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Credit: Flickr / [travelfox]

Vancouver is promoting its green buildings with downloadable audio tours

Learn more about Vancouver's green infrastructure on your own time, at your own pace

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of an eco geek. As I plan my "someday" home – which will have a composting toilet, roof top garden, water catchment, solar panel and other sustainable features – I really like to visit places that are already having green success.

Which is why I was so excited when I recently came across one of Vancouver’s more intriguing tours.

The Green Building audio tours (you can also hear them via phone by calling 604-673-8150) offer the chance to visit some of Vancouver’s most environmentally forward-thinking public buildings, where you can be virtually guided through the building’s features by the architect or a member of the design team. The best part? You can do it on your own time.

The tour includes several of the buildings that were built for the 2010 Olympics, as well as a number of community centres:

As you listen to the short podcasts (most of which are around three minutes long) you’ll discover why windows are placed in certain locations, how the buildings manage storm water runoff, what types of rooftop gardens are installed and much, much more.

Personally I would have enjoyed a longer podcast, which is why I found the Sea to Sky Green Guide so handy. Just click on one of the buildings to learn interesting facts like:

  • The Olympic Paralympic Centre Rainwater collects and stores rainwater for use in toilets, reducing the amount of potable water used in the facility by up to 30 per cent.
  • The South East False Creek Community Centre installed windows with consideration for natural wind and airflow patterns to promote cross-ventilation, which helps keep the building cool in summer.
  • The interior of the Vancouver Convention Centre uses local, second growth Hemlock, a wood that is a readily available.

So checkout all the great buildings in Vancouver and make note of the eco-techniques you might be able to use in your own home.