LEED gold for sustainable design awarded to U of T research building

The Environmental Science and Chemistry Building (ESCB) at the University of Toronto Scarborough has been recognized with one of the highest levels of achievement in sustainable building design.  

The 10,220-square-metre building, which officially opened in January 2016, has received a gold certification from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED).

“It’s a tremendous source of pride that our building dedicated to research on the physical environment has achieved LEED Gold,” says U of T Scarborough Principal Bruce Kidd. “The ESCB represents our commitment to the environment and to the benefits of using sustainable design elements.”

Learn more about the ESCB

Achieving LEED Gold status certifies that the ESCB meets some of the industry’s highest standards for sustainable design, energy and water conservation, indoor air quality and low environmental footprint.   

Highlighted among the ESCB’s many sustainable design features; 

  • An extensive earth tube system that draws fresh air from the outside to ventilate the air within the building, which reduces overall energy consumption 
  • A geothermal heat pump system that uses more than 60 boreholes extending 210 metres (690 feet) into the ground will help cool and heat the building
  • The glazing on the exterior of the building uses thermal breaks to reduce solar heat gain 
  • The roof is designed to recycle rainwater by funneling it to large underground cisterns to be used in irrigating the surrounding landscape during dryer months. 
  • The inside of the building is lit entirely with LED fixtures 
  • High performance lab ventilation systems monitors air quality and equipment energy consumption  
  • Only materials low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were used in the construction of the building interior  
  • Low-flow plumbing reduces water consumption throughout the building 

The result is a facility that will achieve an annual energy reduction of 54 per cent compared to standard buildings. The ESCB also becomes the second new building on campus after the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) to receive the designation.

Read more about TPASC

When it was completed, the ESCB added 1,838 sq. m of research laboratories and 1,052 sq. m of teaching laboratories to U of T Scarborough. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and built by EllisDon, the $65-million building houses faculty, students and staff of the Environmental Science and Chemistry programs. 

The research being done at ESCB focuses on important environmental issues including climate change, groundwater pollution in urban settings, restoration of environmental systems and rising sea levels. 

Don Campbell is a writer with the University of Toronto Scarborough


The Bulletin Brief logo

Subscribe to The Bulletin Brief