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10 Principles for a “genuinely sustainable” community

10 Principles for the community to rally around

Petite Rivière aspires to make “genuine sustainability” a reality in Montreal. This means exceeding the most rigorous standards for ecological buildings in materials management, water, energy and interior air quality. And, starting from the earliest concept stage, the project has been envisioned to be carbon neutral and produce zero waste while also enhancing the community’s health, well-being, culture and heritage. Groupe Pacific: committed to apply these 10 ambitious principles.

With this bold vision in mind, the Petite Rivière project team contacted BioRegional, an independent, non-profit environmental organization that has helped plan and provide arms-length verification for some of the most sustainable projects in the world for over a decade. BioRegional ’s mission is to partner with forward-thinking businesses to develop practical solutions for living within a fair share of the earth’s resources, and is headquartered in London, UK with North American offices in Ottawa.

Led by Greg Searle, BioRegional North America’s team of experts asked us to consider the ecological footprint of Montrealers: if everyone on Earth consumed resources at Québec rates, we would need 3.3 planets’ worth of resources to support us. BioRegional challenged us to think beyond green buildings and to consider reducing the ecological footprint of Petite Rivière residents by 70%, down to a truly sustainable “One Planet” level. If we could rise to this challenge, Petite Rivière would join select neighborhoods around the world that have been officially endorsed in the One Planet Communities (OPC) network.

To meet such an ambitious challenge, we had to call upon a strongly-integrated team of high level designers to create a set of world-class solutions for the site that would incorporate what the various interested parties were saying. We would need to create strategies for each of the 10 Principles that frame a One Planet Community:

    Build highly energy-efficient buildings and power them from new renewable sources..
    Reduce and reuse waste, ultimately sending zero waste to landfill/incineration.
    Boost the local economy by locally procuring sustainable healthy products, with low embodied energy, made from renewable or waste resources.
    Make low-impact, local, seasonal and organic diets more convenient and reduce food waste - enhancing the local economy and well-being.
    Use water more efficiently in buildings and in the products we buy; tackle local flooding and bring the Little Saint-Pierre River (Link 3.2) back to life by cleaning the effluent created upstream.
    Protect and restore biodiversity and natural habitats through appropriate land use and integration into the built environment. Regenerate ecosystems, encourage the return of animal species, and link the site with other green spaces in Montreal.
    Reviving local identity and wisdom; supporting and participating in the arts.
    Create bioregional economies that support fair employment, inclusive communities, affordable housing and green jobs, and international fair trade.
    Encourage active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well being. Adopt governance rules that ensure that project values endure and thrive.


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