Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario has completed construction of its new seven-story Canal Building, which contains a number of environmentally-friendly features, including 10 kW solar installation and a green roof. The building, the first of a pair that sits near the Hartwell Locks on the Rideau Canal, received five out of a possible five “globes” on the stringent Green Globes measure of a building’s contribution to environmental sustainability.
The university contracted Ottawa-based GRC Architects and Toronto’s Moriyama and Teshima firm to design the Canal Building and its companion, the River Building, which it expects to complete by August. While the finished building’s green roof will not make its debut until the spring, the small rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system is operational. Although the university considers the solar installation to be more of a research and training tool, it will contribute a small amount of power to Carleton’s energy supply. The system will provide an educational model for students enrolled in the school’s environmental engineering courses and other green tech programs.
“This demonstrates Carleton’s commitment to sustainability in a manner that we believe is effective,” says Carleton’s Assistant VP of Facilities Management and Planning, Darryl Boyce. The Canal Building’s other green attributes include lighting that self-adjusts according to the amount of available natural illumination, as well as a design that allows the facilities to use 80% natural light, overall, and an automated system that controls lighting and temperature.
University Augments Province’s PV Training Courses
The solar panels atop the Canal Building not only symbolize Carleton’s commitment to the environment, but they also reflect Ontario’s movement toward greener sources of energy. The province is home to North America’s first-ever feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy, which uses the lure of high prices to encourage corporations, farmers, and individual citizens to install renewable energy systems that feed into the provincial grid. The program has helped to create a vibrant renewable energy economy and offers far-above-market rates for solar, wind, and biomass energy. The solar economy, in particular, has expanded rapidly under the FIT, as PV projects receive some of the highest prices the program offers, up to 80.2 cents per kW-hour.
While the Canal Building will not participate in the FIT, it will add to the ways educators in the province train students and workers for tomorrow’s energy jobs and augment other educational streams like Ontario Solar Academy’s PV design and installation courses. Together, Carleton University and the province of Ontario are doing their parts to fortify the region’s solar economy and put Ontarians on the path to sustainability.