Blog Contributor: Elenore Breslow
Did you know that the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Building (MWS) will soon be targeting LEED® certification for existing buildings?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly known as “LEED ®” is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Not only is LEED® available for new construction projects, but it is also used for existing buildings – like MWS. This type of certification is known as LEED® for Operations & Maintenance (O+M) – Existing Buildings. Located in the heart of St. Catharines, there are many features that make MWS so unique and the ideal building to be certified under LEED® O+M.
According to LEED®, it can take up to 80 years to make up for the impacts of demolishing an existing building and constructing a new one, even if the resulting building is extremely energy efficient. This is one of the many reasons why the collaboration between Brock University and the City of St. Catharines to revitalize this space, was such an important factor in making MWS eligible for certification.
The building was initially constructed in 1888, as the Canadian Hair Cloth Factory that served as a textile factory for over 150 years. In 2008, famed textile artist Marilyn I. Walker donated an unprecedent $15 million to Brock University to help transform and revitalize the space. The heritage building was then preserved and rehabilitated, in addition to constructing the new Studio Theatre and Gallery.
The former Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Derek J.J. Knight noted that the building is “a blend of heritage features and new, state-of-the-art learning facilities provide inspiring spaces for students of music, dramatic and visual arts.”
This adaptive-reuse project fits the standard for LEED® O+M in many ways including: Energy use, water consumption, waste reduction, occupant satisfaction, and more. One of the main goals through certification is to maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts; and LEED® provides the tools to help navigate this process.
Not only will this certification showcase the existing sustainability features at MWS, but it will also highlight areas for continuous improvement to become more resource-efficient, healthy and resilient. This helps provide optimal conditions for students, staff, and faculty, for health, comfort and productivity.
LEED® O+M is not a one-time certification, as Brock must resubmit data annually and recertify every three years. Brock is targeting LEED® O+M certification by early 2022! The Marilyn I. Walker LEED® certification will be the 3rd building at Brock to become certified, along with the Plaza Building and International Centre.
Keep a look out on Sustainability at Brock for all updates.