The coolest buildings aren’t green | Bryn Davidson | TEDxRenfrewCollingwood

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Creating ‘greener’ buildings will help address climate change… right?
Green buildings can make a difference, but only if we start asking the right questions. If we can start to see the whole story of how our buildings impact the climate then we can start to make strides toward real ‘net-positive’ change. The technology isn’t new, the strategies aren’t rocket science – the hard step is shifting our thinking about what it means to build ‘green’.

Bryn Davidson wears many hats. Sure, he’s a LEED-accredited building designer, sustainability consultant and small business owner with degrees in Architecture (UBC) and Mechanical Engineering (UC Berkeley). But he doesn’t stop there. He’s also one of the co-founders of Lanefab Design / Build; a Vancouver-based design and construction company that built the city’s first laneway house in 2010. Since then, Lanefab has continued its specialization in energy efficient green homes and infill ‘laneway houses’ by completing over 40 of the small infill homes. Bryn Davidson has been on the leading edge of the laneway house industry, and we don’t see him slowing down anytime soon.

Twitter: (at)lanefab
Facebook: Lanefab
Email: bryn(at)

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Bangalore residential properties are fast catching on the concept of going green. Visit
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23 thoughts on “The coolest buildings aren’t green | Bryn Davidson | TEDxRenfrewCollingwood”

  1. Septic tanks needs to be design like that the black water( toilet) should be seperated from the gray water( sink, shower). Black water tank will drain to the gray water tank then the to the drain field. This design is the best way to be efficient.

  2. Pretty good for 2014. I'd say leading edge but now we've got Phase Change Materials, Carbon capture strategies and even more efficient and well purposed appliances and electric cars. Did I mention batteries? In the race to build a Net Positive house without using ''bling" with moving parts, one should allow induction heaters, solar panels, Phase Change materials, and natural Heat Recovery systems like fireplaces. And now batteries, electric, chemical and thermal. This is 30 months later. What will we have in another 30 months? If the dangerous fools deciding our futures now get their way, Coal.

  3. The emission footprint of the secluded super green house might have bigger actual gross emission impact on the environment than the downtown-accessible-by-foot-transit-or-whatever-greener method but you don't take into account that other homes in the same area are probably not as green and also need a car per person so house that is green is always better than house that is not green.
    What we need to think about is how we are going to transform existing non green houses to green houses, that is the challenge we are facing today

  4. These idiots whining about "climate change" (Used to be called global warming, but no one with a working brain fell for that bullshit) belong in prison.

    Carbon dioxide isn't "pollution" or a "greenhouse gas". Co2 is one of THE most essential elements for all life on earth.

    The human body, as well as animals, birds, fishes, and so on, is filled with carbon dioxide!

    Wanna save the planet, you whack jobs? Stop breathing! Every time you exhale, you put obscene amounts of carbon dioxide into the air.

    If you are truly committed to fighting "climate change" either stop breathing, forever, or just STFU!

    All of this is a scam. A way for left wing radicals to seize power, and for corrupt government officials, and elected politicians to reward their billionaire cronies with taxpayer money, for bullshit "cures" for something that doesn't exist!

    Carbon dioxide isn't "pollution," idiots, it's PLANT FOOD!

    And we need healthy plants, because they take the "demon" Co2 and through the process of photosynthesis, turn it into oxygen, something we can't live without!

    Higher levels of carbon dioxide simply means healthier plants!

    Learn some actual SCIENCE and put the goddamned con artists in prison where they belong! Start with Al Gore, Michael Mann, and Obama, then go from there.

    If we need to build more prisons to hold them all, so be it.

  5. When creating a net-positive building, one needs to avoid using foam products if embodied energy and measured performance are taken into account. For instance, most closed cell spray foam has a 40-80 year "greenhouse gas payback" given it performs to specification. However, it is nearly impossible to install spray foam properly outside of laboratory conditions. Even if this is achieved, the seismic/drying/thermal movement of the building is sure to pull foam away from it's substrate and ruin the air sealing properties. Foam is NOT a durable air barrier and is almost always a BIG net negative for environmental impact. Not a big surprise considering foam is a fossil fuel product. I was tricked by the marketing and installed millions of square feet of foam before I learned the truth about installed performance vs. upfront impact. I was trying to help save the world; turns out I didn't achieve my goal. Foam guilt is tough to swallow.

  6. These are all great points and a direction to move towards to make our foot prints smaller, excellent. But to do it for climate change is a mistake, as this whole global warming fiasco, cooked up by the bought and paid for IPCC scientists – go read their leaked emails, is as Supertramp would say "The Crime of the Century".

    This scam is nothing more than a total con for the establishment of UN global power, destruction of national sovereignty, and the ultimate elimination of most of the world's population. Was Al Gore driving a Prius in the movie Inconvenient Truth, NO, but a mid sized Buick. Not to mention his mansion consumes 10 times the power and fuel than a regular home. Oh, and his financial interest in the carbon trading companies. Total BS, yet he says we are on the brink of disaster and have to act yesterday to save the planet.

    Yes, let's go green wherever we can but don't buy into the our .038% contribution to the .038 percent of C02 in the atmosphere is going to do anything regarding saving the earth from overheating. The sun being 93 million miles away, 1.3 million times larger than the earth, is a nuclear reactor that has kept the earth within 1.9 degrees in the last 100 years. Last I saw, there is no thermostat for it yet it has been incredibly consistent. We can have almost 80 degree swings from summer to winter yet this 1.9 degrees people freak out over due to the hyperbole the IPCC, UN, and Cronies spew out. Please don't be deceived by them.

    In the 70s we were taught that the earth is cooling and would ultimately be destroyed by a new ice age. That was built on a temperature DECREASE from the 50s to the 70s. It kind of freaked us out back then. Now you have some of the same people saying the opposite. They are just grabbing what they can to manipulate us. Tons of scientists say the IPCC science is wrong and grossly inflated by a factor of 8. You made it this far, good for you.

  7. It's also important not to forget infrastructure!

    Here in Auckland the national government is really pushing (against the local government) for more greenfield development under the pretext that developers will pay for new infrastructure. But what about all the infrastructure that needs to be upgraded! Roads & transit coming into the city, power, water, etc – even though they're not on your property these are serious costs both monetary and environmental. 

  8. Great talk. So, embodied energy is where things are going right now, or more like heading…They're doing studies on embodied energy of cement at the UW, and there's lifecycle, etc…And yes to your response; "small portion compared…" as in embodied energy, but I think we need to know the real cost of doing business, not the perceived cost, especially of those items that have to travel from other lands, when we almost as easily could get them closer, or another likeminded material to replace. Wouldn't this be somewhat be compared to "walkability"?
    I think, like everything else, these building point systems have to be vetted! Like Lions and tigers and Bears, oh my. LEED, Zero, Passive House, Built Green, USA's New Wall System, oh my!

    Where does it end? Its better than the old ways…

  9. Seems odd that the speaker neglected to account for the embodied energy already present in the "inefficient" buildings that he is comfortable sending to the landfill.  Surely that has to be part of the green calculation.

  10. Very good presentation. Interesting use of the words "Green Bling"

    Bryn asks us to ask 3 questions:

    1) How good is it?
    2) Where is it located?
    3) What does it replace?

    I'd like to add a 4th, the Zero'th question if you will – how does it make people think & behave greener?

  11. I think the title is a little misleading – green buildings start from design and aims not from choice of materials and adding windmills


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