It’s a weighty title: the greenest building in North America. But that’s exactly what the University of British Columbia claims to be constructing with its new Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), a $37 million building designed by Busby Perkins + Will. When it is finished in 2011, UBC says that the building will be a net energy producer thanks to on-site fuel cells, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, ground source heat pumps, and a biomass co-generation system.
The building, which will act as a “living lab” for sustainable building technologies, will keep logs of everything that goes on inside–lighting, cooling, heating, occupancy, and so on. UBC’s center will also store and use rainwater and stormwater, completely eliminating the building’s reliance on municipal water systems. And the on-site “Group Decision Environment Theatre” will supposedly “engage participants, including the public, in interactive simulations of building performance and use and alternative sustainability scenarios for the region” using large-scale video and audio displays.
It all sounds relatively par for the course for today’s ultra-sustainable building designs, but what makes CIRS the greenest building in North America? We’re not entirely sure. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.