The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia utilizes innovative HVAC technologies such as heat scavenging from neighboring buildings, geothermal and solar.
The four-story, 65,000-sq-foot net-positive-energy building has achieved LEED platinum certification and has applied for Living Building Challenge recognition.
A spokeswoman for the university said the building “is actually net-positive, meaning it harvests and produces energy beyond its needs and feeds that energy to other buildings.”
CIRS uses both photovoltaic electric and hot water solar panels. Both panel technologies also provide shading for sections of the building.
A geothermal field supplies one 118-kW and two 196-kW heat pumps. The building itself produces no emissions, therefore a 200 kW electric boiler for back-up and peak-demand was specified versus gas-fired models. The geothermal field supplies backup heat to CIRS in the winter and rejects CIRS’ heat into the ground during the summer.
The building also scavenges exhaust heat from a neighboring laboratory building to supply power for the CIRS heat pumps. Excess heat from CIRS’ net positive profile is fed into the same lab building to reduce that building’s reliance on fossil fuel.
Recently, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ new Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburg received Net Zero Energy Building Certification, which it pursued in the Living Building Challenge issued by International Living Future Institute. The building features everything from geothermal, to solar, to wind, to a desiccant dehumidification wheel in order to conserve energy.
Photo credit: Don Erdhardt