U of T office space awarded LEED gold certification

exam centre 255 McCaul south

Award comes on heels of university’s sustainability pledge

By Joyann Callender,
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Written by The Bulletin

The new office of real estate operations and facilities and aervices at the University of Toronto has been awarded the University’s first LEED gold certification by the Canadian Green Building Council. The office is located at 255 McCaul St.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a voluntary, consensus-based green building rating system. Certification is based on achieving points within specific categories including site planning, water and energy management, procurement and material use, indoor air quality, and innovation and design. LEED buildings are certified within four levels; “gold” is the second-highest level of achievement after platinum.

“I am thrilled that the university has achieved its first LEED Gold Certification and facilities and services and our colleagues in real estate were directly involved in this initiative – it is another tangible demonstration of the university’s commitment to the environment and sustainability,” said Ron Swail, assistant vice-president (facilities and services). “LEED certification is based on three pillars – sustainable design, quality construction, and efficient operation of buildings. Through this program we will achieve better energy efficiency, save operating dollars and reduce our overall environmental footprint at 255 McCaul St.”

The award comes on the heels of U of T’s pledge to sustainability. On Nov. 26, U of T joined with other Ontario universities in making a public commitment to continue practicing the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and to invest in being environmentally sustainable.

The space on the fourth floor of 255 McCaul sets a standard for office design by showcasing many innovative sustainable features:

  • rainwater, harvested from the roof, is used to flush water efficient toilets and urinals resulting in a significant reduction in water use
  • dimmable high output fluorescent lighting, controlled by motion sensors, along with LED task lights results in a reduction of electricity
  • operable windows, digitally controlled diffusers, temperature and airflow controls are used to improve thermal comfort
  • demand control ventilation used in perimeter offices and meeting rooms reduces air-conditioning requirements and maintains healthy indoor air quality
  • a green wall connected to the lobby air distribution system improves air quality by filtering and removing pollutants in the air.

Buildings can be built to LEED specifications; however, they have to be confirmed by the Canadian Green Building Council once the space is built and operational to receive certification.

UofT’s first LEED-certified building was the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre at University of Toronto Mississauga. U of T has three other LEED-certified buildings in the works. The rise of LEED buildings and office spaces at U of T is part of a university-wide commitment to preserving and protecting the environment and the future well-being of the province.