Taylor Institute achieves exceptional performance in efficiency, quality and innovation in sustainable design
Article by Harmeet Kaur Jaswal and Jessica Snow, LEED slides by Ykje Piera
The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning has earned its Gold LEED certification in recognition of its exceptional performance in efficiency, quality and innovation in sustainable design. As the ninth building on campus to become LEED certified, the Taylor Institute represents the enduring commitment of the University of Calgary to achieving long-term sustainability. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, awarded by the Canada Green Building Council, is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and health performance.
Sustainable design in all stages From design and construction to implementation, practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. An erosion and sedimentation control plan was used to preserve the native soils during construction and whenever possible, materials with high recycled content were chosen — with 14% of the building is made up of recycled materials.
The well-designed landscape of the building includes drought tolerant grass and vegetation that is adaptive and increases the efficiency of the irrigation system.This feature reduces the use of potable water for irrigation by 70%. A light-coloured roof membrane reflects more of the sun’s rays, which in turn reduces the amount of heat absorbed by the building and the amount of energy used for cooling in the summer. The building is easy to access via public transit, and has 46 bike stalls located at the entrances.
Inside, low flow toilets and faucets reduce indoor potable water use by 38% compared to conventional buildings. Ventilation within the building changes throughout the day, automatically adjusting to occupancy levels. This is enabled by CO2 sensors, located throughout the building to ensure that sufficient fresh outdoor air is delivered to the building occupants when needed, and saves energy when areas are unoccupied. Well-marked bins for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metal, and organic materials are placed throughout the lobby, atrium and office spaces and divert material from landfills to be recycled or composted. High-performance windows, LED lighting controlled by daylight sensors, a well-insulated roof, and radiant heating and cooling all result in the TI using 71% less energy than conventional buildings of the same size.
Providing comfortable, healthy spaces for teaching and learning According to Adam Stoker from the Office of Sustainability, the well-being of the building occupants was just as if not more important than the building’s environmental features, “In addition to energy efficiency, water conservation, and the incorporation of sustainable materials, the TI specifically focused on providing healthy, comfortable spaces for staff, students, and faculty using the building. Access to daylight, views to the outdoors, high thermal comfort, and improved lighting controls are all concepts tied to occupant well-being, productivity, and higher cognitive performance. Sustainable building techniques such as these are a key part of how the TI provides excellent spaces for teaching and learning.”
Since its open in April 2016, the Taylor Institute has quickly become a hub for teaching and learning communities on campus. New channels between previously isolated networks of students and instructors are being forged and the flow of knowledge and ideas is electrifying discussions at all levels. Through the Taylor Institute, these communities are engaged in meaningful conversations on what it means to teach and learn at the University of Calgary.
Nancy Chick, the academic director of the Taylor Insitute for Teaching and Learning, notes “This milestone is another reminder of how the Taylor Institute is all about bringing together different perspectives and strengths (whether architects, designers, university staff, and contractors focused on sustainability, or instructors, students, educational developers, and librarians focused on learning and teaching) to make a positive and lasting impact.”
About the Taylor Institute The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to better understanding and improving student learning, bringing together teaching development, teaching and learning research, and undergraduate inquiry learning. The Institute supports building and sharing teaching expertise; integrating technologies to enhance learning; and conducting inquiry to improve student learning.
About the Canada Green Building Council The CaGBC is the leading national industry organization advancing green building and sustainable community development practices. It works closely with our member organizations who are involved in the design, construction and operation of buildings and homes in an effort to make every building greener. The CaGBC is the sole license holder for the LEED green building rating system in Canada.
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More about the Taylor Institute's sustainable features