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The University of Calgary is one of 16 participants, and one of only three post-secondary institutions across Canada, to take part in a two-year pilot program to help finalize the Canada Green Building Councils (CaGBC) new Zero Carbon Building Standard.
Pilot program participants aid in the development of tools, resources and education to drive change in the green building industry. The Zero Carbon Building Standard links greenhouse gas emissions with green building performance in Canada.
A zero carbon building is a highly energy-efficient building that produces onsite, or procures carbon-free renewable energy to offset the annual carbon emissions created by building operations and the day-to-day activities of the occupants of the building.
This opportunity allows the University of Calgary to play a leadership role in sustainable building design in Canada with the redevelopment of the MacKimmie Complex as one of the first projects striving for certification with CaGBCs new Zero Carbon Building standard, says Joanne Perdue, chief sustainability officer. Participation in the pilot program also aligns with our Institutional Sustainability Strategy and the goals outlined in the Framework for Sustainability in Administration and Operations of aspiring to attain net carbon neutrality and becoming one of the most energy-efficient campuses in Canada.
The timing was perfect for the university to apply for consideration for the pilot program earlier this year. Right from the start of the MacKimmie Complex redevelopment we set out to design an energy-efficient building, says Boris Dragicevic, associate vice president, Facilities Development. Our participation in this pilot program offers us the opportunity to learn from our peers how this might be made possible within an Alberta context with an eye to fiscal responsibility, while still delivering the space and program that supports the needs of our campus.
The MacKimmie Complex Redevelopment Project will also be a showcase for the University of Calgary Campus as a Learning Laboratory (CLL) initiative. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to connect research with design, construction and operational challenges related to achieving zero carbon through experiential learning and applied research project on sustainability in the built environment. Research projects could range from life cycle assessments, research on energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies and technologies, to data visualization of building performance metrics and development of apps to help influence how occupants contribute to reducing building energy use.
The most exciting part of participating in the pilot program, says Perdue, is that we will be renewing the MacKimmie Complex for the next 50 years through a focus on clean tech innovation, while providing important research and experiential learning opportunities.