Gold rating given to Winnipeg’s Mountain Equipment Co-op Building

A rigorous program for certifying green buildings has awarded a gold-level standard to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) for its store on Portage Avenue. The retail co-operative’s Winnipeg store is one of only four buildings in Canada and the only one east of British Columbia to have received the gold rating.

The certification was given by the U.S. Green Building Council through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. A plaque commemorating the LEED gold certification has been unveiled at the store by Manitoba Premier Gary Doer, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, MEC CEO Peter Robinson and Dudley Thompson of Prairie Architects, the Winnipeg firm that designed the building.

"The LEED gold rating confirms that MEC’s green buildings are living up to their name," said Robinson. "As other businesses consider their options in meeting Canada’s Kyoto Protocol, targets, MEC Winnipeg demonstrates that financial viability and sustainability can go hand in hand."

MEC’s Winnipeg store uses approximately 47 percent less energy than the baseline specified in the federal government’s model energy code for buildings. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 tonnes per year compared to conventional buildings and was built using 97 percent recycled materials.

"Congratulations to Mountain Equipment Co-op," Doer said. "MEC has played a key role in the revitalization of downtown Winnipeg in recent years, and they have shown further leadership by incorporating the principles of sustainable development into the design and construction of their wonderful downtown location."

"A renaissance is underway in the heart of our city," said Katz. "I applaud Mountain Equipment Co-op for demonstrating leadership and innovation in making our downtown vibrant, strong and environmentally healthy."

In addition to the LEED gold rating, MEC’s Winnipeg store has received numerous national awards for sustainability. These include one for innovation from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 2003.

"It has been an honour to work with the staff and board of MEC to develop this sustainable building," said architect Dudley Thompson. "I want to thank MEC for the vision and commitment to sustainability in Winnipeg and for the pioneering work they’ve done in many communities to help define a new sustainable ethic in Canadian cities."

MEC opened its Winnipeg store in May 2002. With 10,343 square feet of retail space, MEC sells hiking, paddling, snowsports and other outdoor products to its 55,000 Manitoba members. It is Canada’s largest retail co-operative, providing quality products and services for self-propelled outdoor recreation. Established in 1971, MEC has more than 2.1 million members throughout Canada and around the world.