April 1 , 2024

Episode Summary

Jeff Ranson, Director of Responsible Development at Northcrest Developments, discusses his interest in sustainability and how mass timber fits into sustainable building design. He highlights the beauty and form of mass timber as a compelling aspect and its potential for creating good urban density. Ranson describes mass timber in relation to the development goals of the Downsview Airport Lands master plan, touching on sustainability, economic viability, and procurement methods. He discusses areas for innovation in mass timber construction and the importance of considering the environmental impacts of different building materials as a system. Ranson emphasizes the role of mass timber in addressing the housing crisis and the potential for hybrid structures and low carbon materials in the future. 

In This Episode

Jeff joined Northcrest Developments to lead the Responsible Development strategy for the redevelopment of the 370-acre Downsview Airport Lands in Toronto. He brings two decades of experience with sustainability leadership positions at BOMA Toronto, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Sustainable Buildings Canada, and Toronto 2030 District. He frequently advises on public policy including appointments to the City of Toronto Climate Advisory Group and the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel (2017-2023). 

He received his MDes and the President’s Award for Graduate Studies at OCADU for his work on developing market transformation roadmaps for low-carbon housing in Peru and holds an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.   

Jeff Ranson

“Spending a dollar tomorrow is a lot cheaper than a dollar today – which is the exact opposite of carbon. So the idea that you take embodied carbon, and you amortize that carbon over the life of the building every 50 years, discounts the fact that that carbon was emitted today, up front, which has climate forcing impact”

“By increasing the scope of what we can build using wood based products and other biomaterials, it helps address the overall sustainability of mass timber. You’re using what you can structurally, but you’re using byproducts in really productive ways as well” 

“Biophilic design isn’t just about planting a bunch of green stuff in cities, it’s about really understanding the human connection to nature, the visual cues, but also the patterns and shapes of the spaces that we occupy” 

Connect with Jeff

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.