A Joint Project by the:

Grand Valley
Society of Architects

building communities

school of architecture
The Sustainable Design Research Project:
Advanced Case Studies in Canadian Sustainable Design

Terri Meyer Boake B.E.S. B.Arch. M.Arch.

Associate Professor School of Architecture University of Waterloo


I am pleased to announce that this project was awarded $10,000 in funding from the Ontario Association of Architects as the 2003 recipient of the Call for Society Projects for the Sustainable Design Challenge. Kate Harrison M.Arch, LEED AP is working as my Research Assistant, editing and formatting the masters papers for the website. Caroline Prochazka M.Arch, LEED AP researched and prepared information on the LEED Building Assessment for the masters level research projects. Caroline has also completed her M.Arch. thesis which studies the effects of Daylighting on Sustainable design, and the use of various software tools for daylighting. Her document may be downloaded here: "Emergent Threshold" 3MB

Some case studies may be repeated from page to page as they may fall into more than one category. Please check the subject links below as I add new image sets as I have the opportunity to make visits.

last updated March 6, 2008 8:52 AM

Advanced Case Studies in Canadian Sustainable Design



"Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children." --- Kenyan Proverb.

An Overview of Sustainable Building in Canada: 

There is a growing momentum in Sustainable Building in Canada. When this website was initiated, close to 4 years ago, there existed only a handful of "green buildings" in Canada, the site was one page long, and the Canadian Green Building Corporation had not yet been formed. As the sustainable building movement in Canada has grown, it has (encouragingly) become necessary to break this site into multiple pages, addresses various building types.

Most of the detailed information pertaining to Canadian buildings is to be found in articles or publications and on varying web sites -- here and there -- in and out of print. It has become the purpose of this website to attempt to provide a central repository of research papers and links to the increasing information on sustainable building in Canada. For a list of new and existing buildings that are currently registered with LEED Canada, please visit:

Please also see the CaGBC publication: Green Buildings in Canada

A recent exhibition and publication, authored by John McMinn, Professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, and Marco Polo, Professor of Architecture at Ryerson University, titled "41 to 66: Regional Responses to Sustainable Architecture in Canada", has just closed at our facility in Cambridge. The exhibition is travelling across Canada, and if it comes to a location near you, I would sincerely recommend a visit and a catalog purchase. The catalog is the most thorough publication in print that examines the roots of sustainable building from a Nation-wide perspective. This exhibition will be a key feature of the Venice Biennale when it takes place in Cambridge.

From the perspective of increasing a detailed understanding of sustainable design, and educating both students and practitioners on sustainable building methods, Case Study Analysis has been found to be the most effective learning tool. By examining the detailed development of a building, and by accessing construction data, key issues and specification information for projects that have been purported to be "sustainable", it is becomes clearer to understand how to adopt sustainable building practices for use in other projects under development. To date, sustainable design "propoganda" has been proposed from an ethical and moral viewpoint. In order to "build" we need to be able to get beyond agreeing to the "ideals" and get into the nitty gritty aspects of detailed design and construction. If we provide access to detailed case studies, practitioners will be able to understand more clearly what has been done, what works, what does not, and prepare to come up with new and improved methods of building green.


Key Links:

Canadian Green Building Organization
Green Building Canada
US Green Building Association
Advanced Buildings
Sustainability Now
Sustainable Buildings Canada



Winter 2008: Independent Research Elective
M.Arch. students interested in carrying out a detailed research paper on any of the (unclaimed) buildings, or who might suggest additional sustainable case studies to perform, should contact me at
tboake@uwaterloo.ca To fulfill course requirements for an independent study elective, I would expect each student to prepare 2 detailed case studies. The work would include a site visit (if distance permits), taking original digital images of the building, an interview with the architect/designer/engineer, a 20 to 30 minute presentation to the study group, preparation and submission of a Powerpoint presentation of your building(s), and a comprehensive illustrated paper of not less than 5,000 words each. Detailed bibliographies and web references must accompany all submissions. 50% of your final grade will draw from each case study. More info available for direct inquiries.


"It's not easy being green." Kermit the Frog

last updated March 6, 2008