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Canada’s largest net-zero building opens

Jez Abbott
08 Jan 2019

Students this fall were welcomed back to a new 96,000-square-foot, solar-powered and state-of-the-art research, learning and lab facility.

The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation is the newest addition to Mohawk College's Fennel Campus in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The new space will also be the future home to the Centre for Climate Change Management, and will create a new paradigm for sustainable building and education in North America. 

Designed by B+H in collaboration with mcCallumSather, the $54m centre is Canada’s largest, and the region's first, net zero institutional building. It is also the first out of 16 selected buildings in Canada to be completed under the the Canada Green Building Council's (CaGBC) new net zero carbon pilot program.

High-performance elements include 2,000 solar panels, a building envelope that minimizes heating and cooling loads while maximizing natural light, 28 geothermal wells that store excess heat during the summer for use in winter months, a storm water harvesting of up to 342,000 litres, and occupancy censor-controlled heating, cooling and LED lighting.

The design builds a culture of awareness where continuous performance feedback informs users about how much energy they are consuming. A living lab on sustainability in itself, students will be trained how to shift the way they consume energy when inside to help ensure the building meets its energy targets.

The themes of connectivity, interaction and collaboration run throughout the design of the Joyce Centre’s social learning environment. Enhancing the user experience, classrooms and laboratories are organized around a large central atrium which acts as a social activator and central hub.

Laboratories and classrooms are flexible and modular, offering students the option to cluster into groups or work independently, as needed. The interior learning spaces are designed to evolve over time, in tune with advancing technology.

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