6 of the Most Iconic Canadian Green Buildings
The Canadian Green Building Council (CAGBC) champions green buildings that are not only good for the planet, but healthier for the people that live, work, and play inside them. Created with the ethos that sustainable buildings are a cost-effective solution for carbon reduction, innovation, and job creation, CAGBC aims to lead a movement transforming communities throughout Canada with zero-carbon green buildings, setting the country on course for a more sustainable future.
Here's a look at six prominent green buildings in Canada today, from Eighth Avenue Place in Calgary to the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus in Toronto.
EQ Bank Tower – Toronto, Ontario
Among other tenants, the EQ Bank Tower is to be the new headquarters of Think Research, a Canadian health startup that was involved in the fight against Covid-19, delivering clinical data and lifesaving operational tools to frontline workers. This 24-story tower was designed by Sweeny & Co. Architects. Due to be completed this year, EQ Bank Tower is located in Toronto’s Corktown district, a hub for tech workers. The tower’s living walls, green terraces, and energy efficient ventilation are designed to earn it LEED Gold certification.
Eighth Avenue Place – Calgary, Alberta
The development of Eighth Avenue Place was the cause of some controversy, since making space for the two new office towers necessitated the demolition of the old Penny Lane Mall. However, this impressive example of 21st century architecture is a significant new addition to the Calgary skyline. Including a 49-story tower and a 40-story tower, Eighth Avenue Place is certified LEED Platform for its core and shell; it's made history as one of the first office complexes of its class to gain this certification in Canada. Sustainability was a prime consideration during construction and in the final design; some of the building's green features include:
Recycling more than 75% of construction debris.
Using regional and recycled construction materials.
High efficiency lighting systems.
Low-flow, water saving plumbing features.
Shaded windows to reduce cooling needs.
A building-wide recycling program.
A green roof to absorb storm water.
A green cleaning program to eliminate reliance on harmful chemicals, reduce waste, and improve indoor air quality.
Manitoba Hydro Place – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg is known for its extreme temperature swings, with temperatures reaching as high as 34°C (93°F) in the height of summer and plummeting as low as -34°C (-29°F) in the winter. Located in the heart of the city, Manitoba Hydro Place combines environmental concepts with advanced technologies and has LEED Platinum certification. The A-shaped tower is built on a three-story podium, intersecting on the north side and diverging on the south, to promote both a constant flow of air and abundant sunlight.
This energy-efficient building incorporates narrow floorplates to allow sunlight to penetrate to the core, while curtain walls of iron-glass insulate the interior against both extreme heat and extreme cold. Manitoba Hydro Place’s colossal solar chimney stands some 115 meters tall and is a key green design element that facilitates ventilation of the entire structure. In addition, the building features a geothermal HVAC system. In 2009, CBC News described Manitoba Hydro Place as "one of the most energy-efficient towers in the world."
Aquabella – Toronto, Ontario
Combining condos with electricity generation, Aquabella is both a home and a power plant. It features solar panel cladding to generate power unobtrusively and help offset the energy that the building and its residents consume.Solar power is one of the most reliable—and cheapest—forms of renewable energy, but one drawback is that, until relatively recently, solar panels were bulky and had to be installed and maintained separately from the buildings on which they were placed. Aquabella's solar panels are called building-integrated photovoltaics, since they are a part of the building itself. Other building-integrated photovoltaics include solar shingles, shades, and windows. In the future, bulky solar panels attracted to racks on buildings may be a thing of the past.
Greenstone Building –Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
This four-story government building is constructed from a mix of concrete and fly ash, the use of which can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with concrete production by up to 40%. To heat the building, a curtain wall on its south side is specially designed to absorb and trap heat in winter. In an inner atrium, the curtain wall is covered with photovoltaic cells—this was one of the largest photovoltaic walls in the world at the time of the Greenstone Building's opening in 2005. This photovoltaic array generates 5% of the building's energy.
Each office has an outside view, while thermal systems running under the floor regulate the building’s ambient temperature. Greenstone Building also incorporates two roof gardens that play an integral role in its rainwater harvesting systems. Run-off water is used to irrigate the landscaping. In 2007, the Greenstone Building received LEED Gold certification, as well as an Innovation in Architecture Award of Excellence from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus – Toronto, Ontario
In 2019, Heather Reisman and Gerald Schwartz pledged $100 million to the University of Toronto with the aim of accelerating entrepreneurship and discovery in Canada. Due for completion this year, the 750,000-square foot Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus will incorporate research, lab, and event space, providing state-of-the-art facilities for the school’s cross-disciplinary community of entrepreneurs, students, academics, and scientists. Located in the Discovery District, the campus was designed by Toronto-based Teeple Architects, who incorporated numerous green building elements in the development’s design, including storm water capture, radiant floor heating, and vertical gardens, as part of efforts to secure LEED Gold certification