June 15, 2015
What Makes a Building Green?

What makes a building “green” is still sometimes subject for debate but the definition of sustainable building and sustainable or green architecture is unmistakable. The LEED® system in Canada, administered by CaGBC, is guided by a clear and stringent set of requirements for each level of LEED® certification. The requirements are put in place to provide structure and industrywide clarity and consistency, on a Global scale.

The concept of sustainable architecture refers to the entire process – from design through construction, building operations and maintenance, any future renovation, and demolition. The process utilizes a variety of energy and environmentally efficient resources, materials and practices including improved insulation and air tightness for the building envelope (walls and roof), energy efficiency of mechanical systems, low consuming electrical equipment and lighting, and in some cases renewable energy sources such as solar collectors and photovoltaics.

Sometimes, however, desired features in buildings, such as increased daylight, will contradict goals in other areas, such as energy efficiency. In the end, it’s all about achieving the right balance for the highest quality of space for occupants.

The types of materials used in a sustainable project will vary and can sometime be impacted by the use of locally sourced items (thus reducing energy and transportation efforts). Material options could include rapidly renewable resources such as bamboo, sustainably-certified or reclaimed wood, recycled materials including stone, metal and other products, renewable and non-toxic items made with natural materials (bricks, blocks and panels made with paper or other earth-sourced materials). Ultimately, sustainable buildings are designed to improve resource efficiency (water, material, electricity, energy) and reduce emissions and their overall impact on the city’s carbon footprint.

To date, Chmiel Architects with 3 LEED® certified team members and a focus on sustainable design for a variety of commercial, institutional and multi-residential projects that have been LEED® certified.

Chmiel Architects focuses on sustainable design for a variety of commercial, industrial and residential projects. Our team offers a vast array of expertise to each undertaking. Among these are three certified LEED AP professionals, of which two also have the ID + C specialty. Administered by the Canada Green Building Council, LEED professional credentials validate the bearer’s knowledge of green building technologies, best practices, and dynamic LEED ratings.

Chmiel Architects has administered or participated in projects under various rating systems including New Construction (NC), Core and Shell, and Commercial Interiors (CI). Projects include:

Telus House, Ottawa – LEED-NC Gold
Office Building, Ottawa, ON
Completed 2008

Chmiel Architects designed this 9 storey, 160,000 sq. ft. office building which houses the regional corporate headquarters for TELUS Corporation. An at grade “marquee” wall element acknowledge the pedestrian scale and heritage character of the streetscape. The project was designed utilizing raised floor technology for the distribution of mechanical and electrical systems, state of the art controls, data management and a day light harvesting system. The building, completed in January 2008, is the first “LEED” gold office building in the City of Ottawa.
Export Development Canada – LEED-CI Gold
Interior Office Development, Ottawa, ON
Completed: 2009

Chmiel Architects prepared a master plan report which identified long term occupancy requirements for the 1200 employee organization. A Functional program document was created through the development of several planning options and the preparation of a Functional Space Equation. The detailed design and implementation of over 350,000 sq.ft. of class A office fit up by our team included a LEED strategy to achieve LEED GOLD for Commercial Interiors.

Canada Post Letter Carrier Depot Prototypical Design – LEED-NC Certified
Ottawa, ON
Completed: 2010

Chmiel was engaged by Canada Post Corporation to develop a Prototypical Design for the development of Letter Carrier Depots across Canada. The design was created to establish a brand identity for these new facilities, and to enable Canada Post to roll out the buildings over a short period of time on a variety of sites, and in a variety of cities across the country. The project will replace over 35 such sites and contains letter sorting stations, office areas and loading stations in 3 prototypical facilities ranging in size from 1800 m2 to 3000 m2. The building exterior is designed to respect the corporate brand and the interiors will have a clean modern look to suit the corporate branding, identity and standards of Canada Post. The project involved extensive negotiations with the end-user /project managers and was developed utilizing new programming design standards for letter carrier depots. Each project targets LEED-NC Certified designation.

Laurentian Place – LEED-NC Silver
Office Building, Ottawa, ON
Completed: 2013

Chmiel Architect designed this 120,000 sq.ft., 5-storey class ‘A’ office building with commercial property on the ground floor, and an adjacent two level parkade. Careful attention was paid to integrating the building into the local fabric and the retail uses on the site. This project is LEED Canada Core and Shell, Silver status.