Mohawk College’s Joyce Centre certified as ‘Zero Carbon Building’

Mohawk College has been awarded Zero Carbon Building – Design certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) for the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. The Joyce Centre is the second building to receive the certification. The first was a multi-tenant office building in Waterloo, Ontario. Designed by B+H and mcCallumSather and built by EllisDon, the Hamilton facility will be one of the region’s first net zero energy institutional buildings when it opens its doors to students.Joyce Centre, Mohawk College, Zero Carbon Building

In 2017, the Joyce Centre became one of 16 projects from across Canada to be chosen as a pilot project for CaGBC’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard. New construction projects earn Zero Carbon Building – Design certification by modeling a zero carbon balance, highly efficient envelope and ventilation systems to meet a defined threshold for thermal energy demand intensity, and onsite renewable energy systems capable of providing a minimum of five per cent of building energy consumption.

Developed to be broadly applicable, the Standard can be used by new and existing commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings. The Standard is unique in that it is the first in North America to use carbon instead of energy efficiency to measure a building’s impact. Recognizing the choice of energy sources and the carbon intensity of regional electrical grids is critical to accurately assessing environmental impacts and guiding investments. The Zero Carbon Building program reinforces the importance of energy efficiency while also driving careful choices about the types of energy used and encouraging more renewable energy generation both on the building site and offsite.Joyce Centre, Mohawk College, Zero Carbon Building

B+H Managing Principal Lisa Bate celebrated the accomplishment, describing the Joyce Centre as “A new archetype for learning environments in Canada that recognize and encourage innovation. It’s not just a lab building. In many ways, it’s also a teaching tool for students, training them to deliver a more sustainable future. Its environment explores the symbiotic relationship between all stakeholders and underscores the importance of a cultural shift in how we interact with our built environment—from unrestricted consumption to personal accountability.”

mcCallumSather CEO Joyce McCallum shared more details about the design process, and the various elements that contributed to achieving the industry-leading standard. “In addition to generating all of the building energy needs through renewable solar photovoltaic panels, we worked diligently to enhance sustainable features using natural materials, maximizing natural light and views, applying finishes strategically, integrating water conservation measures and green roofs,” she said. “We believe this facility will serve as inspiration for what can be achieved through a unified team process to integrate innovative design solutions and proven building system technologies to achieve net zero energy and zero carbon facilities.”

Project teams are required to evaluate energy use holistically, including impacts on peak electricity, and determine the GHG emissions associated with structural and envelope materials. Both new and existing buildings can obtain the standard.

“We’re honoured to receive the Zero Carbon Building – Design certification. The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will not only be a showcase for green construction but also a living lab that will teach future generations how to build better, more sustainable buildings,”said Mohawk College President, Ron McKerlie.

Built by EllisDon in collaboration with mcCallumSather and B+H, the Joyce Centre is also the subject of a recently published EllisDon report, which outlines the challenges and innovations — and lessons learned — throughout the building’s design and construction process.

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