Manitoba Hydro Place sets new record with LEED Platinum

Manitoba Hydro Place, the game-changing headquarters designed to meet the extremely challenging objectives of the fourth-largest energy utility in Canada, has been granted LEED Platinum certification for sustainability, exceeding its original goal to achieve LEED Gold. Remarkably, this is the first and only large office tower in Canada to date to receive the LEED Platinum certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Opened in 2009, the 22-storey building occupying a full city block in Winnipeg’s downtown is the achievement of the Integrated Design Process involving close collaboration between Manitoba Hydro and  design architects Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (Toronto), executive architects Smith Carter Architects and Engineers (Winnipeg), and climate engineers Transsolar (Stuttgart).

“The Canada Green Building Council would like to congratulate those who worked on Manitoba Hydro Place for helping it receive LEED Platinum – the highest and most rigorous level of certification that can be achieved,” said Thomas Mueller, President & CEO of the CaGBC. “In order to meet such a high standard, the design team had to take the extra step and look at innovative design and construction strategies. This resulted in exceptional energy performance.”

Manitoba Hydro meticulously tracked the performance for two years to determine whether  its new building is living up to its initial ambitious goals. Compared to the average office tower, Manitoba Hydro Place records reductions of over 70 percent in energy use. Conventional office towers typically use over 300kWh per square metre. Manitoba Hydro’s useage is under 85kWh – an estimated energy savings of over $500,000 annually. In fall 2012, Manitoba Hydro is expected to publicly release the full schedule of performance results.

“The building has become a beacon that attracts visitors from around the world.” said Tom Akerstream, Manitoba Hydro’s Energy Advisor and Manager of Head Office Facilities. “We have hosted senators from the United States, Canada and executives from Apple Inc. who have come to study Canada’s successful new model for energy-efficient, climatically responsive design.”

Akerstream noted, “Our main intent was to demonstrate that creating the most energy-efficient, sustainable building also meant providing the highest quality of space. While our original goal was LEED Gold, we are absolutely honoured to have reached LEED Platinum status, as conferred on the building by the Canada Green Building Council.”

“The future in sustainable architecture lies in being open to experimentation, communication and collaboration at every step of the process which is integral to green building,” says Bruce Kuwabara, the design architect for KPMB Architects. “Manitoba Hydro Place demonstrates that one building can simultaneously create a synthesis of design excellence, integrated high-performance sustainability, air quality, healthy work environment, and city revitalization. To achieve LEED Platinum proves that this is the way forward to low carbon and climate-responsive design.”

“Manitoba Hydro Place has put Winnipeg on the map for innovative building, with its gleaming solar chimney, flight of windows that open and close in response to the weather conditions, six-storey waterfall in the atrium , geothermal system for heating and cooling and green rooftops,” comments Scott Stirton of Smith Carter Architects who acted as executive architects. “The signature building has established Winnipeg as an essential destination for architects, engineers and energy specialists from around the globe to view first-hand its cutting-edge integration of design and energy-efficient technologies.”

“LEED Platinum reinforces Manitoba Hydro Place as a model for integrated, holistic design – every element supports the overall function, and most importantly, the employees feel great in the building, and the design has a positive impact on the quality of Winnipeg’s downtown,” stated Thomas Auer of Transsolar Engineering.

In the past two years, MHP project has been recognized with over 10 major awards for innovation, architectural and urban design excellence and green design, including the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Best Tall Building in the Americas award (2009), an RAIC Innovation in Architecture Award (2011), an AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award (2010), a Sustainable Architecture & Building Magazine Award (2010), and a Royal Architectural Institute of Canada National Urban Design Award (2010). Other awards include the ACEC Canadian Consulting Engineering Award – Buildings (2010), a Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Award (2009), an International Building Skin-Tech (IBS) Award (2008), an MIPIM Architectural Review Award (2006), and a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence (2006).

The 700,000-square-foot building is an outstanding example of Manitoba Hydro’s commitment to “Green and Clean Power.” Manitoba Hydro set ambitious goals for a supportive workplace, urban regeneration, and signature architecture, inclusive of 60% less than Canada’s Model National Energy Code for Buildings in an extreme climate that fluctuates from -35ºC in the winter to +35 ºC in the summer. To meet these objectives, Manitoba Hydro mandated a formal Integrated Design Process developed by National Resources Canada. The healthy building is filled with 100% fresh air all year long, making employees feel invigorated. Since opening, over 70% of the employees have adopted a healthier lifestyle, converting to public transit, from travelling to work by car.

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