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Sustainable ambitions

Lemay Net Positive: Award-winning sustainability approach challenges status quo while scaling up living environments’ sustainable and human wellness potential.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lemay, Adrien Williams, Doublespace Photography, Robert Lemermeyer

Drawing on its well-established sustainability expertise, Lemay has put forward a Net Positive approach that focuses on three areas – health, the environment and carbon reduction – to create a more sustainable living environment for the community and future generations.

Lemay, one of Canada’s leading architecture, planning and design firms, has laid out a rigorous Net Positive framework to maximize the firm’s considerable influence on the key determining factor in human health: the built environment.

Addressing the urgency of climate change, Lemay’s Net Positive approach proposes sustainable strategies and metrics at every stage of the firm’s projects. Going beyond traditional environmental certifications, it aims to transform urban environments to the benefit of their users and the community.

With the equivalent of some 260 football fields of projects certified or undergoing certification, Lemay’s longstanding commitment to the environment is now formalized with this new program that was recently recognized with a Novae Award.

Lemay Net Positive focuses on three critical areas:

Promotion of user health

- Using eco-friendly materials, maximizing indoor air quality and natural light, integrating biophilic and active design (etc.)

Environmental protection

- Managing stormwater responsibly, reducing heat islands, protecting green spaces and developing biodiversity (etc.)

Carbon emissions reduction

- Performing carbon quantification and life-cycle assessments, reducing carbon footprint, increasing resiliency, adapting design to climate change (etc.)

“Protecting the environment doesn’t have to cost more, said Louis T. Lemay, president and excellence facilitator. Our projects are proof that they can be sustainably developed for the same capital costs as comparable projects. The Net Positive approach also gives projects greater social acceptability, which generates more ROI and boosts market value.”

The embodiment of Lemay’s brand, the Phenix at 3500 Saint-Jacques St. in Montreal, is a testing ground for new best practices in sustainable architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, interior design and urban planning.

Already Fitwel-certified and aiming for LEED-Platinum and Zero Carbon certification, it hosts some 300 employees as a living lab incorporating wellness strategies including biophilic design, active transport, flexible workspaces and healthy nutrition. Lemay’s transformation of an abandoned warehouse, located at the heart of a neighbourhood with strong working-class roots, has revitalized the surrounding community and avoided some 12,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that would have been generated by the construction of a new building.

Lemay’s many integrated design disciplines are empowered to introduce sustainable practices and materials. Its internal Net Positive Committee in turn maintains employees’ Net Positive expertise through specialized training, presentations, research and development, and publications.

Lemay's Net Positive’s rigorous approach was developed over the course of numerous high-profile sustainable projects that include Montreal’s Bibliothèque du Boisé, Toronto’s Woodbine Districts; Soprema’s factory in Woodstock, ON; ; TELUS Park in Calgary and Bellechasse Transport Centre, as well as Lemay’s own office, the Phenix, in Montreal.

Lemay employs 27 professionals accredited in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), including one of Quebec’s first LEED Fellows.

It also has professionals accredited in WELL (including the province’s first WELL Faculty member), Fitwel, Envision, SITES, BREEAM, and Haute Qualité Environnementale (HQE).

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