Previous to the building’s opening, 200 federal employees across fifteen departments had been scattered across Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories. A desire to consolidate these departments and to show to advantage the sustainability and resourcefulness of the Government of Canada inspired the creation of the Greenstone Government of Canada Building, one of the most innovative and sustainable buildings in the Arctic and the world.
Named for the greenstone that contains the gold that led to the development of the city of Yellowknife, our vision for the Greenstone building is to provide an environment that is comfortable, refreshing and inspiring for its occupants, and that integrates beautifully with the surrounding landscape. With the aim foremost in our minds of harmonizing nature with the built environment, we innovated to create thoughtful technologies and design strategies that bring the Greenstone Building to the leading edge of sustainable design.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF THE SUN
The Greenstone Building is the very first LEED® Gold project in the Arctic (and the very first for our team!). The massive south-facing curtainwall allows daylight to flood the atrium while inconspicuous photovoltaic panels gather the energy of the sun, which in turn heats the building’s water. Water use is reduced by more than 60% and annual energy is an outstanding 58.6% below the model baseline. The panels form the largest array of its kind in Canada—and second largest in the world—at the time of its opening.
On its LEED® score, the Greenstone Building achieved a near-perfect rating for energy savings. More than $80 000 in energy is saved per year, and greenhouse emissions are reduced by upwards of 370 tonnes. Beyond its energy efficiency, the building also features a green roof and the only outdoor public green space to be found in downtown Yellowknife.