December 2020

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Hatch Center at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON. Clan Mothers Healing Village, MB. D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | 23 Green Building Design P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TO M A R BA N /CO U RT E SY D I A M O N D S C H M I T T A RC H I T EC T S; R EN D ER I N G CO U RT E SY P R A I R I E A RC H I T EC T S Green building design gains more traction as a result of the pandemic by NATALIE BRUCKNER Socially Conscious R ather than hinder the progress of green building design, the COVID-19 pandemic has actu- ally spurred further interest in it. Awareness has grown to bet- ter understand that the term green building design now covers not just sustainability from a more systems-based approach but that it covers the broader context of creating buildings that are healthy for our world and for the occupants. The team at Diamond Schmitt Architects (DSAI) has found that the pandemic has also increased the focus on green building due to a number of cross- overs including air quality, fresh air supply, user comfort, and user control. "We are trying to find balance between conflict- ing agendas of high-performance buildings with lots of daylight and good ventilation – this is a core design challenge we are taking on," says Mike Szabo, principal at Diamond Schmitt. The situation we find ourselves in has also made discussions about green building design easier from a consultant perspective because as DSAI has found, there is more interest in the market. When it comes to green building design projects, DSAI continues to be at the forefront of exemplary builds, one of which is Red River College in Winnipeg that features an ambitious high-performance enve- lope with building integrated photovoltaics. Other great examples include: Alexandra Park in Toronto – a Passive House Pilot Project for afford- able housing; Hatch Center at McMaster University – a living lab for distributed power generation; and Zibi Residential in Ottawa – a district thermal plant run-off waste heat from Gatineau. Mathison Hall in Calgary also showcases the advancements in green building design as it aims for NetZero Carbon (CaGBC) and LEED platinum, at minimum. Prairie Architects agrees that the global pan- demic has certainly been front and centre, even when it comes to green building design, however, the team has witnessed an increasing focus on indoor air quality and ventilation as well as space planning and layouts to enhance or maintain physical distancing. "In some cases it has challenged us to think differ- ently about the way we design spaces for gathering, and in other cases it has provided further evidence and justification for a highly sustainable approach to the design and construction of buildings," says Lindsay Oster, principal architect at Prairie. Prairie Architects has been working on a num- ber of green building design projects including North End Women's Centre Redevelopment project in Winnipeg's North End, which is currently in the early design stages. "Key objectives of the redevel- opment project are to create a healthy building for occupant wellbeing as well as providing a leader- ship role for sustainable mixed-use developments, including deep retrofitting of existing buildings." The design of the project has been based on early energy simulations using ECO-Matrix as well as benchmark metrics that create a healthy build- ing that optimizes energy (including embodied energy), water, and material conservation. The project is also assessing net-zero carbon and net- zero energy ready opportunities with an emphasis on Passive Design solutions. Other great projects include the Clan Mothers Healing Village, whose intent is to develop a sus- tainable site with the ability to operate off-grid and generate utilities, including power, heat, and wastewater filtration. The site is planned to incor- porate solar powered energy and wastewater biofiltration systems. Prairie is also nearing construction completion of the Churchill Marine Observatory (CMO), which is a research facility for the University of Manitoba. CMO is a highly innovative and globally unique facility, addressing issues pertaining to Arctic marine transportation and exploration. The team at Parkin Architects has also wit- nessed a new acceptance or push from the general population for green design, or socially conscious initiatives. "I think people are becoming more 'green' versed and are demanding more from their built environments and the products they use every day," explains Shannon Wright, associate at Parkin. She adds that what is both challenging and exciting is the incentive for those in the build- ing industry to rethink how we design built environments and how we can minimize our impact globally and contribute positively to the users. As the green building design sector continues to change and adapt, with it comes an abundance of new and leading-edge information, as Wright explains: "Currently I am involved in attending the virtual Building Lasting Change (BLC) 2020 confer- ence held by the Green Building Council. The BLC 2020 facilitates an invaluable deep discussion with professionals sharing knowledge, projects, technol- ogies, and successes in green building design." Parkin has been involved in a number of excit- ing projects in the green building design sector of late, including the York Regional Police Facility that is currently under construction and is targeting completion in 2021. "Aside from the anticipated tar- geted LEED Silver certification, a heavy emphasis has been placed on the building envelope to ensure optimal building performance to reduce the build- ing load and reliance on mechanical and electrical systems. Rethinking how we utilize 'waste energy' and 'waste heat' from mechanical systems, as well as including natural energy sources such as geo- thermal for heating the building were key factors in the building design. "In this case, the client was very committed to building a low carbon building in an effort to meet the future 2031 York Region goals for carbon reduc- tion. Achieving these goals are only possible when everyone is on board including the client, consul- tants, and general contractors." Recent news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna joined Canada Infrastructure Bank Chair Michael Sabia to unveil $10 billion in new infrastructure initiatives has also spurred interest in the green building design market. "This investment has the power to kickstart the green economy, and meaningfully lower carbon emissions. Our members and stakeholders in the green building industry are prepared to deliver the low-carbon, energy-efficient retrofits that will help Canada reach its climate targets, create jobs, and build healthier, more resilient communities," says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). Since the spring, CaGBC, along with partners, members and allies, has been pushing the benefits of a green recovery. Soon to be released research shows that an investment in green

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