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McMaster University sets record for most LEED certifications on Canadian campus


McMaster University’s Engineering Technology Building has achieved LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). This project joins three other LEED certified buildings at McMaster’s Hamilton campus, a record for a Canadian university or college.

“McMaster has demonstrated its organizational commitment to energy-efficient buildings and has provided an effective model for other post-secondary institutions looking to go green,” says Braden Kurczak of Enermodal Engineering, LEED and energy efficiency consultant for the Engineering Technology building. “The Engineering Technology building is a great hands-on learning tool for engineering students to put the concepts they learn in the classroom into action.” Designed by Vermeulen/Hind Architects, this 11,600-sq.-m. building includes teaching, administrative, support and laboratory spaces, and the green features of this building are incorporated into classroom learning and research.

This building has a 40 cubic metre cistern which collects roof run-off, and stores it to supply non-potable indoor water uses, such as low-flow fixtures and toilets are found throughout this facility. This minimizes the need to use energy intensive treated municipal water. A particularly progressive water efficiency feature in this building is a water treatment system that purifies harvested rainwater using chlorine and ultra-violet (UV) light, bringing the water to drinking quality.

The implementation of energy saving features into this building has resulted in a 35 per cent energy savings, and includes:

  • A heat recovery system utilizes waste energy from building exhaust air to pre-condition incoming ventilation air.
  • With variable speed drives on pumps and fans, the amount of energy used to move energy around the building is decreased. Only the necessary amount of air is provided (ramped down during low occupancy periods).
  • Almost 35 per cent of all energy consumed by buildings is lost through poorly performing building enclosures. The Engineering Technology Building features a high performance curtainwall system with triple glazed windows.

To reduce the greenhouse gas impact of the building, the University will supply 100 per cent of the building’s electrical use for two years of operation from green power sources.

The building’s energy use is being monitored and is currently performing very well (within four per cent of its predicted energy savings calculated by the LEED consultant’s design energy model).

During construction, waste was separated into bins by material to facilitate recycling. As a result, 97 per cent of construction waste was salvaged or recycled. At the Engineering Technology Building, 37 per cent of building materials are regionally sourced (extracted and manufactured) – this limits the emissions that result from transporting materials. Of all wood products in the building, 54 per cent are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, meaning that they have been harvested from sustainably managed forests. All adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings, and composite wood products found in the building contain low levels of VOCs.

To make building interiors inspiring and welcoming, copious views to the outside and ample daylight have been provided in key areas of the building. On the south side of the building, a 2-storey garden space provides a connection with the natural world and helps to naturally filter contaminants from building air.

Project Team

Owner: McMaster University

Architect: Vermeulen/Hind Architects

M/E Engineer: Vanderwesten Rutherford Mantecon

LEED/Energy Consultant: Enermodal Engineering Ltd.

Construction Manager/Contractor: Bird Construction




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