Anyone who has ever wandered through the STEM Complex will agree that it is designed for the 21st century. Not only is it a playground for engineers, physicists, and entrepreneurs alike, but also, in addition to being uOttawa’s largest and newest facility, the STEM Complex is now LEED Gold certified, meaning that we can officially call it an eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable building
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification process that requires that buildings meet certain social and environmental standards. These standards include specific energy, water, air quality, waste, and site conditions, with a strong focus on making sure that the people using the building are comfortable.
“Achieving this level of certification adds another layer of complexity to a building project like this,” says Martc-Antoine Joly, Vice-President Facilities. “But it is worth every ounce of effort if it means making this campus more sustainable.”
The STEM Complex had to meet a number of requirements to secure LEED certification. Some of its standout environmental features include brightly coloured walls, open spaces for socializing and studying, energy efficient equipment, and special windows that regulate temperature and help prevent bird collisions and avian fatalities.
LEED helps uOttawa achieve consistency in sustainability
LEED certification became a priority for the University roughly two decades ago, when its campus began to expand to accommodate a growing student population. The University of Ottawa received its first LEED Gold certification in 2012 for the FSS Building, a facility that features a six-story living wall, three massive green roofs, integrated recycling counters, and a heat recovery system that recirculates thermal energy throughout the building.
In 2016, the ARC building was next to achieve LEED Gold certification due to its use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood, GREENGUARD certified furniture, permeable pavers, and solar panels.
In 2020, the Learning Crossroads became LEED Silver certified and was recognized as being both environmentally and socially friendly. In addition to its green roof, this building boasts brightly painted interior walls covered with inspirational messages, as well as a Free Store donation bin, dozens of bike racks, and a food court that embraces waste reduction strategies.
The future is green
The University is already looking to its next construction projects to see how it can add to its record of environmental success. Investing in more renewable technologies, greenspace, and sustainable transportation alternatives aren’t just options for the University of Ottawa – they are the future.