University of British Columbia in the Okanagan secures global first with five Green Globes

Kasian, a  global architecture, design and planning firm, is pleased to announce that the Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research (Fipke Centre) and the adjacent Arts & Sciences Building, located at the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia (UBCO), have both been awarded five Green Globes™. These are the first campus buildings in the world to each receive five Green Globes and are also the first paired buildings to attain this distinction. Both buildings are designed by Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd, (Kasian), in collaboration with the UBC Properties Trust.

Green Globes is a revolutionary online auditing tool designed to acknowledge buildings that improve environmental performance with regard to management, site, energy, water, resources, emissions and indoor environment. Developed in Canada and administered by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Green Globes program has been adopted throughout North America and is based on a graduated rating system, ranging from one to five Green Globes. An evaluation of five Green Globes is the highest eco-ranking level available and reserved for select building designs which serve as national or world leaders in energy and environmental performance. The three-storey 6,579-square-metre Fipke Centre was the first building in Canada to achieve five Green Globes and the first facility on the UBCO campus to use a geo-exchange groundwater energy system for heating and cooling. The-four storey 7,950-square-metre Arts & Sciences Building has now also been awarded five Green Globes.

The Fipke Centre and the Arts & Sciences Building both contain laboratories, classrooms, student commons and offices to support a wide variety of innovative research projects. The Arts & Sciences Building also includes a theatre and an animal care facility. Creating an energy-efficient building that houses one or more laboratories poses significant challenges, as laboratories and education facilities are amongst the most energy-intensive building types. On average, a laboratory consumes five to 10 times more energy per square foot than an average office building. The project team for both facilities successfully adopted a holistic “whole building” approach to the design, using Building Information Modelling (BIM). This permits each building to be viewed as interdependent system, rather than an accumulation of separate components. The owners, architects and engineers collaborated from the start to ensure that all of the building systems work together in harmony, resulting in improved energy efficiency, sustainability, economy of construction and enhanced occupancy health and comfort. Recent analysis of energy consumption data from the Fipke Centre indicates that the building is 46 per cent more energy efficient than a standard reference building that meets the requirements of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB).

Kasian Principal Michael McDonald is the Project Director for both the Fipke Centre and the Arts & Sciences Building: “These multi-purpose academic and research facilities take the understanding of environmental design to a new level, supporting the growth of a locally responsive, but globally conscious community at UBCO. These buildings set the benchmark for sustainable design for university campuses worldwide.”