The future is simply to be better at what we do. Reducing your carbon footprint is an essential part of any business plan.

- Marc-André Roy

The Future is Green

Sotramont president says going green makes dollars and sense

By Jason Santerre

Marc-André Roy has green-coloured glasses. The president of Sotramont real-estate development has a mandate to build LEED-certified structures that stand the test of time. Mr. Roy sees energy efficient, sustainable developments as not only good for the planet but good for business, too. And that’s good news for everyone.

According to the Canadian Green Building Council, buildings generate up to 35 percent of all greenhouse gases, 35 percent of landfill waste comes from their construction, while 70 percent of municipal water is consumed by buildings. Making buildings greener makes our planet greener, one construction zone at a time.

That’s where Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED, comes in. LEED is a green building certification program with four levels of “greenness” — certified, silver, gold, and platinum — based on a point system monitored by independent inspectors. With several gold- and platinum-rated developments under his tool belt, Mr. Roy sat down with us to discuss his vision.

Quartier Santé: What gets you excited about building these days?

Marc-André Roy: The challenge of building master-planned communities with the most efficient homes, designed for generations to come. It requires a genuinely creative collaboration between dedicated teams, so the process is engaging. However, the best rewards are found in smaller moments. I feel incredibly fortunate when visiting our neighbourhoods, years later, to see how they’ve aged and evolved. It’s hard not to sense the impact that our daily work has on the future.

QS: Why is LEED so important to you and part of your mandate?

MR: In the beginning, LEED was the first block of our vision to be a better builder. By mastering the LEED process, we discovered increases in the quality, efficiency, and longevity of our homes. Our mandate still includes LEED because it’s a standard that grows with the construction industry and us as well. The concept of LEED is essential to socially and environmentally responsible real-estate development.

QS: What are some of the more important aspects of LEED design for you?

MR: Conservation of energy through management of resources and quality of construction has popular benefits, such as cost savings to the consumer. What impresses me is how LEED design addresses efficiency with a lifecycle perspective. The impact that the construction process has on our planet is considered. Ratings are based on the process as much as the product. For example, we use local materials, which helps reduce transport emissions. And we focus on training, which ensures expertise is leveraged, not lost.

QS: Is LEED-certification a big selling point for potential homebuyers?

MR: LEED homes provide good value, but we still need to educate buyers. They save on bills like hydro and gas, have less maintenance, and are often eligible for grants or tax credits. The savings and peace of mind are selling points. However, most of our buyers were not aware that these homes exist for an average consumer nor were they familiar with the depths of LEED design.

QS: Will green design be the norm and not the exception in the future?

MR: Green is a word on trend. The future is simply to be better at what we do. Reducing your carbon footprint is an essential part of any business plan.

 

Winter 2017, Vol 9 N°1

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