-term view of the energy consumption and environmental health of a building have been well documented to both save money in the long-run as well as provide a better environment for people living/working in them. Is there some upfront costs - yes - is that cost recovered over the building lifespan - yes.

    I'd suggest reading the reports on FireHall #8 and the Access Transit buildings that were made public this week by the City as a good starting point.

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  5. "Just like those compact florescent bulbs that cost 20-30times more and were suppose to last 7yrs."


    My house is full of CFL's. About half were installed when we moved in 6 years ago. The rest we brought with us from the previous house.

    The shortest lifespan on a CFL I have had is 6 years. The longest was just over 13. I just replaced one a few months ago. According to the date on the bulb base (I note when I install), the one replaced has been in use since Dec 1999.


    Last time I bought bulbs I picked up a 9-pack at home depot for $12. Incandesants would have cost me at least $7. The CFL's will pay for themselves many times over. Since it will likely be a few years before I use up this 9-pack, I suspect that they will be the last CFL's I buy. Next time I'll probably get LED's.

    Don't buy crap bulbs.

    The only incandesant I have is on my front porch, and it has to be replaced twice a year. And I hardly ever use it.


    "when we are talking about public money I believe the powers that be have a duty to bring in these projects at reasonable costs"


    Shouldn't that "reasonable cost" include the operational cost over the life of the building?


    Is "saving" $100,000 on the cost to build but using $20,000/year more in energy really cost effective?

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  6. I thought all CFL's were made the same you mean there are different qualities. Go figure. Oh and what does the average person do with that mercury induced bulb? Throw it into the trash. Now that's green for you. Oh did I miss the CFL recycling depot discussion.


    To Anon 11:59
    "Is "saving" $100,000 on the cost to build but using $20,000/year more in energy really cost effective? "
    In my eyes it is if your borrowing the money and the interest on the additional millions (not Thousands) costs you 100's of thousands in repayment. Everything has to be taken into account even the fact that these new systems require additional training $$$ meaning a more costly work force $$$ and repair costs$$$. If the city really wants to save us some money why haven't any of their buildings gone geothermal??

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  7. So you are saying that geothermal IS cost effective, but other forms of energy efficiency is not?


    There is no excuse for putting a CFL bulb in the garbage. We have ample access to hazardous waste disposal days, and many retailers have CFL disposal bins in their stores.

    The person (like you) who is too lazy to dispose of a CFL properly isn't likely to buy one in the first place. They would also be too busy dumping their used oil & engine coolant down the storm drain. You probably throw your dead batteries in the trash too.

    Besides, CFL's have a miniscule amount of mercury in them. Far, far less than the mercury that is put into the atmosphere by the amount of coal you have to burn to generate the additional electricity you need if you are using incandescents.

    How many people in the province still have a thermostat in their house with mercury in it? Plenty. An those things have about 600 times as much mercury as a CFL.

    And what new systems require a more costly workforce? I'm sure the journeyman plumbers the city already has are perfectly capable of maintaining high-efficiency boilers etc.


    How many homeowners in the province have installed high efficiency furnaces in their houses by borrowing to pay for that capital cost?

    Are they paying interest? Yep. Are they going to recoup that investment over time in reduced NG & elec costs? Yep.

    What's wrong with that? Why shouldn't the City do the same?

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  8. Anon 2:48,

    I am one who has begun the conversion to CFL bulbs and I can speak from the VAST MAJORITY of residents when I say just shut up.

    Many people are continually educating themselves on improving their living space to become more eco friendly. Whether it is out of cost benefit or for environmental reasons, people are doing it. We are getting better and will continue to get better.

    It is people of your ilk who are making the transition lengthier and more difficult. Your attitude that: "the person who is too lazy to dispose of a CFL properly isn't likely to buy one in the first place" and that "they would also be too busy dumping their used oil & engine coolant down the storm drain" are insulting and divisive.

    I don't dump oil and engine coolant down the storm drain, nor does anyone I know in my family or friends. Do all those people use CFL bulbs? No. Do they all dispose of batteries properly? No.

    It's not out of laziness, it is more that people take time to educate and change their habits (my wife for example had no idea about batteries until this past summer when my CHILD caught her putting them in garbage. For the record my wife, who was throwing batteries away is also not the type of person who ignorantly dumps hazardous chemicals into storm drains). It takes time and things are moving in proper direction.

    People like you calling down on anyone who doesn't share your exact views or that hasn't fully educated themselves only creates further division.

    In your eyes you are clearly the best human on the planet and saving the earth every single day. Way to go. Now just go sit in your dimly lit corner and smugly smile to yourself about how 'green' you are compared to the rest of us and continue envisioning rationale people that don't hold you beliefs to be irresponsible and evil people as you seem to.

    Society is moving in the right direction, idiots like Anon 2:48 aren't helping the cause.

