Surrey building nets LEED gold certification for leadership in sustainability

November 23, 2020

Simon Fraser University is being recognized as a sustainability leader for its new building in Surrey. Opened in 2019 as the first phase of its Surrey campus expansion, the new building has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification—one of LEED’s highest ratings—in recognition of its sustainable design and operations.

The striking, five-storey building, located adjacent to the Surrey campus main building, was designed by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects, and conceived by the late Bing Thom) and built by Bird Construction. It houses SFU’s new School of Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE), which is the first of its kind in Western Canada.

The building, touted as a ‘living lab’ for its sustainable spaces and operations, is the university’s first major step in expanding beyond its Central City campus, creating an integrated academic precinct within Surrey’s evolving City Centre downtown core.

“The LEED designation demonstrates SFU’s commitment to being a leading post-secondary institution in sustainability research, learning, innovation, outreach and practice,” says Larry Waddell, SFU’s chief facilities officer.

“The new Surrey building is an example of how we can use campus infrastructure and operations to be living environments in which interdisciplinary learning, applied research and practical work can advance sustainability and resiliency on campus and beyond.”

The building comprises teaching and research labs, study and lounge spaces, offices, an open atrium and a 400-seat lecture hall, serving the campus as well as the broader community.

Its award-winning façade is composed primarily of framed, high-performance, undulating precast concrete panels. Its distinctive design is derived from abstracted circuit board imagery, which symbolizes the technological subject matter being taught in the building.  

Steve Dooley, executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus, says the LEED Gold certification reflects the foresight of those who conceived its unique design. “The visionary work of the late Bing Thom has led to the truly unique designs of both campus buildings in Surrey,” says Dooley, noting that the main campus design, set atop Central City Mall, has reaped international acclaim.

 “We’re proud of how the new building speaks to a sustainable future through its structure and its status as a ‘living lab’. It is another strong example of SFU’s commitment to the transformation of Surrey City Centre.”

In 2019 Bird Construction was also recognized for its work on the building with a Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) award.

SFU earlier achieved LEED Gold for its renovations and upgrades to the Shrum Chemistry Building (2017). SFU Surrey’s Podium 2 wing was also certified LEED Silver in 2012.

LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.