The Win-Win Combination of Heritage & Sustainability

The University of Toronto, as with many other areas in Toronto – and Canada, for that matter, is home to a plethora of historic, architecturally exquisite buildings that have been renovated to accommodate the demands of modern day requirements, including the perpetuation of “green” standards of sustainable building that is so critical in construction projects today.

Historic/heritage buildings are inherently sustainable, as preservation is at the very core of sustainability:  the use of original infrastructure and building material.  Structures built a hundred or more years ago were traditionally erected with sustainable attributes designed to respond to climate and location.  And that being the case, current day’s sustainable technology is able to supplement those inherent features, while at the same time maintaining a building’s historic character.   recycle

But even taking into account the renovation/restoration project as a “recycling” project, there is still a lot to be done in order to take a heritage building to the next level so that it becomes adaptable to modern day requirements –  it’s a task that is definitely not without its challenges.        

A superb example of a building/renovation project which did just that, is the Lassonde Mining Building at the University of Toronto.  The steeped-in-history structure (which originally opened in 1904) was recently “given a new lease on life for another 100 years or more.”  And not only does it look brilliant in its architectural design (an impressive mix of new and old), but it won a 2014 Canada Green Building Council Award for ingenuity in both preservation and sustainability.

An article by Ian Harvey on the Daily Commercial News website cites the details of the magnificent project, including photos.

Way to do it right!

And for more great tips on sustainability as well as crucial project management & risk management information and training, join one of our Gold Seal accredited workshops.


World Plumbing Day – Who Knew??

Were you aware that March 11th is World Plumbing Day?  I sure as hell wasn’t until this morning, while on my way to work, I tuned into two radio personalities discussing it and, yep, turns out that March 11th of every year is World Plumbing Day. And it’s (as the name suggests) global. I have to admit, I snickered a bit and thought to myself, “Seriously??”.  But yes, turns out it has its own website – – and even has a Facebook page dedicated to it:

So, what exactly is World Plumbing Day you ask? (So did I.)  world-plumbing-day

Here’s a brief explanation I found on Days of the

World Plumbing Day is an international event, initiated by the World Plumbing Council, held on 11 March each year to recognise the important role plumbing plays in societal health and amenity.

The WPC, through its member countries and its partnerships with bodies like the World Health Organisation, works all year round to promote the benefits of safe plumbing, but in 2010 it decided to launch the concept of embedding a single day on the world’s calendar dedicated to plumbing. The idea was that on March 11 each year people all over the world would pause to reflect on the vital role plumbing plays in preserving their health and way of life – in the case of countries like ours – or in building sustainable disease free futures for millions in the developing world.”

Who knew?? But, if you think about it, plumbing certainly is a trade well deserving of it’s own special day, isn’t it? I mean, what in the world would we do without plumbing?  Ever gone camping? And I don’t mean camping at a designated campsite, complete with toilets, showers and a nearby restaurant – I mean really “roughing it” in unassumed territory deep in the woods!  I have. And I’m not afraid to admit I hated it. Why? Two reasons: 1. No electricity; and 2. (You guessed it!) No plumbing.  And yes, I realize that we’re “spoiled” here in the developed western world where things like running water (aka hot showers!) are the expected norm, but that doesn’t make plumbing any less a ” bare necessity” –  and for that very reason – because we are used to living with it on a daily basis. Lucky, aren’t we?

So, here’s to World Plumbing Day! Keep the water flowing and our environment healthy! (And tonight when I’m taking a nice, warm shower, I will vow to not snicker ever again at the relevance of such an important day!)

Happy World Plumbing Day!!