The new Humber Cultural Hub (HCH) has been officially certified under the Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard v1 by the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC).

Spanning 365,000 square feet, the HCH will provide a new home for Humber’s award-winning music, creative arts and multimedia programs, and the Centre for Creative Business Innovation. The space which will be equipped with the latest creative technology will provide opportunities for the community to engage with high-quality performances outside of the downtown core. The HCH will be the largest zero-carbon design certification development for a university or college institution in Ontario.

A zero-carbon building is highly energy-efficient and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions from building materials and operations. CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standards are a made-in-Canada framework that establishes carbon as the new measure of building innovation.

“We want to push the boundaries of sustainable architecture and redefine the way we think about educational and cultural spaces,” says Aman Hehar, associate director, Energy & Climate Change. “Receiving Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification for the Humber Cultural Hub is a recognition of our commitment to sustainable practices, innovation, and the future well-being of our planet.”

Key design features of the HCH which lead to certification include:

  • Full Electrification: No natural gas in the building eliminates combustion and the associated on-site carbon emissions.
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps: Efficiently providing heating and cooling to the building, these heat pumps contribute to minimizing carbon emissions linked to the electrical grid during operations.
  • Energy Efficiency: Targeting a total annual Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 75 kWh/m2, the best-in-class energy performance reduces strain on provincial electrical grids as the broader economy transitions from natural gas to electricity.
  • Hybrid Mass Timber: Incorporating mass timber as part of the structure reduces the greenhouse gas emissions associated with extracting, producing and transporting building materials, as mass timber has a lower embodied carbon footprint compared to concrete and steel.
  • Photovoltaic Solar Panels: Strategically installed on the roof, these panels serve as a renewable energy source, reducing carbon emissions associated with the electrical grid during the building’s operations.
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“Humber was an early adopter of our Zero Carbon Building Standards, with Building NX, the first ZCB-Design certification in Canada, and now net-zero is built into the college’s Climate Action Plan,” said Mark Hutchinson, vice-president of Green Building Programs and Innovation at CAGBC. “With the Cultural Hub, Humber is embracing zero carbon building by prioritizing efficiency and electrification, as well as low-carbon materials. This project is indicative of the forward-thinking needed to advance zero carbon buildings and we congratulate Humber on their achievement.”

Featured image: (Humber College)

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