McMichael gallery first LEED Canada EB:O&M certified institutional facility

By recently receiving LEED Silver certification, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection recently became the first LEED Canada EB:O&M certified institutional building and only the third LEED Canada EB:O&M certified building of any type.

“What we’ve found with EB:OM is that changing how we operate and live in our buildings is often more difficult than making efficiency upgrades to mechanical systems,” says Stephen Carpenter, president of Enermodal Engineering, the LEED consultant, mechanical retrofit consultant, and renewable energy consultant on this project. “The McMichael Canadian Art Collection has not only optimized their building’s performance but their own modus operandi. This museum sets an incredible example for others organizations and existing building owners looking to make an environmental difference.”

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EB:O&M) encourages existing building owners to green their operations (including waste diversion and purchasing policies) and increase the energy efficiency of their facilities through retrofits or operational changes.

A significant challenge for many older buildings, such as the Collection (const. 1965), is achieving proper levels of ventilation for human health and to meet current ventilation standards. To increase the amount of ventilation air in the Collection, seven energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) were added. These ERVs are an efficient way to bring in more outdoor air as heat and humidity from outgoing air is used to pre-treat incoming air. Additionally, 6 kW of PV panels were added to the roof of the building.

In terms of lighting retrofits, the Collection’s offices now have efficient T5 ballasts connected to occupancy sensors and occupant dimming controls to increase energy efficiency. This lighting upgrade was one of several new features that helped the Collection use 33 per cent less energy than other museums and galleries. As a result of these changes, the building uses 33 per cent less energy than other museums/galleries.

In 2008, the Collection underwent a renovation to its public washroom facilities. With the EB:O&M process underway, the museum decided to use this renovation as an opportunity to decrease its water use by installing low-flow water fixtures.

Despite an existing recycling policy, one area that the Collection wanted to improve was waste diversion. The Collection’s waste management contractor completed a waste stream audit to identify potential ways to increase the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. The audit identified that as a building containing a restaurant, the Collection produced a significant amount of organic waste. Therefore, the Collection and waste management contractor implemented an organics program to send this waste to a composting facility. As a result, the facility now has a 58 per cent waste diversion rate.

A new area of policy enacted by the Collection was in regards to tracking sustainable purchases. The Collection now thoroughly examines sustainable alternatives to all products purchased, which helped the project achieve three Exceptional Performance Innovation points under LEED. Examples of the products that were switched to more sustainable options include janitorial paper products and green housekeeping supplies.

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