A hub for biology research and education at the University of British Columbia has received a $61.8 million makeover that provides more than 2,200 undergraduates and 370 researchers, staff and graduate students with brand new research labs and classrooms featuring the latest sustainability features, including one invented at UBC.
Funding for the renovation of West and South Wings of the Biological Sciences Complex was provided through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, including $30.9 million each from the provincial and federal governments. The project is part of Phase Two of UBC Renew, the University’s highly successful, multi-stage plan to renovate and refurbish – rather than demolish and rebuild – aging buildings on its Vancouver campus.
“The BioSciences Renew project is one of many examples where UBC is integrating the latest research and best practices in sustainability into the learning and working environment of our faculty, students and staff – and in turn contributing to the green economy of the province. The Core Sunlighting System featured in this renovation was invented by a UBC scientist and later licensed to a successful spin-off company,” said UBC President Prof. Stephen Toope.
Prof. Toope was joined today by Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Naomi Yamamoto, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, in the official unveiling of the renovated building.
“Investing in science and research is vital to Canada’s future economic growth,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “Our government’s investment in new and renovated research and academic facilities has created jobs, while giving researchers and students the tools they need to become the best in the world.”
“The Province is proud to be a partner in this project, which will benefit not only the students who come here for an education, but continue to be an example to other institutions here in Canada and around the world,” said Naomi Yamamoto, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education. “By choosing to refurbish and renovate the existing buildings, UBC is showing leadership in sustainable, environmentally sensitive construction practices.”
The BioSciences Renew Project has eliminated an estimated $56.2 million in deferred maintenance while bringing the buildings to LEED Gold standard.
The centerpiece of the building’s many sustainability features is the made-at-UBC Core Sunlighting System (CSS). Invented by UBC Physics Prof. Lorne Whitehead and licensed to Vancouver-based SunCentral Inc. – the system collects and channels sunlight deep into the building’s core. Automated special mirror arrays follow sun path and provide primary or supplemental lighting to three labs, even on cloudy days. Light sensors automatically adjust lighting levels for energy efficient florescent lights at night.
Along with upgrades for seismic and fire safety, the complex features a water management system that provides irrigation for surrounding landscaped areas and is integrated into UBC’s storm water flood control system to mitigate erosion. The building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were replaced with more efficient units. A heat recovery system – standard for all new and renewed UBC buildings – improves energy utilization. These features resulted in an estimated 41 per cent improvement on energy consumption above a comparable new building.
UBC Renew facts-at-a-glance
UBC Renew provides a smart strategy to tackle the looming and unavoidable costs for maintaining aging infrastructure, also known as the deferred maintenance debt.
With the completion of the Biological Sciences Complex renovation, UBC Renew has refurbished 12 buildings that result in the following savings:
- Avoided $ 113 million in new construction costs.
- 117 million mega joules of primary energy
- 27 million liters of water
- 3.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity
- 509 tonnes of coal.
- Prevented the emission of 8,380 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
- Diverted 3,720 tonnes of construction waste from landfill.
- Eliminated $133 million from UBC’s accumulated deferred maintenance debt, which currently stands at $548.2 million.
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