New Engineering project marvel of conservation
By Brandon Watson
January 10, 2008
The ground breaking on the new engineering building addition will
be in the true spirit of sustainability.
As the Bio-engineering building is dismantled to make way for
the new facility, portions will be sold and recycled.
It is an event that Physical Plant Project Manager, Mike
DeJager has been anticipating since the project's inception a year
This new building will put Western into elite company," says
DeJager. "There are only three other buildings on Ontario
campuses that meet the high standard in sustainable design."
The Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, also known as the
"Green Building", will feature dozens of demonstration and
functional sustainability design features in support of the
environment related engineering programs it houses.
One of the most significant accomplishments of the $20+
million building will be the anticipated Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the Canadian
Green Building Council.
The LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based
national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable
A LEED point system, which grades the amount of sustainable
influence on the design and development of the project, determines
the certification level. Gold certification is just one level below
the highest, platinum certificate.
The Pavilion will have a roof like no other on campus.
Grasses, local native plants, and maybe even trees will be planted
on roof surface. The green space will control rain run-off and
reduce the heat island affect, by naturally absorbing the sun's
rays as opposed to reflecting them back into the atmosphere.
A panel of photovoltaic solar cells and a demonstration wind
turbine are expected to be the most visible features from the
ground. They will generate and contribute a small amount of energy
to the building.
The building by design will be energy efficient. Natural light
and open areas are plentiful in order to reduce energy consumed for
lighting. It has been proposed in some areas that a light meter
will automatically dim lighting fixtures that are being superceded
by the sunlight that is filtering in.
Low water use faucets are being specified, along with
dual flush toilet and low flow urinals. Most notable for the
plumbing infrastructure is the provision of a cistern. This
water-recovery system will gather rain runoff and contribute to a
portion of the water for use in the toilets and urinals.
A heat recovery system will be in place on the fume hood
exhaust system on top of the building. The reusable heat source
will be coupled to the traditional heating system and contribute to
Areas that are vacant for long periods of time will have the
amount of air flow reduced, thereby decreasing the demand on the
heating or cooling supply and the energy used to circulate
Even the construction process of the new building is governed
by strict guidelines. Before a single grain of dirt is turned on
the site, the process of sustainable construction is
As well, the architect who designs the building must adhere to
sustainable practices. The materials purchased for the job must
have a certain ratio of recycled content and/or ordered through a
forest stewardship program (rapid renewal).
Contractors will be accountable for a clean and efficient
construction site, putting less strain on the environment around
that immediate area.
Following these steps will result in a unique structure,
giving students the opportunity to observe the building's
"Enhancing the 'student learning experience' and
inspiring innovative research will be a follow on effect from the
facility," says DeJager.
One way that is achieved is by making the environmental
features of the building visibly accessible. Areas have been
designated to display the operational aspects of the building's
For example, the amount of water conserved by the cistern or
the amount of energy gathered by the wind turbine will be
calculated and projected for all to see. The observation areas will
translate the building's energy efficiency data into a real-time,
sustainability report card.
The pavilion will be completed in Summer 2009 - in time for
the fall session.
Brandon Watson is a communications officer with Physical
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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