In conventional industry sectors, the running of a building doesn’t get quite as much attention as its pre-completion stage. Central focus relies on the design and how it is built.
In the green building sector, the running stage is where a building can truly shine, but also where the pressure really mounts. That is because green buildings are not purely ornamental. They are buildings that have been designed and constructed for a function, that function being to outperform conventional buildings in terms of energy efficiency and carbon emission output.
Some developments do not meet their goals. Others blow them out of the water.
One such development is the newly titled greenest office building in Canada, Manitoba Hydro Place. The company’s headquarters has proven its worth after having its energy performance closely monitored over the past two years. The building has shown an overall energy reduction of 70 per cent in comparison to conventional buildings, with an estimated company savings of $500,000 on energy costs annually. Through a number of clever technologies that aid in the high energy performance running of the building, its uses under 85kWh of energy per square metre in comparison to average 300kWh office building.
It is due to the building’s ambitiously-met – and exceeded – green building and running goals that the Canada Green Building Council awarded the office building a LEED Platinum certification, outdoing its LEED Gold expectations.
“The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) would like to congratulate those who worked on Manitoba Hydro Place for helping it receive LEED Platinum – the highest and most rigorous level of certification that can be achieved,” says CaGBC President and CEO, Thomas Mueller. “In order to meet such a high standard, the design team had to take the extra step and look at innovative design and construction strategies. This resulted in exceptional energy performance.”
These performance-enhancing strategies are centred around the company’s goal to create a workplace that was not only highly productive, but had premium air and light quality.
In response to these ambitions, weather responsive operational windows were included in the build and have proven to thoroughly reduce a reliance on electrical heating and cooling, also increasing the building’s interior air quality. This green effect is compounded by the inclusion and implementation of a geothermal heating and cooling system, which controls interior climate. Reliance on interior heating and cooling is also reducing due to the implementation of green roofing systems and a solar chimney.
The efficient running of buildings is in the spotlight now more than ever before. While this may seem like a daunting task for those looking to develop a highly energy efficient building, if the Manitoba Hydro Place is anything to go by, going green may just exceed expectations.