Sustainability at Thinkspace
Sustainability is a priority on every Thinkspace project, not just designated green building projects. We as architects and designers have a responsibility to consider the environment every time we sit down to design a new building.
We work with our clients to establish clear sustainability goals during the initial vision and needs phase of the project, and then carry those over into design and construction. Sometimes that’s as straightforward as selecting energy-efficient fixtures and lighting systems on a tenant improvement project. More often these days, however, we’re designing a high-performance envelope on a new building, incorporating mass timber into the structure, or helping our clients meet specific green building certification criteria, whether that’s LEED®, Passive House, Living Building Challenge, WELL building, or the Rick Hansen Accessibility Certification program.
Thanks to a broad range of experience with those programs, we can adapt our recommendations and designs to meet our clients’ very individual requirements and ensure we deliver the appropriate level of sustainability on each project.
Net Zero is the future
One of our most recent sustainability initiatives is a Net Zero project, Ta’talu Elementary School in Surrey. Net Zero means that the project either emits or produces no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this case, the school is aiming to be operationally Net Zero, meaning that it won’t produce GHGs during its normal course of operation – thanks to the minimal use of gas-fuelled equipment and the installation of photovoltaic cells on the roof to generate electricity.
The building also uses a mass timber structure, rather than a conventional concrete and steel structure, to reduce the amount of embodied carbon in the construction. The carbon footprint created by traditional construction methods is significant, whereas the use of renewable and sustainable resources such as mass timber is considerably smaller.
Look for more Net Zero and mass timber projects from Thinkspace in the near future, including the Robert G. Kuhn Building at Trinity Western University in Langley.
Thinkspace is a member of Passive House Canada. We chose to become a member because Passive House is an internationally recognized high-performance building standard. Our designers and technical staff apply Passive House principles to a range of project performance issues, while our in-house Certified Passive House Designer helps fine tune our low-energy designs.
Passive House buildings consume up to 90 percent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings, and the design principles are applicable to a wide variety of building types or designs.
LEED® at Thinkspace
Thinkspace has a proven track record of delivering Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) projects for clients. We are members of the Canada Green Building Council, and have more than half a dozen experienced LEED® Accredited Professionals on staff.
We work with clients to develop a LEED®-specific green building strategy that will ensure their projects are well though-out from the start, that they target the most appropriate credits, and then we design the building to meet the required level of certification.
Thinkspace has designed and build a number of LEED® certified projects, including:
- Woodward Hill Elementary School (Gold)
- University Highland Elementary School (Gold)
- Brantford Elementary School (Gold)
- Maple Ridge Fire Hall No. 1 (Gold)
- University Hill Secondary School (Certified)
- Norma Rose Point K-8 School (Silver)
- Belmont Secondary School Design/Build (Gold)
- Ecole Qayqayt Elementary School Design/Build (Gold)
- Fraser River Middle School Design/Build (Gold)