Environment building University of Waterloo achieves LEED® Platinum

1st March, 2013

Environment 3, the newest building at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, has earned LEED® Platinum status, reportedly the first at an Ontario university and only the second on a campus in Canada.

Working with Akitt Swanson & Pearce Architects and WalterFedy, a full-service integrated design firm, Cooper Construction oversaw the design and construction of the building, which also hosts Waterloo’s School of Planning and the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development. The “bright and spacious” Minto atrium contains a two-storey, plant-covered, living wall connected to the ventilation system. It removes volatile organic compounds and acts as a living air filter for the entire building.

Using sustainable wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and 88 per cent recycled steel, the building was constructed using a structural system allowing it to sit on top of the existing Environment 2 building, thus minimizing the structure’s physical footprint on the Waterloo campus.

Water efficiency is achieved through automatic, low-flow faucets, and low-flush toilets and urinals that use rainwater collected from the roof and filtered through the wetlands outside, reducing the building’s water consumption by 87 per cent compared to a standard plumbing system. The careful placement of the windows maximizes daylight in working spaces, with automatic sensors controlling artificial light during dark hours.

The university said these modifications help Environment 3 consume 45 per cent less energy than a standard building of its size.

This article was published in the Daily Commercial News on February 27th, 2013, and is reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

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