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Changing the Consumption Conversation

LEED® Gold Hot Water Treatment Plant at the University of British Columbia helps the Campus achieve its goals to achieve its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 33%.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Good things come from efficient packages

redefines District Energy by making sustainable infrastructure that is visible and able to inform, educate and engage the campus community by speaking to both the process and broader energy issues. Comprised of a new high efficiency hot water heating plant and district hot-water distribution loop, the CEC replaces the campus' pre-existing steam boiler plant constructed in 1925. The new system serves over 130 buildings, or 12 M square feet of campus development delivered through 14 km of underground insulated pipe. The 20,000 square foot building houses all process equipment including three 15 MW boilers with capacity for phased expansion to a total output of 80 MW.

Smart and beautiful Infrastructure

A building that breathes – the CEC inhales massive amounts of air to feed the combustion process and exhales hot, humid exhaust, while supporting a pulsing circulatory system that feeds hot water to campus buildings. The relationship between process equipment such as boilers, breeching exhaust, service rooms and hot water distribution equipment is driven by strict functional requirements. To unify these distinct programme elements and reconcile the many requirements for intake and exhaust louvres, vents and other service penetrations, a zinc metal shroud wraps the building perimeter. This permeable skin floats 4m above the ground plane and is held off the building structure by 1m, was manipulated to provide transparency, weather protection and announce entry points.

Zinc envelope ups the ante

The building’s simple volume is enlivened by the play of light across and through the shroud by the selective use of three different types of panels – an opaque, a 30% perforated, and a 50% perforated panel. Further, the surface of the shroud tells a story where a higher intensity of perforation expresses process requirements for air exchange, ventilation or transparency. The zinc shroud also materially connects the CEC with both the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical Sciences buildings. On the west facade, the metal shroud has been peeled back to reveal the glazed skin of the 15m high boiler house providing pedestrians with views into the vaulted space of the process area and celebrating the building’s operation and process equipment through interpretative signage.

Warmed with wood

Interior spaces are naturally ventilated and flooded with daylight, while additional space conditioning is provided by waste process heat. The primary structure is constructed of renewable, locally sourced cross laminated timber (CLT) panels supported by glulam columns and 20m clear span beams.

Project facts

Client: University of British Columbia
Size: 1, 974 sq m
Completed: 2015