Fittingly enough, two new buildings located on the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) have earned notice as some of the greenest campus buildings in the world.
The Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research and the neighbouring Arts and Sciences Building have both been awarded five Green Globes™, a Canadian measure determining a site’s sensitivity to environmental issues.
Issued by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Green Globes examine a building’s sustainability with respect to a number of factors, including emissions, resource use, energy use, water and others.
The UBCO buildings are the first campus buildings in the world to earn five Green Globes and are also the first paired buildings in any field to garner the prestigious distinction. In fact, the 6,759 square metre Fipke Centre was the first building in all of Canada to earn such a title.
Designed by Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd in collaboration with the UBC Properties Trust, the sites were singled out for their environmentally-friendly nature despite the fact that they contain elements that are traditionally less ecologically-sound.
Both the Fipke Centre and the Arts and Sciences Building contain laboratories, which typically consume between five and 10 times as much energy as a typical office building per square foot and rank as the most energy-consuming types of sites in all fields.
To help overcome this, Kasian employed a holistic process when building the sites. Rather than treating each part of the building separately, the architects ensured that the building systems work together symbiotically. Early analysis shows the Fipke Centre is 46 per cent more energy-efficient than a standard reference building of its ilk.
The centre makes use of a geo-exchange groundwater energy system to help fuel its heating and cooling needs, which allows it to reduce its consumption of regular grid-based power. It also employs a wind tower for air exchange.
In addition to labs, both buildings include classroom spaces, offices and common areas to accommodate and support a wide variety of learning opportunities and cutting-edge research projects. The Arts and Sciences Centre is also home to a theatre space and an animal care facility.
Michael McDonald, Kasian’s project director for both sites, said the two buildings could serve as an example when it comes to the sustainable development of learning spaces.
“These multi-purpose academic and research facilities take the understanding of environmental design to a new level, supporting the growth of a locally responsive, but globally conscious community at UBCO,” he said. “These buildings set the benchmark for sustainable design for university campuses worldwide.”