Business center aims to be Canada's first net positive energy office building
Illustration courtesy of Howland Green Homes
An office building in Ontario’s technology hub plans to be the first net positive energy office building in Canada, generating more energy than needed for annual operation. Developers of the new structure anticipates going beyond building industry standards like LEED or net zero energy — a concept where buildings incorporate renewables and energy efficiency to produce the same amount of energy they consume every year, reports Canadian Property Management.
The three-story Howland Green Business Centre, expected to be finished around March 2019, will feature office condos in 59,000 square feet of space, powered by sun and geothermal energy.
“We’re employing brand new insulated concrete forms to our building; we’re instituting energy storage that cuts the curve off of any peak demands there,” said Dave De Sylva, president of Howland Green Homes.
The entire outside of the area exposed to thermal transmission will be constructed not just of insulated concrete form, but new forms designed specifically for Howland Green, resulting in a combined thermal resistance value of at least R40, much higher than insulated formwork in standard buildings.
An R80 roof insulation, about four times greater than the building code, will block careless energy transfer, depending on the season. Windows will also be designed with advanced fiberglass technology and low-E argon glass, with resistance values as high as R9. This surpasses the insulation value of standard triple-glazed windows.
The latest geothermal technology will heat and cool the building with automatic load sharing and individual office controls at a fraction of the cost of other buildings.
And one of the largest rooftop photovoltaic arrays is expected to capture about 420,000 watts of solar energy and generate about 515,000 kWh of clean, green energy. This will help offset the carbon footprint, as the operational demand for the entire building will be approximately 430,000 kWh.
To store the excess energy being generated and use it for the future, the building will have one of the first electric potential lithium-ion and pneumatic energy storage systems in Canada. The system will capture some constant energy uses within the building and use pneumatic energy, through wind or photovoltaic solar production, to compress air, which could drive exhaust fans and garage doors, for example. Energy can be dispersed when needed, with help from an innovative water recycling system that will harvest all rainwater and recycle it on site and LED lighting with motion sensors.
A developer of both commercial and residential properties, Howland Green plans on producing more clean energy from solar and wind than ever before. Their efforts have already led to projects that use 20 percent of the energy used by typical condo buildings, from GreenLife Centre in Markham to GreenLife Main Street in Milton, Ontario, which was the first net-zero building in Canada when it was erected in 2012.
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