OAA Webinar Series: Achieving Climate Goals through Adaptive Reuse and Retrofit

Session Abstract:

Climate change, caused by the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, is the defining environmental issue of our generation. While Canada has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 45 percent below 2005 by 2030, the reality is that emissions from the building sector have increased since 2005, continue to rise year over year, and are now at its highest level ever.

Achieving these difficult climate targets requires drastic solutions. What can the Canadian building sector do to meet these targets?

The urgency for rapid GHG reductions requires better strategies for measuring and comparing whole building life cycle emissions. While designing high-performing buildings remains imperative, a lot more attention has to be paid to embodied carbon emissions. The current nascent standards for measuring embodied carbon are insufficient to help reduce emissions by 2030. An effective solution to immediately reduce emissions is to capitalize on existing buildings by reuse and retrofit.

In this session key factors comparing adaptive reuse to new construction are identified, and programs that measure and incentivize reuse and retrofit are presented. As well lessons learned from recent high-rise rehabilitation projects in Ontario and across North America will be shared.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Gain insight into Canada’s climate targets and learn how these tie into the building industry in Canada
  • Learn to discern between operational and embodied carbon in buildings, and what really matters in the next 7 years to achieve our country’s 2030 goals.
  • By comparing different wall assembly embodied carbon profiles, learn what materials to select and which to avoid.
  • Understand the opportunity for existing buildings to contribute to reducing GHG


About the speakers:

  • Susan Rowley is Sustainable Design Leader for HOK Canada. She has over 25 years of experience in the building design and construction industry, having managed large P3 sustainable building projects. She is a Steering Committee member of the Carbon Leadership Forum Toronto Chapter, and past Chair of the CaGBC Quebec Chapter. Susan is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, having graduated from McGill University in mechanical engineering with a minor in management, and holds a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Design from the University of Montreal. Susan is passionate about building a regenerative carbon-neutral future.
  • Stefan Abidin is a Senior Associate at HOK and a design leader on a range of high-profile public and private projects. He is also Chair of the Sustainability Assembly at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and has spoken on decarbonization at conferences. As an accredited LEED Professional he is passionate about developing design solutions that take steps towards a carbon-neutral future. As an active member of the design community he has been a guest critic at OCAD and Hong Kong University. He holds a Master of Science in Architecture from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

More Info
Register Here

When September 7, 2023
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Cost Licensed OAA Member: $39 + HST, OAA Interns: $29 + HST, Non-Members: $59 + HST


If you have any questions or concerns, contact
OAA Continuing Education
e: OAAContinuingEducation@oaa.on.ca
t: 416.449.6898 Ext: 232