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Mohawk’s Joyce Centre scores a zero-carbon hat trick

February 23, 2022  By  Anthony Capkun

February 23, 2022 – Mohawk College reports The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation has retained its zero-carbon building (ZCB) performance certification with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) in 2021, producing more electricity than it used.

The college recently received confirmation that Canada’s first zero-carbon, dually-certified building surpassed the required building performance standards for a third consecutive year.

READ ALSO Joyce Centre at Mohawk College achieves Zero Carbon Performance Certification.

“Over the past three years, The Joyce Centre has exemplified sustainable building operation for students, employees, community and industry partners,” said Ron McKerlie, president & CEO, Mohawk College. “While only labs were active during the pandemic, reducing occupancy and energy demands last year, the performance of this impressive building remains remarkable. Our Facility Services team has continued to excel in the ongoing maintenance, calibration and monitoring of this impressive facility.”

By the numbers

In 2021, The Joyce Centre generated 665,582 kWh of electricity and used 376,853 kWh, creating a surplus of nearly 290,000 kWh.

Of the energy used by the building last year, 236,066 kWh was provided by the municipal power grid and, over that same period, 524,795 kWh of green energy was used by other facilities on the college campus. During this period, the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) for the Joyce Centre was 42 kWh/m², which is 85% lower than the Canadian national median EUI value for college/university facilities, as published by Energy Star.

Sustainability features

HIGH-PERFORMANCE ENVELOPE – The building envelope is designed to be as airtight as possible so that heating and cooling systems work a minimal amount of the time if at all. The roof was designed to increase thermal performance, with green areas and surfaces that reflect heat from the sun.

SOLAR ARRAYS – A total of 1980 solar panels generate about 730,000 kWh of energy annually. The centre uses no natural gas onsite.

GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM – Energy is generated and stored in 28 geothermal wells drilled to a depth of 605 feet. Heat extracted from the building during the cooling season is stored underground; during the heating season, it is drawn back up for use in the building.

NATURAL LIGHT – Large, insulated windows allow sunlight to illuminate classrooms, labs and hallways. A specially designed central light well allows natural light to flow through five floors. Sensor-controlled LED lighting detects sunlight and will dim, or turn Off, when there is enough daylight.

HIGH-EFFICIENCY FIXTURES – The Joyce Centre uses low-flow taps, toilets and urinals.

STORMWATER HARVESTING – Two underground cisterns capture 228,000 litres of rainwater runoff, which is then used in wastewater plumbing and landscaping systems.

Mohawk College says The Joyce Centre is one of the largest net zero institutional building in Canada, offering a “living lab” for students, where they have hands-on access to the monitoring and operations of a ZCB-certified building. Students are able to explore building information modelling, a process of gathering and grouping data from the building’s performance to understand and optimize the design and maintenance during the life of the building.

The ZCB-Performance Standard verifies that buildings achieve zero-carbon operations year after year. Verification is required annually.

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