Calgary's new water-friendly Water Centre flush with gold

August 11, 2010

The city of Calgary's new $43 million Water Centre office building, which houses the city's water services and water resources business units, is the first office project in Alberta to earn LEED Gold. This is the Canadian city's second first.

In 2004, Calgary was the first Canadian jurisdiction to adopt a sustainable building policy. For the past four years, Calgary has required all city-owned developments, including new construction and major renovation projects, to meet or exceed LEED Silver, as outlined by the Green Building Council of Canada.

The four-story, 183,000-sf Water Centre was penned by the Canadian architecture firms Manasc Isaac Architects (Edmonton) and Sturgess Architecture (Calgary). Their curving, flowing design evokes the shape of a wave, and their choice of blue and green glazing is fitting for a building serving the business of water.

In their bid for LEED Gold, the Water Centre designers zeroed in on water and energy conservation, which is expected to reduce the building's operational costs by 40%, compared to a standard commercial office facility. Highlights include:

72% reduction in water waste and 59% reduction in water use, thanks to low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings, a green roof, rainwater harvesting, and grey water landscaping irrigation.52% savings in annual energy consumption. A significant 95% of the facility is daylit. An underfloor ventilation system cuts energy use by 20%. Operable windows allow for natural ventilation.91% of construction waste was recycled.Reclamation of a brownfield site.Significant use of green building materials, including fly ash concrete, recycled steel, wood purchased under the Forestry Stewardship Council program, low-VOC products, and wheatboard millwork, shipped in from Saskatchewan.

The city of Calgary expects to operate the Water Centre virtually maintenance-free for the next 35 years, which must be another first for a government office building.

         
 

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