Montreal’s Centre for Sustainable Development opens its doors

The Centre for Sustainable Development, the first commercial building in the downtown core of a major Canadian city to seek LEED Platinum certification in the category of new construction, was inaugurated at the end of October by its eight socially and environmentally minded member organisations and their donor partners.  The construction site has given way to an environmental and technological showcase in the heart of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles. It is a place where organizations can meet and share ideas with the public.

“The Centre for Sustainable Development is an ambitious project that owes its existence to a large community of sustainability leaders working together,” says Chair Sidney Ribaux, who is also Executive Director of Équiterre. Its aim is to create a true synergy between its founding members: the French-Canadian Amnesty International Division, Le Petit réseau daycare, the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Équiterre, Option consommateurs, the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec and Vivre en Ville.

Photo here and above © Paul Labelle

Green building
“The building itself is quite remarkable. It’s a perfect balance between architectural and environmental considerations, offering users an unusually high level of well-being while protecting the environment,” explains the Centre’s architect, Anik Shooner of the firm MENKÈS SHOONER DAGENAIS LETOURNEUX Architectes.

“The Centre for Sustainable Development is one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in Quebec. We paid particular attention to the choice of materials and to the environmental management of energy, water and waste, as well as to social issues,” adds Ribaux.

Photography: Bernard Fougères

The $27M building is equipped with a geothermal heating and cooling system, a high-performance thermal envelope, triple-pane windows, and an approximately 800sq m green roof. The project planners surpassed the LEED requirements with the addition, for example, of an approximately 38sq m living wall, by using a social insertion company, Boulot vers, to build the kitchen cabinets and some furniture, and by using wood recovered from river bottoms to cover the railings on the staircase and the landing.

Photography: Bernard Fougères

True to form, the Centre for Sustainable Development also obtained permission from the city not to provide the parking spaces that would otherwise have been required by law.

“Thank you to the visionary team that worked on this project. We hope that the Centre for Sustainable Development will inspire developers to pursue projects with a reduced environmental footprint,” concludes Mr. Ribaux.

Photography: Bernard Fougères

Events and shows
The Centre for Sustainable Development offers a place to meet and share ideas, both for its members and the public. Its boardrooms are available for rent, as is the Atrium, an open space with a living wall and a window that spans all five storeys. The rooftop terrace will open in spring 2012.

The Centre will also host several major events this fall, including the Interactive Sustainability for Leaders course by Natural Step Canada, the Provincial Climate Leadership Conference (Climate Action Network Canada), an awareness-raising event for Quebec businesses (1% for the Planet), and Amnesty International’s letter-writing marathon on International Human Rights Day.

To consult the program and to find out more about the Centre for Sustainable Development, click HERE

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