Touted as the cornerstone of sustainable engineering, the Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building on campus, opened its doors during Homecoming celebrations Saturday.
Pierre and Christian Lassonde (centre) chat with members of Western’s Formula Racing Team during a tour of the new ‘green’ building, named in honour of Claudette MacKay-Lassonde.
The $22-million, 45,000-square-foot building will house research on green technologies, processes and materials and, at the same time, the building itself features environmentally sustainable construction technologies.
“The university’s new state-of-the-art teaching and research facility will be a benefit not only to engineering students, but the entire campus and beyond,” President Amit Chakma told a packed house that included donors, engineering students, staff and faculty, the London construction community and university staff who have been involved in the project.
“It will no doubt be the birthplace of many new ideas, discoveries and innovations, advancing our notion of a cleaner planet and a green place to live.”
Unique areas of the building to be studied include a green roof covered with flats of drought-resistant sedum, a hardy garden plant. The soil and plants insulate the building for sound, along with increasing the heating and cooling efficiency.
A wind turbine and solar panels are also located on the roof to generate electricity.
The building is named for Claudette MacKay-Lassonde, the first female president of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. She has been described as a strong advocate for the role of engineers in society, and tireless in her promotion of the profession as an attractive career for women. She died in 2000 following a battle with cancer.
Her son Christian, a Western Computer Science and Engineering grad from 1997 and 1998, says his mother would say: ‘I’m doing what I do because I believe in my profession and I care enough to make a difference.’
“This is an extension of what I, and my family, did to have this building built,” he says. “We really believe in our profession – we are all engineers – and we care enough to make a difference, inspired by my mother Claudette.”
Lassonde adds when the opportunity to help build the first LEED-certified building on campus arose, the family wanted to be involved and donated $5-million.
“It’s the type of building that through the educational and research facilities will enable those who walk the halls to hopefully believe in their profession, and learn enough and care enough to want to make a difference. That’s really the dream my mom always had, equal access to education for all and for those who have that access to go out and make our lives better.”
Within the building, the Richard Dillon Atrium is named in honour of the Western graduate and the Faculty of Engineering’s first dean. Dillon’s daughter Kelly Meighen (BA’71) is chair of the Development & Fund Raising Committee of the Board of Governors.
A donation of $1 million in honour of her father created a space Meighen said that will bring the faculty together. Dillon passed away in April 2008.
“His success in life and in relationships is in part due to the fact that dad had a complete absence of the means to dominate,” says Meighen, adding her father was at his best when collaborating with others. “This space within the Lassonde pavilion will provide the opportunity for students, faculty and visitors to come together to collaborate and enjoy their experience here at the Engineering school and we are delighted that it would have pleased him tremendously as it does us.”
Engineering Dean Andrew Hrymak says the opening of the building is a landmark day in the faculty.
“The building and the research and educational initiatives it will support are the cornerstones of what we now know as sustainable engineering,” he says.
The building is an example of how engineers are taking a holistic approach to benefit society by recognizing performance in human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, he says.
“Engineering is about pushing boundaries and I am very confident that our students will be recognized for becoming leaders in innovation and design, and sustainable engineering.”
Kelly Meighen, whose father Richard Dillon was the first dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and Western campaign chair Geoff Beattie took part in the building’s opening. The building’s atrium is named in honour of Dillon.
Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion
The second LEED-rated building in London; the other is the Sisters of St. Joseph’s residence;
Western is hoping for a gold LEED rating;
LEED certification will be sought for future construction such as Stevenson-Lawson and Physics buildings;
LEED certification adds five to 10 per cent to construction cost, with an estimate cost recovery of five to 10 years;
Water recovery – roof rainwater will be collected in a 10,000-litre cistern then filtered and used for the toilets;
Third floor is mainly Canadian Foundation for Innovation-funded labs;
A walking bridge connects with Thompson Engineering;
Atrium includes a garden of bamboo, sweet grass and other plants, along with a 150-gallon fish tank using water from the cistern.