Smart Technologies Inc.’s 211,000-sf headquarters in Calgary, Alberta recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard certification. The designation is part of an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies intended to save energy, use water efficiently, reduce CO2 emissions and improve indoor and outdoor environmental quality.
The decision to build hte headquarters to meet a LEED Gold standard evolved naturally from discussions to determine the kind of space that would create the best working environment for all staff, while minimizing the environmental impact.
To meet the strict standards required for certification, the company engaged the services of a LEED-accredited consulting firm, Foraytek Inc., which developed LEED management plans and coordinated their implementation with design consultants at GEC Architecture and construction advisors at CANA Construction. The LEED framework includes 70 points divided into 5 major categories related to the building, including sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials used in construction, and indoor environmental quality.
The company took many steps to ensure the headquarters was constructed and operated in a sustainable manner, including:
· Proximity and access to public transit. Local Light Rail Transit and bus service are both within easy walking distance.
· The light-colored, reflective roof reduces cooling requirements during summer months and mitigates the common effects of urban heat islands. These islands are dark heat-absorbing surfaces, such as roadways, parking lots and roofs, that absorb the sun’s heat during the day only to emit it back at night, effectively changing the climate within the immediate area.
· Underground parking rather than traditional outdoor paved parking allowing for more drought tolerant, indigenous landscaping at grade and around the building to absorb rainwater. With only a small paved area for visitor parking, the company has reduced the UHI effects associated with large areas of pavement.
· Water-saving features such as ultra-low-flow faucets and waterless urinals used throughout the building.
· Energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems with an estimated savings of 50% over a reference building of similar size. Advanced building control systems allow lights to be turned on and off depending on ambient light levels and sunshades to be lowered. The system includes motion activated light sensors in select rooms.
· Recycling stations for glass, plastic, tin, cardboard and paper, organics and batteries.
· Waste materials separated during construction allowed for more than 75% to be recycled or diverted from landfill. Many of the materials used in the building have a substantial recycled component.