Manitoba Hydro unveils final design for energy-efficient headquarters

Manitoba Hydro unveiled the final design for the corporation’s new $188-million world-class energy-efficient headquarters to meet Hydro’s current and future business needs while serving as a model for highly energy-efficient building design and operation.

The 22-storey building will encompass approximately 690,000 square feet, including public, retail, commercial and Manitoba Hydro office space. It will include the areas required to achieve the building’s energy reduction target of 60 percent which would make it one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world.

The design incorporates a splayed twin office tower resting on a podium that varies from two to three storeys effectively marrying a large building mass with street-level scale.

Energy efficiencies include: a geothermal heat pump system; a living “green” roof with mosses, grasses and lichens; atriums to provide conditioned fresh air; a solar chimney to enhance fresh air ventilation; windows designed to maximize daylight and reduce artificial lighting; energy-efficient lighting, pumps and drives; a double external wall to reduce heating and cooling requirements in extreme temperatures.

The building’s form and orientation optimizes passive systems for ventilation, heating and cooling contributing to the building’s world-class energy efficiency and a healthy, productive workplace. The building will be connected to the downtown elevated walkway system and provides street-level retail activity, as well as offering a landscaped public courtyard on its southern exposure along Graham Avenue.

The new state-of-the-art office building is being constructed in downtown Winnipeg on a site that fills an entire city block on the south side of Portage Avenue between Edmonton and Carlton Streets and extending south to Graham Avenue. The new building, which was part of Manitoba Hydro’s agreement to purchase Winnipeg Hydro, will cost $188 million to construct. The development of the project will total $258 million, which also includes such costs as modernizing Hydro’s information technology and security systems, pedestrian bridge linkage, insurance, design work and capital interest.

The new headquarters will also save the corporation $15 million in annual operating costs. Included in this total is approximately $7 million in annual lease costs the corporation will save by amalgamating 12 leased Hydro offices into one location. The remainder of the savings will be realized through enhanced energy efficiencies, productivity improvements, co-location of employees and other design features.

Design Architects are Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects of Toronto, with Smith Carter Architects and Engineers of Winnipeg providing local expertise and design and production support as the Architect of Record. Deconstruction of on-site structures is nearing completion, with reusable material from buildings on the site salvaged for recycling to minimize materials going to landfill for disposal. Construction is underway, and completion is scheduled for 2007.

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