The Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building on The University of Western Ontario campus, officially opened its doors during Homecoming celebrations Saturday.
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 will feature advanced environmentally sustainable construction technologies and methodologies.
Western President Amit Chakma says 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.
Western President Amit Chakma
“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,” says Chakma.
A unique area of the building to be studied will be the green roof, which is covered with a series of flats that include seven species of drought-resistant sedum, a hardy garden plant. The soil and plants insulate the building for sound, along with increasing efficiency with cooling and heating throughout the year.
A wind turbine and solar panels are also located on the roof to generate electricity for the building.
Engineering Dean Andrew Hrymak says the opening of the building is a landmark day in the history of Western Engineering.
“The building, and its research and educational initiatives, are the cornerstone of what we now know as sustainable engineering,” he says, adding the building is a prime example how engineers are taking a holistic approach to benefit society by recognizing performance in human and environmental health, water savings, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.
“Engineering education is more than a classroom or lecture hall,” adds Hrymak. “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.”
The opening of the new engineering building also gave the university the chance to officially announce the launch of the public phase of its $500-million Make a Difference campaign (2007-2014).
To-date, more than $130 million, or 26 per cent of the overall goal, has been raised. The 2009-10 fundraising goal of $65 million sits at just over $13.1 million, or about 20 per cent.
Quick facts about The Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion:
• The pavilion will be the second green building in London – other is the Sisters of St. Joseph’s new residence;
• Western is hoping to get a Gold LEED rating;
• Western will also be aiming for LEED certification as it renovates buildings such as Stevenson-Lawson and the Physics buildings;
• Cost differential between regular building standards and LEED is approximately five to 10 per cent, with an estimate cost recovery of possibly five to 10 years;
• Water recovery – rainwater from the roof will be collected in a 10,000-litre cistern. The water will be filtered and used for the toilets;
• Third floor is mainly Canadian Foundation for Innovation funded labs;
• A walking bridge connects Thompson Engineering (third floor) and the green building (second floor);
• Atrium includes a garden of bamboo, sweet grass and other plants, along with a 150-gallon fish tank – also using water from the cistern.