Humber College’s Learning Resource Commons has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification.
Lindsay Walker, Manager of Sustainability at Humber’s North campus, announced the news of the LEED award on Wednesday.
“It’s the way we should be building all our buildings and that’s the plan, it shows that we really are committed to sustainability on campus,” said Walker.
“It’s the leading third party sustainability system completely independent of Humber and the design team. It meets the gold standard so, it means a lot,” said Aman Hehar, Humber North’s energy efficiency manager.
Hehar mentions that Humber actually has another LEED gold building in the Arboretum.
“There’s a tiny little building down there and 10 years ago it was probably the first in the Toronto area to get LEED gold, but the LRC is a much bigger and expensive project and it’s kind of cool to see 10 years later how far we’ve come,” said Hehar.
Whether it’s the centre core staircase, the scenic view, the green rooftop, or the huge solar panel, the design of the LRC is what Walker calls “student focused.”
“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that being sustainable is student focused because we are thinking about the future generation and thinking about the impact we have on our community. We’re thinking about the spaces where our students learn and live in while they are here,” she said.
Factors such as air quality, lighting and accessibility, are what Walker speaks of in creating the institution Humber strives to be.
“There are things that are upfront and there are things happening in the background that make it sustainable. Like all the recycled materials that went into building it, the fact that a lot of the products used were sourced locally and a lot of them came within a certain distance from the campus,” said Hehar.
Hehar said he favours the feature staircase.
“It’s really cool that it’s in the centre core of the building and it encourages people to take the stairs. Also, the views. I think in terms of occupant wellness, having that lighting and views is a big part of sustainability. Even if you are a student walking through there, you have some of the best views on campus from that building,” said Hehar.
“There is a lot of research that shows giving occupants access to light helps their moods and helps increase their productivity,” he continued. “We’re trying to give a building to the students where they can be the best they can be. Architectural design 20 years ago didn’t think that way. There is a cultural change in the industry for the better.”
Walker couldn’t just pick one element she liked the most about the LRC, but when it came to what had the most impact, it would be energy and water.
“However, partnered with the LRC was the development with the bus loop which was really important because it makes it more accessible and everything is in one place for students and staff to get here safely,” she adds.
Both the bus loop and the views are the favourite additions to campus of Gysella Verdesoto, Humber Business student.
“I take the bus every day to campus. It’s nice that the bus drops you off at a designated area and if you need to go to another destination, all the other buses you have to choose from can be found there,” she said.
In terms of the views, it brings up Verdesoto’s mood.
“When I have a break in between classes, I go to the LRC and find a place to hang out on my laptop. It’s so beautiful to see how bright it is up there and to see the city,” she said.
Since the success of the LRC, there’s a whole bunch of buildings getting organized.
“One [building] at North campus that will be highly rated above and beyond LEED gold, (is the) Centre for Technology Innovation. That one will be highly sustainable. More than any other building we’ve ever made,” said Walker.
“This is the norm if not the minimum, it’s only going to get more and more sustainable in every building we build going forward,” she said.