Trinity College is the first post-secondary institution in North America to secure a labelled Green Loan for its new residence and academic building – the Lawson Centre for Sustainability. Arranged by BMO, the Green Loan will be used to finance the construction of Trinity College’s ambitious new mass timber, zero carbon, LEED platinum multi-use building.

“This new flagship facility is the most significant building project Trinity College has undertaken in 100 years – something made possible by the generosity of our alumni who have given unprecedented levels of support to the Living Trinity Campaign. The Lawson Centre for Sustainability will enhance our historic campus and benefit students for generations to come,” said Professor Mayo Moran, Provost & Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, a university federated with the University of Toronto. “Through the new Lawson Centre for Sustainability and our innovative Integrated Sustainability Initiative, we are building upon our commitment to the environment, promoting wellness, and creating a new student experience model in which sustainability education and practices are integrated into daily life at the College.”

Construction of Trinity College’s Lawson Centre for Sustainability, Dec. 2023. (Trinity College)

Currently under construction, the multi-use facility will add 14,450 square metres of residential, academic, social and dining spaces for the community. Residential capacity on the Trinity campus will increase from 450 to 800 beds, responding to the need for more student housing and allowing more students to take advantage of the collegiate experience.

“Inspired by our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO’s Climate Ambition is to be our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net zero world,” said Jonathan Hackett, Head of Sustainable Finance, BMO. “As a leader in sustainable finance, we are proud to arrange the first labelled Green Loan to a North American university. Helping clients like Trinity College make progress towards their ESG goals, which include supporting sustainability education and practices, is a great example of the way we partner with organizations to create new and effective sustainable solutions.”

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Sustainability is at the core of the Lawson Centre’s design and construction, as well as operation and maintenance. The leading-edge mass timber building will use geothermal heating and cooling as well as rooftop photovoltaics, triple-glazed windows, an underground cistern for rainwater collection and reuse, and locally sourced materials, including limestone and bricks.

“Through our Integrated Sustainability Initiative, innovative sustainability programming will also be available to students, from academic and co-curricular initiatives to research opportunities and experiential learning, along with a farm-to-table program, community kitchen for teaching and learning, and food-systems research,” said Provost Moran, noting that the landscape plan includes unique native species ecology zones, two new courtyard spaces and open green space for a variety of activities, along with the George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm.

Scheduled to open in 2025, the Lawson Centre for Sustainability is expected to receive the highest advanced levels of energy efficiency certifications, including LEED Platinum certification and the Canada Green Building Council (“CaGBC”) Zero Carbon Building Design Standard. It will also aim to achieve the WELL standard to address the broader sustainability goals of the project and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals No. 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), No. 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), No. 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and No. 13 (Climate Action).

Featured image: Rendering of Trinity College’s Lawson Centre for Sustainability. (Trinity College)


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