A Broader View: Making Sustainability a Focus with Bucci
In Canada, we’re privileged to have a vast amount of space to build our cities. But here too, in some places we’ve begun to feel the pressure of running out of room—for places like British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, they’ve been feeling it for some time. This makes sustainable urban planning all the more necessary, and it’s what prompted Bucci Developments to further understand and invest in sustainable building practices and urban planning—into both of which high density living fits snuggly.
Bucci Developments builds single family and high density residential homes in Alberta and British Columbia, though there’s been greater demand for sustainability in Alberta. “In Calgary, it is a prerequisite,” according to Mike Bucci, Vice-President, Development, Bucci Developments Limited. “This aligns with Bucci’s vision, as a builder invested in the broader picture of urban planning.” Beyond the work that goes into the homes themselves, Bucci takes location into account, and builds homes around features like mass transit and public spaces: it’s about developing sustainable lifestyles as much as sustainable homes.
The concept of green certification for new homes is not a new one, but neither is it yet universal. A construction surge in British Columbia saw a lot of new builders and new homes pop up in a short time; watching this, those at Bucci Developments felt a responsibility to homeowners and to fellow builders. It was time to demonstrate the quality of work they were doing and hold themselves accountable, leading the way for others to do the same. And so, they looked to Built Green Canada, which offered the means to substantiate their good work with home testing and certification, while being shown avenues to progress their sustainability efforts further.
A national organization offering environmental programs to the residential building sector, Built Green Canada offers third-party certified programs underpinned by checklists, which builders use to certify their homes. BUILT GREEN® home certification is based on a dual-label process: the EnerGuide label through Natural Resources Canada forms the first, and the BUILT GREEN® Checklist forms the second. These program checklists are created in consultation with industry, including builders, energy advisors, suppliers, and more; the BUILT GREEN® programs are part of a movement to progress the residential building sector through industry leadership: from the bottom up.
Beyond the desire to prove the quality of their work and further their sustainability goals, Bucci chose to go a step further, and participate as part of the BUILT GREEN® High Density (HD) pilot project—they were one of the pioneering builders to participate. This was an opportunity to test the HD Checklist and help determine specifics, like point values per action item, water conservation and energy modeling requirements, and more, including documentation that ensures program rigor while remaining easy to implement—the latter of which is important for program activation and long-term use.
With their focus on the bigger picture—with regard to urban planning—the BUILT GREEN® High Density program made sense for Bucci. “Multi-family buildings are inherently sustainable”, says Bucci. “The nature of shared-party walls enables efficiency of energy and infrastructure that is difficult to replicate in even the greenest single family home.” The logical next step up from constructing sustainable infrastructure is certifying it.
Past the general environmental message, Bucci shows homebuyers that a sustainable home means a healthier home. They make a point to educate potential home buyers, so these people can make an informed choice on a “green” home and understand the direct impact to their families. For example, Bucci highlights the excellent air quality that comes with superior ventilation and responsible building materials.
Though important, many benefits of a sustainably built home are intangible. Air quality is one of these intangibles, yet the benefit of clean air is something clients can easily grasp, especially if they suffer from respiratory issues. Better filtration and continuous incoming fresh air, combined with a more air tight home means healthier, more comfortable home—with the happy side effect of reduced dusting.
And as Mike points out, with BUILT GREEN® High Density buildings, it’s not only the inhabitants that benefit, but also the building owner, who has a more durable building and reduced utility bills. They make sure to showcase their work by including a BUILT GREEN® certification plaque within their buildings. They’ve found this has people asking questions and learning more about sustainable development, which is one of their ultimate goals.
With Bucci’s BUILT GREEN® Platinum Tribeca development in Calgary, their approach to sustainability was one their customers appreciated: financial sustainability as well as environmental. The systems they used are neither difficult nor expensive to maintain—Bucci can pass along green benefits without a substantial cost adjustment. On top of this, homeowners were surprised to learn their BUILT GREEN® home was eligible for rebates, based on its efficiency—energy and building envelope being an important part of Built Green Canada’s programs.
The importance of sustainability continues to grow amongst homebuyers. 49% of Canadian homebuyers are demanding better-built homes, saying home certification is a “must have”, with an additional 29% saying they “really want” certification—according to a study conducted by Avid Ratings Canada in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. It’s thanks, in part, to builders like Bucci Developments that showcase their responsible building practices with certification, and who lead though client education.