Contemporary construction is predominantly steel and concrete—materials whose combined production tally up to 8 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. But timber, when forested responsibly, can reduce emissions and store carbon, which are the most effective methods to preserve the planet.
The Wood Innovation & Design Centre is an example of a low environmental impact building with longevity. Designed the building to LEED Gold standards, this eight-storey building was constructed with more than 1,700 cubic meters of wood and engineered wood products manufactured in British Columbia.
The facility serves as a gathering place for researchers, academics, design professionals, and others interested in generating ideas for innovative uses of wood. A mix of natural and charred cedar was used for the exterior (charring wood cladding is a centuries old Japanese technique). WSP employed a ‘dry construction’ design (the use of wood as an alternative to concrete or steel) to reduce the carbon footprint, which was demonstrated by a life-cycle analysis. In addition, its striking presence in the heart of the city will assist in the revitalization of downtown Prince George.
WSP’s sustainable design included:
- An innovative low-energy mechanical ventilation system
- Energy-efficient lighting and associated controls
- Flexible power distribution and communication infrastructure
WSP conducted LEED facilitation and developed a sustainability strategy incorporating concept, design review, construction support, documentation and submission to the Canada Green Building Council. We also applied a concept energy model, reviewed design documents, and progressed the final energy model for submission to a third party modeler. Our energy-efficient design reduced energy costs by 49 per cent, achieving the highest number of LEED points for that category.