The SBC Blog: Welcoming the Sustainable Building World to Toronto in 2016

Welcome to our first blog of 2016. Truth be told, this is our first blog posting, period! But all great journeys start with a first step and because 2016 has all the makings of a special year, we want to share the excitement. On behalf of the Board of Sustainable Buildings Canada, I invite you read on and see what we are planning this year.

Even if you know us just a little, you probably know that we are an organization committed to improving the environmental performance of the built environment. We undertake training, education and programming initiatives to accomplish this mission, and work with government, utilities, and agencies to shape and implement policy through innovative programming. Our Board members, staff, volunteers and scholarship recipients are involved in many different areas of the building industry and we do not receive core funding, but rather operate on a fee-for-services basis to fund our activities.

Our most high profile public event is the annual Green Building Festival (GBF), now in its 11th season. And while 2015 was our most successful Festival ever, sold out with 300 attendees, our 2016 conference will be on a whole new level. In fact, this year we are going international!

Sustainable Buildings Canada has joined forces with Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) to participate in a global network of conferences in 2016 with a decidedly climate change theme. Our conference, SBE16Toronto, will be the exclusive SBE conference for the Americas (north, south, and central) and will take place September 19 & 20. We are expecting some 500 international environmental stakeholders from industry, academia and government at the Toronto Downtown Eaton Centre Marriott Hotel, to exploring strategies, projects and best practices in the conference theme, “Regenerative and Resilient Urban Environments”.

What’s different is what will make this our biggest and best event ever. SBE16Toronto is part technical conference: We received more than 70 research and technical presentation submissions, the best 40 of which will generate half of the conference panels. And the other half of the content is the high caliber, carefully curated programming that has brought delegates back to our annual Green Building Festival year after year, including provocative presenters, engaging panel discussions and interactive workshops.

What else is new? Our partners this year include iiSBE Canada, the United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (UNEP-SBCI), International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and the International Council for Building and Construction (CIB), in addition to a range of local, Canadian and Pan-American professional industry associations.

Plus, SBE16Toronto joins 20 global SBE conferences that culminate in the global World Sustainable Built Environment (WSBE) Conference in Hong Kong in 2017, so we are really joining the international discourse on climate change.

SBE16Toronto registration opens next week with budget-friendly Early Bird delegate rates, so make sure to keep in touch! Visit us on social media, subscribe to the SBC newsletter or follow this blog. We’ll be posting announcements and additional information about the rich content, business development opportunities and networking elements that will bring the world to Toronto this fall for SBE16Toronto.
It’s going to be a great 2016. We look forward to sharing it with you.

Natalia Ortiz Moreno

Natalia Ortiz, student of Project Management Environmental (PME) program in Seneca Polytechnic, has an Environmental Engineering background completed at Universidad El Bosque in Colombia. She has always been involved in sustainability roles and projects that included Environmental Management Systems implementation, Water Treatment Systems’ design and operation, Hazardous and Conventional Waste management and minimization practices, as well as Ecosystem’s Conservation and Energy
Efficiency programs.

For the PME – Applied Project Management Course, Natalia developed a Green Roof Assessment Tool for Seneca Polytechnic’s Office of Sustainability, with the aim to provide green roof technology recommendations best suited to a particular scenario, taking into consideration multiple aspects of green roofs and buildings; infrastructure, design, materials, environmental factors, and costs, as well as the Toronto Municipal Code – Green Roof bylaw. Natalia also has a scientific journal publication as the main author of the project “Selection and sizing of industrial wastewater treatment units required at the
new maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) aircraft facility owned by Avianca S.A. in Rionegro Antioquia” in the El Bosque University Journal of Technology.

Natalia strongly believes there are several research topics left to be developed, and the importance of
working towards Sustainability from different backgrounds, knowledge, and cultures to build strong, productive, and resilient communities.
With the vision of growing cities and infrastructure along with nature, always preserving and respecting the ecosystems’ attributes and services, Natalia would like to keep researching and acquiring more experience in Sustainability roles.

Emily Smit

Emily is a second-year PhD student in Geography at the University of Toronto, and a co-operator of a small home renovation company, Magnus Home Improvements. Her research seeks to determine how single-family homes can quickly and best be retrofit to achieve Toronto’s emissions reductions targets – including net-zero by 2040 – as part of the TransformTO climate action plan. Specifically, she will assess the impact of municipal home energy reporting and disclosure programs, as well as produce recommendations for growing the retrofit labour force in ways that attend to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Further, her research seeks to understand how home retrofit activities can be regenerative and produce net-positive impacts for humans and the environment towards transformative, place-based sustainability. When not at her computer, Emily can be found cycling with her kids to and from school or making funky sounds on her analog synthesizer.

Bofa Udisi

Bofa is a sustainability professional with over seven years in the energy and environment industry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Energy and Petroleum Studies from Novena University in Nigeria and graduate certificates in Energy Management and Environmental Project Management from Seneca College in Toronto. In 2020, he graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Environment and Business degree. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Building Science program at Toronto Metropolitan University, researching whole-life carbon reduction in new construction and building renovations.

Bofa‘s work experience is primarily in the built environment, working in the private and public sectors in roles that involve structural and environmental assessment of building structures, HVAC engineering design and sales, and facilities management. Bofa is a member of several industry associations, such as the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the American Society for Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Project Management Institute (PMI). SBC’s bursary will go a long way in supporting Bofa‘s research and his desire to learn.