Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability receives 2015 RAIC Green Building Award

A Vancouver research institute, designed to be one of the most sustainable buildings in North America, will receive the 2015 Green Building Award.

The award, given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the Canada Green Building Council, recognizes outstanding achievement in buildings that are environmentally responsible and promote the health and well-being of users.

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was completed in 2011. The architect is Peter Busby, FRAIC, of Perkins+Will, a global architecture firm with offices in Canada.

“With a strong focus on natural light and ventilation, the CIRS integrates a full range of sustainable design strategies,” said the three-member jury.

“CIRS uses both passive and innovative approaches to sustainability to create architecture that is also a tool for research. It offers many strategies that are transferable to other building types.”

The award will be presented at the RAIC Festival of Architecture which takes place in Calgary from June 3-6, 2015 in collaboration with the Alberta Association of Architects.

Conceived by Nobel laureate and UBC environmental scientist John Robinson, the CIRS is an internationally recognized research institution whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of sustainable building and urban development.

“The significance of this year’s green building award is clear,” said RAIC President Sam Oboh, FRAIC. “The future of designing sustainable built environments is as much about the ways in which we think, work and interact, as it is about lowering that energy consumption of our workplace. The design of CIRS not only assists the research occurring inside the building, but its presence on the UBC campus adds to an international dialogue on the integration of cutting-edge sustainable practices,” said Oboh.

The LEED Platinum-certified building houses 200 people from private, public and non-government organization sectors who work together to advance innovation and implementation of in sustainable technology and building practices.

The 5,675-square-metre structure is one of the few buildings worldwide that is considered regenerative. It achieves net-positive energy, net-zero water, and net-zero carbon in construction and operations.

Pursuing the Living Building Challenge, the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard, the CIRS harvests sunlight, captures waste heat from a nearby building, and exchanges heating and cooling with the ground. It returns 600-megawatt-hours of surplus energy back to campus while removing 170 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

“This award reaffirms the distinct position that advanced, sustainable design holds in the pantheon of design excellence in Canada,” said Busby, originally from Vancouver and now based in San Francisco. “I and my team are deeply appreciative.”

The jury members were Vancouver architect Darryl Condon, FRAIC; Toronto architect Douglas Birkenshaw, FRAIC; and Halifax architect Susan Fitzgerald, MRAIC.

For more information, please visit www.raic.org.