By Rachel Leber
WATERLOO, Ontario — An energy-efficient building project in Waterloo is currently underway with a goal of LEED-Platinum status. This building, known as Evolv1, will be the first multi-tenant office building of its kind in Canada with a goal to achieve a net positive carbon output, according to a recent statement.
This three-story sustainable office building is a collaboration between Sustainable Waterloo Region in Kitchener, Ontario (a nonprofit that helps local organizations to convert their sustainability goals into a reality), the Cora Group (a real estate developer) in Waterloo, and anchor tenant EY Canada, formerly Ernst and Young. The architect on the project is Stantec in Waterloo. The 110,000-square-foot building has a budget of $35 million, and construction is set to start in April 2017 with a completion date set for sometime in 2018.
Green design features that will help Evolv1 to achieve LEED-Platinum status include the use of triple-glazed glass, high levels of insulation and motion and digitally-controlled LED lighting fixtures, according to a statement. The building will make use of a geo-exchange system that extracts heat from the ground to heat the building on cold days, and cools the building by sending excess heat into the ground on cold days. The building will have an array of approximately 1.5 acres of solar panels on the roof — and on the carport — that will generate clean electricity. The building will also have direct access to the Ion light rail transit system, Waterloo’s rapid transit system that connects the three major urban centers of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.
The team’s plan of achieving LEED-Platinum status is just the beginning of their overarching goal. With the team’s plan to build a net positive energy building, they will become one the most energy-efficient office buildings in Canada. Additionally, the group wants to change the way offices are built in Canada by proving the business case for “going green.”
“We want to disrupt the industry with what we’re going to build,” said Adrian Conrad, chief operating officer at Cora. “It’s our belief we’re going to be able to demonstrate to the industry that you can develop a net-positive energy building without paying a significant premium.”
The building is a practical example that sustainable buildings are affordable. While energy-neutral buildings are becoming more common in Canada, net-positive ones are still unusual, according to Conrad.