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 ago.
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 buildings.
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.


Roof Top:
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 It has been proposed in some areas that a light meter will automatically dim lighting fixtures that are being superceded by the sunlight that is filtering in.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 space heating.
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 it.
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 underway.
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 operational functions.
"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 systems.
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 Plant.


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