Park centre wins second award

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve centre honoured with second LEED Platinum mark

Adam Egan (left)

The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve operations centre in Sidney received its second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation in six years this month.

On July 11, it was announced the building, which was completed in 2006 and awarded then with a LEED designation for achieving platinum status in environmental performance, was awarded with a second LEED Platinum designation for the operations and maintenance of an existing building.

The LEED designations are awarded to recognize exceptional steps to sustainability in operating and maintaining buildings and are calculated through a points system.

A building which achieves a minimum of 52 out of a possible 70 points qualifies for Platinum designation.

“It goes right down to the types of soap we use in the building, to the paper in the printers, the paint on the exterior and even the landscaping we do around the building. There are hundreds of factors to consider when going through LEED certification,” said Todd Shannon, the manager of visitor facilities and assets for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

“It’s a stringent process but its worth it,” he added.

The process to certify the operations centre on Harbour Road took about two years of monitoring the building’s functions and around eight months to complete the paperwork and other processes of the LEED certification, Shannon said.

Public Works and Government Services Canada helped fund the research to measure the effectiveness of the building’s green technology, and teamed up with the building’s architect, McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd., consulting engineer Stantec Engineering and property manager WSI (BLJC – Johnson Controls Ltd.) who also contributed to the process.

“When this building was completed in 2006, it was the first in the country to be given a LEED Platinum designation for a newly-constructed building,” Shannon said.

“This new designation shows that with our ongoing monitoring of energy use, water efficiency, recycling and building maintenance we’ve been able to keep up to that standard.”

The building also met one of its loftiest targets by ensuring that almost all of the additional costs of incorporating green technology were covered by energy savings within its first five years of operation.

Some of the highlights of the building’s green technologies include heating and regulating interior temperature with an ocean-based geothermal and radiant heating/cooling system, storage and use of rainwater in toilets and roof-mounted solar panels that supply much of the building’s energy needs.

“It’s really efficient because it’s all controlled by a computerized system, so any adjustments made in the building to account for temperature or air quality are made only when necessary instead of having systems running all the time,” explained Adam Egan, an asset technician for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

“I am proud to see this Parks Canada building serve as a benchmark across the country for other organizations and businesses to seriously consider reducing their impact on the environment,” said Peter Kent, Canada’s environment minister and minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency in a press release.