2013 Miss Teen Canada – World Blog Network Project Number One
I googled “Green Buildings in Vancouver BC” and millions of different searches showed up, but the VanDusen Botanical Garden really caught my eye. They claim this building is a 21st-century transformation engine. Well when I read this, my curious and competitive side was hooked. They felt that just being LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified will just not cut it this time. The VanDusen is much more than a “Green” Building, it is a living building. What’s the difference, you ask? Well a green building is just reducing their environmental foot print (Which is wonderful), but a living building is a completely self sufficient structure.
According to a 2005 study, Buildings across Canada-In their construction, use and disposal- account for one-third of hour nations energy waste, uses 50% of it’s extracted natural resources, creates a quarter of all of Canada’s landfill waste, and coughs out 10% of polluted airborne particles. Wow, didn’t know that, eh? In fact, Thanks to gas furnaces, Vancouver homes, schools, and offices, 55% of Vancouver’s global warming pollution is created-Considerably more than our cars. You can take note of that Gregor Robertson, Mr. Mayor of Vancouver. Seriously though, living buildings aren’t just beneficial for the environment, they also are healthy for the human body. Most average non green buildings can sicken occupants by exposing them to mould or toxins that can cause cancer. ”[non green] Buildings can bar people with disabilities, degrade ecosystems, and gradually drain the life and soul out of those who work within their walls.” States a report on the VanDusen Botanical garden, written by James Glave on January 1st 2012.
The design for the visitor center was inspired by the leaves of an orchid — its wings consists of ‘petals’ that shoot off from the ‘stem’, which serve as the central atrium and lobby. The stem has been built from rammed earth and features a vaulted ceiling and roof constructed from prefab wood-glue laminated beams. Rammed earth is a technique for building walls using raw materials of the earth, such as chalk, lime and gravel. It is actually an ancient method which has recently been brought back to make living and green structures. A glass tower in the atrium infuses the center with natural daylight and also serves as a solar chimney that exhausts hot air. Grass and colorful floral bulbs will be planted on the undulating green roof, which will also direct rain into underground cisterns for use around the centre, such as sinks and toilets.
Going all out environmentally friendly like the VanDusen Botanical garden is fantastic, but there are many ways you can go green. Even little things help, such as turning off the shower water when you go to shampoo, and turning off lights when they are not in use. If you’d like to go even more green then there are options like having a rubber roof. Rubber roofs are made from recycled tires and each one keeps about 400 tires out of the local landfill. They are also nice looking and maintenance free that are Moss, wind, fire resistant and leak proof!
When I think of it, it was not until grade seven when I really learned about the importance of being environmentally green (which is in my opinion is a decade to late.) My grade seven teacher, Miss Lisa Nordman was probably one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She cared so much for the environment and helping the less fortunate, and she really taught me what giving meant. In fact she was the one who introduced me the wonders of the Free the Children Foundation, and that year our class raised about $5 000, or something crazy like that, to build a well in Kenya. Regardless, I remember we had a eco friendly current events report, where we had to write about something that contributes to the earth. It was in between writing about the change of law in Vancouver so people can farm backyard chickens, or the benefits of the VanDusen Botanical Garden. I had chosen to write about the backyard chickens, but to this day I had always wished I had done my report on VanDusen because of my pitiful grade on the report… So I am very grateful I can redeem myself in this assignment.