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Zero-carbon Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre closer to realization

June 4, 2024  By  Anthony Capkun

June 4, 2024 – The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre is even closer to realization, thanks to funding of over $7.1 million from the federal government, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT), and private and corporate contributions.

Spanning 9400 sq. ft., the centre aims to meet zero-carbon building design standards, says CBT, “and embody a holistic approach to sustainability using the Living Building Challenge framework”.

The federal government is providing $7,172,318 to this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program. The Government of British Columbia announced a $300,000 contribution from the Mass Timber Demonstration Program.

The nearly all-wood, three-storey building in Tofino, B.C., will combine light-frame wood, mass timber, cross-laminated timber, and a geothermally sourced hydronic heating and cooling system.

By leaning on mass timber instead of concrete, the centre will reduce the building’s embodied carbon impact by over 20%.

The centre is situated within one of Canada’s 19 UNESCO biosphere regions, and draws upon the UNESCO themes of education, science, and culture. The biosphere centre intends to be a place of sharing and learning for the residents of Tofino, Ucluelet, five Nuu-chah-nulth communities, and the Toquaht Nation.

Located at 301 Olsen Road, the centre will include an Elders room, teaching kitchen, visitor centre, offices, shared community areas, research and archives library, shared equipment, various multipurpose rooms, outdoor gathering spaces, and two residential units.

Formally, the design aims to provide a modern mixed-used structure that references traditional Nuu-chah-nulth principles while grounding the building in the scale and character of the existing neighbourhood, explains MOTIV Architects.

The estimated cost to develop the centre is $15 million, which is expected to be complete in 2026. The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust “is now focused on capital campaign fundraising”.

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