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Mohawk College awarded Zero Carbon Building – Design certification

Friday, June 1, 2018

Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation has been awarded Zero Carbon Building – Design certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). It is the first institutional building to receive the certification and the second building overall. The first was a multi-tenant office building in Waterloo, Ont.

In 2017, the Joyce Centre was one of 16 projects from across Canada selected as a pilot project for CaGBC’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard. New construction projects can earn Zero Carbon Building – Design certification by modeling a zero carbon balance, highly efficient envelope and ventilation systems to meet a defined threshold for thermal energy demand intensity, and onsite renewable energy systems capable of providing a minimum of five per cent of building energy consumption. Project teams are required to evaluate overall energy use, including impacts on peak electricity, and determine the GHG emissions associated with structural and envelope materials. Both new and existing buildings are able to achieve the standard.

“Achieving this standard has been a huge team effort. In addition to generating all of the building energy needs through renewable solar photovoltaic panels, we worked diligently to enhance sustainable features using natural materials, maximizing natural light and views, applying finishes strategically, integrating water conservation measures and green roofs,” said Joanne McCallum, CEO of mcCallumSather, in a press release. “We believe this facility will serve as inspiration for what can be achieved through a unified team process to integrate innovative design solutions and proven building system technologies to achieve Net Zero energy and zero carbon facilities.”

Mohawk achieved the building standard in part due to its curtain wall technology, which offers better insulation value than typical curtain walls. The facility is also all-electric, using no natural gas onsite. The Joyce Centre will feature nearly 500 solar panels mounted to canopies on its roof, as part of a campus-wide clean energy retrofit, which will see Mohawk installing nearly 2,000 solar panels overall. This solar panel system will produce 550,000 kilowatts of clean energy per year. The facility also features 28 geothermal wells that draw energy from more than 600 feet below the building.

“The Joyce Centre represents a new archetype for learning environments in Canada that recognize and encourage innovation. It’s not just a lab building. In many ways, it’s also a teaching tool for students, training them to deliver a more sustainable future,” added Lisa Bate, managing principal for North America at B+H Architects. “Its environment explores the symbiotic relationship between all stakeholders and underscores the importance of a cultural shift in how we interact with our built environment—from unrestricted consumption to personal accountability.”

The Joyce Centre will house new and existing programs as part of Mohawk’s School of Engineering Technology. It will feature high-tech labs and classrooms specializing in fields such as clean and renewable energy, sustainable design, technology automation, cyber security and materials manufacturing, among others.

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