Mike van der Laan is a Planning Analyst with UBC and alongside Campus + Community Planning collegues is involved in a process to develop UBC's Green Building Plan. Over the next year the campus community will be engaged to build on UBC's pioneering leadership in sustainability and shape the future for buildings on campus.

Q. What is driving green building innovation?

Green building innovation is driven by both aspirational policy and the industry's ability to learn and adopt best practice solutions and processes. To reach UBC’s net-positive goals, it is essential that these two drivers inform and support each other. Over the last 25 years, UBC has played an essential role in driving green building innovation through new processes, programs, and infrastructure. For example, UBC's Sustainability Process formalizes the integrated design process for campus projects, the Residential Energy Assessment Program (REAP) evaluates our sustainability success for residential projects, and our Academic District Energy System ensures our buildings are connected to low-carbon energy sources. We continue to learn from standards like Passive House that define a pathway to net-zero buildings and other standards like Well, Living Building Challenge, and LEED V4 that broaden the conversation to include themes such as materials and the health of inhabitants.

Q. Why are green buildings important?

Most people spend the majority (~90%)1 of their life in buildings, whether at home, work, or somewhere in–between. Buildings are intended to serve people for a lifetime and during that time they can demand large amounts of resources – like energy and water. Striving for buildings that not only “use less” but positively impact pressing issues like climate change and the health and well being of inhabitants is an essential part of shaping our future.

Q. What inspires you the most about the work that you do?

I am excited to come to work at UBC, work alongside inspiring researchers and practitioners, and build on the sustainable leadership demonstrated – both institutionally and academically. At UBC we have the unique ability to learn from our research community, implement new ideas, learn from them and empower a new generation of green building leaders.

Q. What’s one things that individuals can do to advance sustainability?

Policy, process and technology drive environmental performance so get educated, dream up new ways of doing things, and get involved in shaping that future.

1. https://www.wellcertified.com/well