When the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence opens next September, it will have the highest ecological rating of any building of its size in the country.
Built to have the highest eco-friendly certification, the ACCE will use many sustainable elements in its design to consume 65 percent less energy. The college’s decision to build the five-storey structure is based around a philosophy of educational integration, as well a need to attract future students to the trades sector.
Once complete, the building itself will act as a sustainable lab where students learning construction trades can learn in a unique way.
“We will have sensors throughout the building, about 6,000 sensors in all, and all these sensors will be will be hooked up to the building’s mechanical systems,” explained Claude Brule, executive dean of Technology and Trades. “The performance of the building will be collected, analyzed, and displayed.”
In this way, students will learn how the building works, and will be able to manipulate the building’s controls while observing how these changes alter the data being collected.
Mike Rushton, director of Physical Resources at Algonquin, said that the quality of education future students would receive in a sustainable building is most important. By creating a facility that serves as an example, students can then learn from that example.
“We believe that having a facility that allows students to experience a sustainable facility at the highest level possible, while taking their studies, really integrates their learning” Ruston said.
By bridging the green systems of the building with the curriculum, students are introduced to a growing integration between sustainability and infrastructure. With a growing emphasis on building sustainable structures, the construction sector is in need of an educated workforce.
“There is a huge need to increase the number of graduates of people employed in the construction industry in this country” explained Rushton.
With more people entering the trades being less than those leaving, there is a demand for more people to be entering construction-related trades. These graduates will be required to know how to construct a sustainable structure, as the trend of building these structures grows.
In order to draw more potential workers into construction-related fields, the college wanted to build a facility that would attract students graduating from high school.
“We really want to attract young people out of high school, earlier in their careers, as a career choice, that they would go into a construction-related discipline,” said Rushton. “That meant we needed to be able to catch their attention that we would be a ‘best in class choice’ for them.
”By creating a sustainable facility that would provide an innovative educational experience, Rushton believes this will attract more people to Algonquin.
Creating sustainable buildings in the future has become a policy that Algonquin has enacted. Any structure being built on an Algonquin campus will strive to have a high level of sustainability. Bob Gillett, president of Algonquin, believes it is the college’s responsibility to strive to lessen its impact on the environment.
“Algonquin is committed to sustainability. We believe that corporate and community social responsibility is part of our mission in this world,” Gillett said