#Climatestrike - how and why buildings and construction must change now

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Our mission at the Fourth Pig is to foster ecologically balanced methods of construction and energy production in order to promote more sustainable and healthy communities. In the face of the current climate emergency and global climate strikes we are sharing resources in this newsletter about how buildings and construction are a major part of the climate problem but can also be a great way to reduce the challenge.

Over ten years ago the New Scientist said “ Construction is not a sexy area of climate policy but it is one in which huge gains can be made for relatively little cost." How buildings are made and renovated much change now. The good news is we have to the tools to do it.

Read this newsletter here!

Big solar projects in Alberta, super eco development in Norway, the call for 50% cut in GHG and more!

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In the land of oil it looks likes the sun is rising on solar. In this edition, we have two stories about big solar projects in Alberta, plus cutting edge eco building project in Norway, a short talk from passive house architect Adam Cohen on the importance of design and sustainability, a look at build vs renovate for schools in terms of the environment, the need to get to 50% GHG reduction in just a few years and finally a little self-promotion from us here at the Fourth Pig.

Read the newsletter here!

National building code looks at climate change, tidal energy faces challenges (and more in our most recent newsletter)

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In heat of the summer we think of the beach, a good book, maybe an adult beverage and why is the building we are in so damn hot (or maybe even why is the AC so high? And what can we do about it?). In this edition of our newsletter we have a few answers and look at the trouble with glass buildings, the possibility of affordable net zero homes, have two great pieces on embodied carbon (including a much-watch video) and some good resources on climate heating from NASA. Now pass the chips. Read it all here.

Fourth Pig part of the team for award winning building

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The Fourth Pig has been pleased to be the air-tightness consultants for the Parkdale Landing Building in Hamilton. This building took the “Inspiring Home” prize on May 30th 2019 at the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Leadership Awards Gala Dinner. The ceremony was held at the Vancouver Conference Centre as part of CaGBC’s National Conference and Showcase, Building Lasting Change.

The 2019 Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding industry leadership and who have made significant contributions to the CaGBC’s mission and goals in advancing green building in Canada.

We are proud to have worked on this project with Indwell, Peel Passive House, Schilthuis Construction, Kalos Engineering and, CK Engineering.

“Every year we are recognizing those individuals that are making a difference and affecting/leading change in Canada’s green building industry,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “This year’s award winners are indicative of the passion, commitment and innovation that drives our industry to keeping moving forward in delivering change on the ground. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Daniel Pearl, embodies those traits. Both as a practicing architect and an educator, he has influenced sustainable design and delivered ground breaking projects for decades.”

National Building Code may be going up, but tidal energy in Nova Scotia is going down (and more in our newsletter)

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In this newsletter we see that the National Building Code may be going up, but tidal energy in Nova Scotia is going down; natural materials engineer Tim Krahn talks rammed earth; a development in Michigan aims to go net zero and here at the Fourth Pig we are proud to be part of the co-founders of the Green Building Learning Zone. All this and more in this edition of Force of Nature.

Green building experts join forces at Green Living Show, March 22-24

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Press release: March 14, 2019


Green building experts join forces at Green Living Show, March 22-24

Alarmed that buildings are harming people and the environment, experts believe education is key and create Green Building Learning Zone


(Toronto, ON)  Recent studies show that buildings account for almost half of Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and we spend on average 90 percent of our time indoors, where air quality is often terrible. We must do better, say a group of green building experts who have banded together for the first time to share their expertise at the upcoming Green Living Show March 22-24 in Toronto. Education, they say, is key.

These green building professionals have created a collaborative space within the Green Living Show called the “Green Building Learning Zone.” The group wants the booth to reinvigorate the green building section of the Green Living Show and educate consumers about what is possible. 

The Green Building Learning Zone brings together architects, designers, builders, suppliers, educators, non-profits and consultants from the green building world who are all deeply committed to creating sustainable buildings and educating the public about their importance.  Green Building Learning Zone contributors are planning a series of educational presentations at the Green Building Show on a range of topics that include: building envelope, indoor air quality, and alternative building materials, to name a few. Many presentations will draw from case studies from Toronto and beyond. In addition, there will be sample green building materials, a library of resources to peruse and purchase, and experts to answer questions.

Green Building Learning Zone collaborators include: Aerecura Rammed Earth Builders; Agritecture, Ontario; Eco Building Resource; Endeavour - The Sustainable Building School; the Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction; Greening Homes; Nadurra Wood Corporation; The Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science Graduate Studies, Ryerson University; Sage Living; Simple Life; Stone’s Throw Design Inc.; and, Tooketree Passive Homes. The Green Living Show booth is sponsored by Sustainable Buildings Canada, Passive Buildings Canada and the Ontario Natural Building Coalition.

The group says their vision of a sustainable building is: affordable to build, buy and operate; very energy efficient; made with materials that have low embodied carbon and minimal waste; healthy, comfortable and promotes the well-being of the occupants; resilient, beautiful, accessible, and connected to community.

“The need for education around high performance and healthy buildings is quite great and urgent,” says Bettina Hoar, one of the founding members of the group. “Too often homeowners are unaware that the buildings they live and work in are not up to the highest energy performance and health standards. This compromises their comfort, health and energy bills. It also negatively impacts the environment and contributes to climate change. We want them to know that they have the power to change this next time they plan to buy, build or renovate.”

The City of Toronto’s 2030 goal is that all new buildings be built to produce near-zero GHG emissions.  This is possible today.  While Ontario’s building code strives to improve energy performance, it does not guarantee a high performance, comfortable and healthy space. It is up to consumers to demand higher standards, and that starts with knowledge.

“Typically when people want to reduce their building’s environmental footprint, they might first consider solar panels, which are often the most expensive solution relative to their overall impact,” says Hoar. “Really, the most effective way to begin is with the “unsexy” stuff - the building envelope such as walls, roof, foundation and windows – the things we don’t see but have such a massive impact because they reduce the need for energy in the first place. Plus buildings affect human health and wellbeing, from the way they are designed, to the materials and methods used to build them, to how to they fit into the community.  We can do better.”

To learn more about the Green Building Learning Zone and contributors, visit: www.greenbuildinglearningzone.org

Fourth Pig's Taryn Green now a Certified Passive House Consultant

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We are excited to announce that Fourth Pig Project Coordinator Taryn Green is now a Certified Passive House Consultant! As the Passive House Institute US says “PHIUS-trained CPHCs are leading adoption of passive house by designing and building quality-assured passive projects -- single family, multifamily and commercial -- across North America's varied climate zones.”

Taryn is also a PHIUS Certified Builder, Energy Manager, and a LEED Accredited Professional.