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Net-Zero Goals Spark Curtain Wall Development

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Ontario’s Mohawk College (Fennell Campus) is on course to open a new facility in the fall of 2018 that will be the first net-zero institutional building in the region.

The 96,000-square-foot Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will feature solar-powered labs, workshops, study spaces and a lecture theater when complete.

In a joint venture with B+H Architects and McCallum Sather, the Joyce Centre will help determine the requirements and standards for the Canadian Green Building Council's Zero Carbon Buildings Framework and contribute to the World Green Building Council’s “Advancing Net Zero” project, which aims to ensure that all buildings are net zero carbon by 2050.


Project officials worked with building scientists to develop a new curtain wall system that incorporates isolation gaskets and has an R20 thermal performance overall.

The solar panels will be in the form of large “wings” on top of the structure.

“We really wanted to elevate the concept of capturing the sun’s energy and making it a design feature as opposed to a series of panels that are going on the roof,” said Joanne McCallum, director and cofounder of McCallum Sather.

B+H principal Kevin Stelzer said that the standard curtain wall elements typically act like an energy sieve.

“Architects love designing with curtain wall, but the standard design can be one of the biggest impediments to sustainable performance right now,” Stelzer said.

Glass Coatings

In a video update on the project’s website, Tony Cupido, the chief building and facilities officer at the college, shows off samples of the triple-glazed glass panels used for the exterior.

The low-e coating on the glass is the key to slowing down heat transmission, and the glass will work with pre-cast panels throughout the building envelope. The panels will eventually be installed via clips on the structural steel of the facility.

The building is also slated to have a geothermal system and a green roof.


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Building Envelope; Curtain wall extrusions and cladding; Net Zero Energy ; North America; Solar energy

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