Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MP is taking the LEED

Smith's office now an energy-efficient workplace

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OTTAWA -- Looking around MP Joy Smith's Henderson Highway constituency office, one might wonder how much work gets done.

The piles of paper, stacks of mail and wall-to-wall filing cabinets reminiscent of most politicians' busy offices are missing.

Smith, the Conservative MP for Kildonan-St. Paul, has turned her local office into a LEED-inspired, energy-efficient and nearly paperless office. It is the first MP's office in Canada with the design.

"I thought I could be an example," she said.

Among the changes were the addition of a skylight to bring in more natural light and renovations to make the whole office more energy-efficient.

Her monthly utility bills are down to less than $40.

Smith said the office hasn't received LEED certification because the contractor didn't apply for the proper paperwork while the renovation was being done. But the design follows LEED rules.

"We did everything we possibly could have," said Smith.

Smith's office used to spend $700 every four months on paper. The office has reduced that to $200.

"When you look around, you see very little paper," said Smith.

Her office is down to one filing cabinet. Every letter, report or fax that comes in is scanned into a computer system and then recycled.

"I had a huge change of policy," she said.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is an independent program to certify homes and offices have been built with a focus on sustainable design, construction and operation.

More than 2,600 buildings and homes in Canada have been LEED-certified.

There are 155 LEED-certified buildings in Manitoba, including the West End Cultural Centre, the Winnipeg Humane Society, the Strand condominiums on Waterfront Drive and the Brandon YMCA. There are numerous banks and credit unions, daycares, a number of hospital expansions and several schools on the list.

Smith said the renovations were done and paid for by the landlord of her office, which is in a strip mall on Henderson Highway.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2012 A2

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