Choice Materials

Three experts look at the green strategies behind a model apartment created as a showcase for sustainable thinking.


Client: Tridel
Interior Designer: Kantelberg Design

Six years ago, Canadian developer Tridel announced it would embrace sustainability in its future building projects. That promise was first realized in 2006 with the opening of Element, a Toronto condo cooled by Lake Ontario water, and again last May with Eco-Suite, a sales-model unit inside Element that is finished to a higher level of ­decoration—and greenness—than the other homes in the 24-story high-rise. Eco-Suite “shows the public that Tridel means business,” says Lauren Gropper, green-building and LEED consultant to the company.

“It was really exciting to recognize that we can find the green materials to meet the aesthetic,” Andrea Kantelberg, Eco-Suite’s interior designer, says. To pair design with sustainable components, Gropper and Rambod Nasrin, Tridel’s manager of research and development, established life-cycle standards based on LEED principles and the IDSA-sponsored Okala Design Guide [see our October 2007 issue]. “If a company had a green product but they weren’t a green company,” Gropper adds, “we’d choose a greener company.” Besides assessing durability and checking whether manufacturers had certified their eco-friendly operations according to ISO 14001 criteria, the team considered variables such as local sourcing, indoor air quality, sustainable forest management, and recycled content.

We asked three experts to review Eco-Suite’s material decisions: Dr. Andrew Dent, vice president of library and materials research at Material Connexion; GreenSpec Directory coeditor and Building Green vice president Nadav Malin; and Matt Grigsby of Ecolect, an online sustainable-materials database. “I’m impressed with the way they were able to create an attractive interior with those material choices,” Dent says. In addition to parsing the choices, our experts weighed in on next-generation materials that will raise the bar on eco-functionality. Appropriately, all future Tridel ­interiors—though not outfitted or decorated as completely as this showcase—will attempt to emulate Eco-Suite’s performance.

See the rooms and our experts’ comments here..

Find out more facts about this story on the Reference Page: January 2008

Recent Programs