A new childcare center planned in Canada is expected to raise the bar on traditional green building practices. The center serves the UniverCity community, which is walking distance to the Simon Fraser University campus on Burnaby Mountain, just outside Vancouver.
The center is built to meet the Living Building Challenge certification, which takes into account seven different areas known as “petals.” They include: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. To date, there are only three buildings — two of which we detailed here — in the world that have earned petals in all seven areas. If the center gains its petals over the next year of analysis, it would be the first building in Canada to become Living Building certified.
To earn its petals, the recently opened childcare center is expected to generate more energy than it uses each year, recycle or harvest from rainwater more water than it uses, be free of toxic materials, obtain the majority of its materials from within a 400-kilometer (250-mile) radius and cost less to construct than a conventional childcare facility. Some of the features included in the building will be solar hot water heaters, rainwater collection systems that treat and filter the water using UV filters and radiant floor heating.
“We thought if we are going to put anybody in the greenest building in Canada we should start with the kids,” project leader Dale Mikkelsen told the Vancouver Sun. “That way what is weird to us just becomes normal to them. They will move on and wonder why they aren’t flushing the toilet with rainwater.”
The childcare center is simply an extension of the philosophy of the entire UniverCity community. The sustainable community of 10,000 was master-planned and founded on four cornerstones of sustainability – environment, equity, economy and education. The SFU Community Trust is the organization that is tasked with helping develop a variety of the sustainable projects within the community, one of which is a proposed high-speed gondola that would ease traffic congestion up to the mountain top school.