Sustainability initiatives earn LEED Canada Gold for Shrum Chemistry Building

August 24, 2017

Simon Fraser University is another step closer to achieving its vision of becoming a zero-waste university.

The Shrum Chemistry Building on the Burnaby campus has just earned a LEED Gold rating for its renovations and upgrades. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Canada rating system is an internationally recognized mark of excellence for sustainable building.

LEED-certified green buildings reduce waste, conserve energy, decrease water consumption and improve operating cost efficiencies. Overall, they have a healthier indoor environment through better indoor air quality, the use of less harmful products and more natural daylight.

Of all the science buildings on campus, Shrum Chemistry is now one of the most energy efficient. It incorporates new systems for water efficiency and reduction, optimized energy performance, and waste management. It has also adopted green cleaning practices. Sustainability achievements include diverting at least 75 per cent of construction waste from the landfill, and installing new laboratory fume hoods that exhaust 50 per cent less air when users close the sash.

“Exhausting conditioned air is wasteful,” says Ken MacFarlane, director, facilities and technical operations in the Dean of Science office. “In our old laboratories, a single fume hood consumed as much energy every year as heating three houses.”

All of these measures helped achieve a LEED score of 40 points in six categories: site design, construction materials and resources (20 per cent regional content), water efficiency (30 per cent improvement), indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

Wendy Lee, development manager, Facilities Services, says the chemistry building was one of the first major renewal projects to be tackled back in 2010.

“It’s been a little while cooking,” she says. “With previous projects, because of cost and certification requirements, we’ve tended to see the rating system as a benchmark, or guide, rather than actually pursuing certification.”

But when the B.C. government introduced a carbon-neutral government policy in 2010, mandating LEED Gold certification for major public-sector projects, she says SFU’s design team was inspired to aim higher.  

“Although there is always room for improvement, particularly with rapidly evolving new building technologies, and changing teaching and research needs, Shrum Chemistry's LEED Gold rating is truly an achievement we are proud of.”