In 2009, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson called together a Green Action Team and tasked them with setting standards to make the city the greenest in the world by 2020. Among its targets, the team sought to ensure that all new building construction would be carbon neutral, and that all existing buildings would increase their efficiency by 20 percent [source: City of Vancouver]. Today, the city employs a building code that requires all new municipal buildings over 500 square meters (5,382 square feet) in size to meet LEED Gold standards and incorporate passive design, an approach that takes advantage of natural movements in air and light to provide energy. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, the world saw a preview of the city's vision: an LEED Platinum-certified Olympic Village that housed athletes, which derived 90 percent of electricity for the games from hydroelectric power [source: Murphy].
Vancouver's quest for sustainable excellence can be seen in several buildings all around town. The Net Zero Building is the first Canadian multiunit residential building that consumes and creates an equivalent amount of energy. National Yards -- the base for the city's engineering crews -- is the first LEED Gold-certified building in Canada [source: City of Vancouver].