Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
Oct. 6, 2020
MacKimmie team recognized nationally for climate leadership
What is a zero carbon building? According to the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), a zero-carbon building is a highly energy-efficient building that produces carbon-free renewable energy onsite or high-quality carbon offsets to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with building materials and operations. They represent the industry’s best opportunity for cost-effective emissions reductions that spur innovation in design, building materials and technology, creating jobs and business opportunities.
At UCalgary, the MacKimmie Complex Redevelopment has made a significant contribution to advancing Canada’s green building industry, earning the team one of Canada’s highest green building honours: the 2020 Zero Carbon Green Building Excellence Award from the CaGBC. This award is presented annually to a team responsible for a new or existing building that demonstrates climate leadership through optimal building performance and innovative carbon reduction strategies.
- Pictured above: Joanne Perdue and Boris Dragicevic with the Zero Carbon Green Building Excellence Award. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
“UCalgary is striving to be a carbon neutral campus by 2050, and this award is confirmation that we are on our way to reaching this goal alongside Canada’s national carbon reduction goals,” says Joanne Perdue, AVP sustainability. “UCalgary is honoured to win the Zero Carbon Green Building Excellence Award from the Canada Green Building Council, and we would like to thank the talented team who worked on MacKimmie Complex for their leadership.”
On the path to achieving the 2020 Zero Carbon Green Building Excellence Award, the project first won the Alberta Zero Carbon Building Award thanks to the innovative building features that helped the project realize its goal to be one of the most energy efficient buildings of its type in Canada. On completion of the Block building, approximately 600 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels will be installed.
According to the World Green Building Council, buildings and construction are responsible for 39 per cent of all carbon emissions in the world, and projects like MacKimmie Complex contribute to reducing this by incorporating less carbon-intensive materials and enabling zero-carbon operations. MacKimmie Complex specifically minimizes energy use and maximizes on-site renewable energy production, and is on track to consume 80 per cent less energy than the former MacKimmie Complex building did. UCalgary’s investments in energy efficiency are focused on lowering the cost of campus infrastructure over its lifetime and decreasing the harmful impacts of climate change.
“The Zero Carbon Award recognizes the University of Calgary’s climate leadership by applying technical innovation and creativity in its approach to the massive MacKimmie Complex Redevelopment,” says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO, CaGBC. “The double-skin façade with active shading systems and building-integrated renewable energy generation, along with other advanced features, will have a transformative effect on the campus, and other post-secondary institutions in Canada.
As an early adopter of the Zero Carbon Building Standard, this project supports the university’s ambitious goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and demonstrates that the time for action on climate change is now.
What does it take to be a national zero carbon leader?
The answer? An unshakeable vision and commitment to climate leadership, and a talented team passionate enough to make this vision a reality.
“The MacKimmie Complex team was dedicated to exceeding high-performance green buildings standards and sustainable site practices,” says Boris, AVP, facilities development. “From the attention and detail they paid to enabling the health, well-being and comfort of our campus community in this building, and ensuring renewables and energy efficiency were primary components of this project, I applaud our team’s climate leadership and thank them for their unwavering efforts and creativity.”
The amazing work of this team also landed MacKimmie Complex another honour, certification through the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building Standard. This certification is awarded to new buildings and the retrofit of existing ones, to best empower buildings to achieve zero-carbon operations. It verifies that buildings, such as the MacKimmie Complex, are designed to achieve zero-carbon operations year after year. The MacKimmie Complex is the first certified zero-carbon building in the province and the largest project in Canada to be certified under the ZCB-Design Standard.
“We’re proud of every zero-carbon and renewable feature that we’ve been able to design into MacKimmie Complex,” says Dragicevic. “Through projects like this, we are able to meet the goals outlined in UCalgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy and Climate Action Plan.”
The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.