Municipality: Kingston Implementation: 2012-05-08
Policy Name: Municipal Green Building Policy Contact: Paul Maclatchy
Department: Dept. of Environment & Sustainable Initiatives Title: Director
Community profile:

The City of Kingston is a single tier municipaility of approximately 120,000 within a census metropolitan area of 160,000.  Kingston is one of Canada's oldest cities and its early heritage is preserved within the architecture of its vibrant downtown area.  Home to Queens University, the Royal Military College of Canada, St. Lawrence College, CFB Kingston and several Corrections Canada facilities, Kingston has an institutional focus that provides a a stable economy and low to moderate rates of growth.  Kingston's location on highway 401 equidistant from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Syracuse has attracted manufacturers and distributers who see the strategic advantages provided by the City's location and access to university based research and skilled labour.

Short Description:

A policy that requires specific levels of LEED certification for municipally owned building and building retrofit projects.


As part of the City of Kingston Strategic Energy Management Plan this policy addresses how best to minimize the City's energy consumption and associated emissions from new, larger building construction.  This policy does not apply to private sector developments.

Step by Step Process:

In 2003, coincidental with the completion of the City of Kingston's first greenhouse gas emissions inventory,  the City was contemplating a significant amount of new building construction to replace aging faciliites and create new ones.  An approach to "green" building criteria was required.

Municipal staff undertook an analysis of various green building approaches and selected the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system and modelled the expansion of an ice arena using LEED and busiess as usual approaches to determine estimates for incremental capital costs and utility costs so that a return on investment (ROI) statement could be developed.

Based on the ROI statement and the added benefits of better indoor air quality and opportunities for local contractors, engineers and architects to develop skills in local LEED projects, Kingston City Counci lendorsed the first generation of the policy that required all major municipal building projects to undertake an assessment of the feasibility of designing and constructing to a LEED NC Silver Certification.

In 2008, with the experience of constructing three new large faciliites (Police HQ, K-Rock Centre and the Invista Centre), Kingston City Council endorsed revisions to the policy that required LEED Silver certification along with specific energy performance, third party commissioning and monitoring and verification requirements be obtained.

Primary Drivers:

Over $200 million of new municipal facility construction was being planned and control of utility costs and emissions was needed.

Secondary Drivers:

Establishment of Kingston and Kingston businesses as leaders in the emerging field of green building design and construction.


Access to FCM GMF  funding for environmentally progressive projects. 

Avoidance of labour risks associated with "sick building" issues.


Chief of Police, individual City Councilors.


Lack of Canadian municipal examples.


Kingston now has five municipal facilities with LEED certification and another three under construction.  Several Kingston engineering, architecture and contracting firms now have significant experience with large LEED projects.  The rise in utility costs and emissions due to the construction and operation of these new faciliites has been reduced as compared to what would have been the case with business as usual approaches.

Lessons Learned:

The creation of new buildings that obtain LEED certitifcations means that building systems are much more complex than traditional buildings and anticipated utility savings may be in jeopardy if thorough engagement and training of facilities management staff is not planned for and implemented.   First year utility costs will be higher than modelled and an aggressive commitment to ongoing building re-commisssioning in conjunction with stafftraining is required to realize the lower utiity useages expected.

First year utility underperformance may lead to cynicism and criticism of the LEED buildng program that is difficult to reverse.

Applicability Across Ontario:

We beleive that Kingston's policy is very applicable to other Ontario municipalities.

Similar Tools Used by Other Municipalities:

City of Calgary LEED Building Policy.

Further Information:

Paul MacLatchy, Director of Environment & Sustainable Initiatives


Policy Document: EnhancedGreenMunicipalBuildingPolicy.pdf