Concordia opens LEED certified building

Concordia opened a state-of-the-art green building last Tuesday, constructed in accordance with the environmental standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The John Molson School of Business (JMSB) building at the corner of Guy and Maisonneuve features a wall of solar panels with cells that will heat the building and produce up to 10 per cent of the building’s energy.

Yves Gilbert, Director of Engineering and Building Perfor-mance at Concordia, said the building acquired official certification for its energy efficiency and environmentally friendly construction.

“[The building] is 25 per cent more efficient than the required model energy code buildings,” said Gilbert.

Concordia developed the building with the help of a subsidy provided by the Canadian government. Gilbert estimated the subsidy was around $500,000 – half of the original $1 million price tag.

Concordia usually only accepts energy efficiency projects that the university can pay back in seven years or less, but the subsidy enabled them to adopt a larger project.

“[Normally] the payback is over 20 years [but] because of the subsidy the payback is below seven years,” said Gilbert.

However, Gilbert felt that the energy-saving technology in the Molson School of Business building is unlikely to become the standard for the rest of Concordia’s buildings in the future.

“There are more conventional ways to save energy,” he said.

Gilbert noted options such as heat recovery, pre-heating buildings, and motion-activated lights as cheaper ways to make buildings more energy efficient.

However, the project has not been completed without criticism. According to an editorial in the Link, Concordia’s independent newspaper, the building LEED has a four-level certification framework: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. The new building has been certified for the lowest level of approval.

“The new JMSB building is LEED certified. That’s it. We’re doing the least we can to earn our certification,” the editorial read.

The only platinum-certified building in Canada belongs to the University of Calgary, and some Concordia students are wondering why their university isn’t aiming as high. But Gilbert noted that the university’s efforts are limited by the availability of funds.

“This is not something we would normally do…[and] without financial help from the government, we wouldn’t,” Gilbert said.