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March 25, 2014

Petition to OAA

Stop the OAA's Building Greenwash Fiasco

OAA Council approved a budget of almost $4 Million to proceed with “green”  improvements to its headquarters building. This amounts to  $179/s.f.! ($3,888,720 / 21,757 s.f.). A proponent sold the scheme to Council using estimates of future savings which were grossly inflated by using an absurdly low 2% discount rate, an absurdly long  25 year timeframe, unfounded assumptions about future energy cost increases and the questionable notion that there would be significant salvage value derived from existing HVAC components.

The scheme would maintain the energy inefficient Architectural form and appearance of the building while improving performance through a purely engineering solution.  This sends the message that Architects can design any building form because engineering services (and enough money) can make any building achieve sustainability goals.  In other words, the message is that it is Engineers, not Architects who can make buildings sustainable.

The OAA budget is currently in a surplus position.  These green improvements are expected to be funded, in part by future surpluses.  If the OAA is in a surplus position now and in the future, shouldn’t it lower fees rather than come up with new ways to spend members’ money? Although this green initiative is a social good and well intentioned, it is outside the OAA’s mandate under the Architect’s Act.  The OAA should leave the money in members’ pockets so that members can make their own decisions about which social goods to support. Pursuing a less comprehensive and less costly Green initiative was suggested by an OAA councilor, but Council voted the suggestion down.

An OAA councilor moved to put this enormous expenditure to the Membership in a referendum, but Council voted the motion down. The OAA should regard its monopoly power to levy fees as a solemn duty to Members rather than as an opportunity to fund pet projects such as this one.

Joining this petition will put pressure on the OAA to cancel or drastically scale back this massive, inappropriate expenditure of its Members’ money.

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