CaGBC provides thoughts on the renovation of the Centre Block

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) shared more details on the renovation of the Centre Block. The 10-year project sets out to preserve Centre Block’s historical and architectural heritage while ensuring the structure and the new Welcome Centre can meet the needs of Canadians.

CaGBC provided its thoughts on how the development demonstrates a commitment to green building practices. According to the government of Canada, the project will embrace green building practices through their intention to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED and Zero Carbon Building Standard (ZCB Standard) certification.

“The Centre Block project’s impressive approach to sustainability and heritage preservation reflects a growing shift in building practices,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Building Council (CaGBC). “Addressing environmental sustainability and carbon is the new normal for public buildings, especially retrofits. By prioritizing green building practices in their approach to the Centre Block, PSPC is making a significant investment in Canada’s future.”

A conceptual drawing of the central entry into the Parliament Welcome Centre

According to a release by the Government of Canada, Centre Block will also be transformed from one of the government’s least-performing buildings, with one of the highest energy usages and greenhouse gas emission rates, into a carbon-neutral facility.

The rehabilitation of Centre Block will address sustainability, energy efficiency and climate resilience as well as accessibility. New approaches were explored to select and source sustainable materials and to improve the building envelope. Designed to minimize impact to the building’s stone façade, the envelope improvements include new windows and the addition of insulation to reduce air infiltration for better energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

The building’s new mechanical systems will also improve efficiency by capturing and repurposing waste heat, while potable water demand will be reduced through the use of rainwater and greywater for non-potable uses, like toilets or landscaping needs. As a result of its many sustainability features, the Centre Block project aims to pursue LEED and the ZCB Standard certification. When completed, PSPC estimates that the renovations will see energy consumption reduced by at least 75 per cent, and water consumption by over 50 per cent.

“This project supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to a carbon neutral building portfolio,” said Mueller. “Centre Block shows that “carbon neutral” isn’t just talk – the government is taking direct action and leading the way. By investing in sustainable, zero-carbon buildings, the government can play an active role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and setting Canada on the path towards a resilient and low-carbon economy.”

In Canada’s Green Building Engine report, CaGBC showed the growth of the green building sector and its potential for job creation – 1.5 million jobs by 2030 under a green recovery scenario that includes government investment and progressive policies.

“The Centre Block project is a watershed moment in green building,” said Mueller. “It showcases our technical capacity to build and retrofit to the highest possible standards at a national and international level. It reflects our collective priorities as Canadians – action on environment, climate change and inclusivity through accessibility. It’s an approach that will ensure the Centre Block remains Canada’s House for generations to come.”

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