    As for city, it's a catch 22. Spend more now or spend marginally more over time. I personally wouldn't pay an extra $10k for a hybrid car that may save me a portion of that over time. Investing in current technology blindly is never a good thing, the high-efficiency boilers today may be the condemned boilers in 10 years when the newer and greener technology is out. I'm all for the city evaluating alternatives and if it makes sense proceeding with a costlier or better option. Just because something is green today, doesn't mean that it will be green tomorrow. The eco-movement's challenge will be to replace today's products with reasonable alternatives in terms of performance and cost.

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  9. Hmm... still no evidence to the contrary provided about LEED requirements being a scam.

    All that's been put forth is conjecture and speculative hot air.

    Good luck getting those arguments out the door beyond back-booth debates at Robin's Donuts.

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  10. Gotta love the elitist environuts. Talking down to everyone because they aren't as enlightened as them.

    Arrogance.

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  11. Gotta love the elitist ignoramuses. Talking down to everyone because everyone expects some facts to be put forward instead of just believing whatever baseless accusations they spew.

    Arrogance.

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  12. To the person demanding evidence LEED is a scam. Please post evidence that supports LEED certification on public buildings is a wise investment.

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  13. "Please post evidence that supports LEED certification on public buildings is a wise investment."

    Sean Shaw already pointed to two reports.

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  14. Anon 12:55,

    Those reports hardly touch on the subject of balancing financing of the facility with the benefits of LEED. They are basically rationalizations for doing LEED.

    Show me something independent please

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  15. Sheesh...

    How's this for a start:
    "The financial benefits for green design are between $50 and $70 per square foot in a LEED building"
    http://tinyurl.com/d4qxyb9

    "Positive consensus is almost universal on the environmental and social benefits of green buildings. Lately, consensus is emerging on the financial benefits of green
    buildings as well."
    www.epa.gov/P3/success/michigan.pdf

    But let's not let these pesky facts get in the way.

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  16. Stop putting facts out there! They get in the way of ill-informed blabbering.

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  17. I don't care how many facts prove LEED to be effective and responsible.

    My CFL bulb burnt out. Therefore, all environmental initiatives MUST be scams.

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  18. Folks the FACT is LEED is a certification you PAY for to get a nice little letter, certificate and plaque. Buildings can and are built to LEED standard and beyond without needing to pay for LEED certification. The energy savings, sustainability and green factor is in the design and build not the certification. soooo... LEED is in fact a money making scam.

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  19. Looking at the EPA link at 2:21 PM...

    "Financial Benefit #1: Green buildings reduce capital costs."

    Not in our case, apparently.

    "Financial Benefit #2: High performance buildings reduce operating and maintenance costs."

    Only one reason was provided at the link which would affect the gallery, that being:

    - "Light colored roofs or green roofs reduce cooling energy needs in the summer months."

    So, for the two months in the year when we need extra air conditioning, the green roof would provide a modicum of benefit for the climate-controlled art spaces.

    Wowee, start counting the sheckles.

    "Financial Benefit #3: Sustainable buildings result in lower risks and liabilities."

    Evidence to support this include:

    - "Projects with demonstrable social and environmental benefits enjoy the support of the public, and thereby help in avoiding roadblocks to securing government approval and minimize the holding costs of real property."

    Does anyone think regulatory hurdles are an issue with this building?

    - "Incorporating innovative materials and systems into a project staves off future expenditures related to compliance with new regulations (e.g., energy codes)"

    Should unforeseen, non-existent regulations be considered in budgeting for this building?

    - "Energy and water efficient structures make buildingsless vulnerable to fluctuations in utility prices and better able to deal with temporary service disruptions."

    First, how much water would an art gallery have to use before savings become significant? Second, there might be savings in electricty and heating, but would it offset the cost of the green initiatives?

    - "Improved ventilation reduces toxics and molds that contribute to sick building syndrome."

    If this is an issue for the art gallery without a green roof, they would have more pressing concerns than saving the environment.

    You know, when these green nuts start trying to justify their taxpayer-funded schemes economically, their arguments shrivel up like George Castanza at the beach.

    Let's just be honest about the reason a "green" roof or any other eco-friendly money pit is proposed for public works projects: it's a public relations exercise, nothing more.

    Besides, if there was a purely economic rationale for enacting state-of-the-art "green" design into buildings like this, you would think most private building developers would be enacting them already.

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  20. Still waiting for your grand piece of peer-reviewed research on the evils of LEED.

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  21. "Besides, if there was a purely economic rationale for enacting state-of-the-art "green" design into buildings like this, you would think most private building developers would be enacting them already."

    Umm... you do realize that the only new private office buildings downtown, River Centre (under construction at River Landing) and Discovery Plaza (housing BHP), both have LEED certification. And you do realize that 275 Second has announced it will, too?

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