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Langara College’s new Science & Technology Building is built to LEED Gold standards.

When Langara College was planning its new Science & Technology Building to replace science facilities built almost 50 years ago, the college put environmental considerations front and centre, says Ian Humphreys, provost and vice-president academic and students.

The recently opened five-storey building is awaiting LEED Gold certification, says Dr. Humphreys. Sustainable building practices reduced construction waste and prioritized local building materials, while heating, cooling and lighting systems work together to maximize energy efficiency. The facility's indoor water-efficiency systems are expected to reduce water use by a million litres a year – the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

One of the most innovative energy-performance elements of the building is its use of the Thermenex heat recovery system. This is the second building on Langara's campus to use the B.C.-developed technology, which targets zero thermal energy waste.

With the Thermenex system, the new building's heating and cooling are continuously controlled – with any unwanted heat moving to areas where it is needed throughout the day.

Langara's first Thermenex installation, in 2009, reduced thermal demands on a renovated building by one-third, making it the most energy-efficient building on campus. Facilities staff anticipate that the innovative system will help the new building significantly reduce its energy load.

The $54-million Science & Technology Building opened in September 2016, adding 12,000 square metres of space to the campus, including new classrooms and labs for students in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, nursing and kinesiology.

"This building has had an unimaginable impact on our students," says Dr. Humphreys. "We've upgraded the lab facilities to include all the technology pieces you need for a world-class lab experience – from state-of-the-art work stations to individualized low-flow fume hoods and cabinets."

A new greenhouse on the roof of the building allows students to create controlled environments that mimic different environmental conditions for biology experiments. And a rooftop observation deck provides astronomy students with hands-on telescope experience.

Perhaps one of the most welcomed features of the new building is its inclusion of an abundance of naturally lit study spaces.

"This is our signature building on campus, and we're proud of its dramatic design," says Wendy Lannard, director of facilities. One of its most notable elements is the 16-metre cantilevered portion of the building that incorporates a geometric oculus, allowing natural light to illuminate study spaces on each floor.

"From the day we opened the building," says Dr. Humphreys, "these collaborative study areas proved transformative, with students naturally drawn to them."

This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications, in partnership with The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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