Manitoba Hydro Place Hits New LEED Heights

Manitoba Hydro Place

Manitoba Hydro Place has reached new heights in green design, earning the distinction of being Canada’s first large office tower to receive LEED Platinum certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

The 22-storey building exceeded even its own lofty aspirations, having originally aimed to receive LEED Gold certification. Taking up a full block in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro Place was completed in 2009 and designed through a collaboration between Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), Smith Carter Architects and Engineers, Manitoba Hydro and climate engineers Transsolar.

Manitoba Hydro Place has demonstrated strong energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption by upwards of 70 per cent compared to typical office towers. According to Manitoba Hydro, the building uses less than 85 kilowatt hours of energy per square metre, considerably lower than the 300 kW/h used by typical office towers. This leads to annual energy savings of some $500,000.

The building also features a solar chimney, a geothermal heating and cooling system, green rooftops and windows that open and close in response to the outdoor clime.

“The Canada Green Building Council 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,” said 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.”

Tom Akerstream of Manitoba Hydro noted that the building has become a destination for foreign, domestic and corporate luminaries, who look to it for inspiration and ideas on how to consume less energy and lessen the environmental impacts of their own buildings.

Manitoba Hydro Place Interior

“Our main intent was to demonstrate that creating the most energy efficient, sustainable building also meant providing the highest quality of space,” he said. “While our original goal was LEED Gold, we are absolutely honoured to have reached LEED Platinum status, as conferred on the building by the Canada Green Building Council.”

The LEED Platinum certification is the latest in a series of awards with which the building has been presented. It also won the 2009 Best Tall Building in the Americas award from the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the 2010 National Urban Design Award and 2011 Innovation in Architecture award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a 2010 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award, among various others.

Design architect Bruce Kuwabara of KPMB said the LEED Platinum building can serve as an example for future projects, demonstrating that sustainability can be achieved through creativity and collaboration, pointing out that the office tower “demonstrates that one building can simultaneously create a synthesis of design excellence, integrated high performance sustainability, air quality, healthy work environment and city revitalization.”

Manitoba Hydro has monitored the building closely to ensure it was meeting sustainability targets. In fall 2012, the company is expected to publicly release the performance results it has collected in the two years since Manitoba Hydro Place was built.

By Anthony Morales
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