The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation in green building performance from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system and the first for the University of British Columbia.
Designed by the architecture firm Perkins+Will, CIRS is a living laboratory where students, researchers and partners test and demonstrate designs and technologies to advance our understanding of sustainable building and community practices. The Platinum certification, awarded by Canada Green Building Council, recognizes UBC and Perkins+Will’s commitment to sustainable design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
“There are only 108 LEED Platinum buildings across the country and we are absolutely delighted that CIRS now stands among them,” says Ray Cole, the director of CIRS and a professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC.
Designed to promote research and innovation in sustainability, CIRS reduces UBC’s carbon emissions, utilizes waste heat from a neighbouring building, and harvests rainwater as a source of potable water. Made primarily from wood, the building stores over 900 tonnes of carbon. Some of the ongoing research at CIRS measures how the indoor environment impacts behaviour, human health, and happiness.
“As an innovative example of regenerative sustainability, the CIRS building will help us understand how buildings can offer positive benefits for both the environment and their inhabitants,” says Cole.
Since 2008, all new and renovated UBC buildings must meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification. UBC’s Vancouver campus currently has five Gold certified buildings, eight buildings awaiting certification and six more under construction. The new Student Union Building, projected to open in 2014, is on target to be UBC’s second LEED Platinum certified building.
Serving its community for 29 years, the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will is a multi-disciplinary design firm known for design excellence and innovation, approaching the challenges of architectural, interior and urban design with a global vision and unmatched resources. Led by a strong leadership group who provide a range of expertise and diverse perspectives, Perkins+Will Vancouver is able to maximize its clients’ vision, transforming ideas into built excellence.
This is the tenth project for the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will to be LEED Platinum certified, with four additional projects awaiting notification of their Platinum status.
“This certification marks the culmination of over 10 years of our firm and UBC working together toward a shared vision,” says Susan Gushe, Managing Director of the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will. “It is a true testament to the collaboration and outstanding efforts of a dedicated project and consultant team.”
“CIRS represents an important milestone in the green building industry,” adds Kathy Wardle, the Director of Research for the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will. “Not only has it attained the highest level of LEED certification, it will be one of the first projects in Canada to achieve Living Building Challenge petal recognition, the most rigorous green rating system in the marketplace.”
The firm’s Earth Sciences Building, which opened in 2012 at UBC, is also awaiting certification from the Canada Green Building Council at the Gold level.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings administered by the Canadian Green Building Council. LEED Certification is based on six performance areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.
Living Building Challenge
The Living Building ChallengeTM is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.