A sustainable building for environmental studies just opened at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.
The building is called Environment 3 because of additions built on top of two prior incarnations. It features a constructed wetland to cleanse wastewater, a system to track utility use and a “living wall” to filter volatile compounds from the air.
It opened Sept. 15.
The “bio wall” is a two-story vertical garden attached to a ventilation system. The ductwork at the back of the wall sucks air through the vegetation and redistributes it back into the building’s atrium.
The building is designed to use 46 percent less energy than a standard building of its size and generates 60,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity from solar panels each year, said Paul Parker, professor of geography and environmental management at the university.
“This means that the annual energy bill is cut in half,” he said.
The features certify the building as meeting the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designstandard, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit promoting sustainable architecture.