The recipient of the 2024 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Engineering was Dillon Consulting Ltd., in partnership with Saint Mary’s University for the Loyola Student Residence Recladding Project.

“Through the seamless combination of photovoltaic cladding, we redefine not just the skyline in Halifax but also the standards of professional engineering,” said Benjamin Doucet, P.Eng., Project Manager, Dillon Consulting Limited. “This project not only uplifts the image of our profession but firmly establishes Nova Scotia as a leader in adopting out of the box engineering solutions. It encapsulates our commitment to excellence, economic sustainability, and the bright future of green technology. Together, we’re not just building structures; we’re engineering a brighter, sustainable future.”

“This project demonstrates the tangible contribution of Canadian engineers towards solving the global challenge of climate change,” said Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, Saint Mary’s University President and Vice-Chancellor. “When the opportunity came along, the team at SMU and Dillon Consulting did not hesitate to try something new, something truly innovative. We sincerely hope that this is just the first of many similar integrated photovoltaic installations.”

Saint Mary’s University’s solar installation on the Loyola Residence tower transformed the 22-storey student residence into the tallest integrated solar exterior in North America.

(Saint Mary’s University)

The project, which began in 2023 and was completed in 2024, involved replacing the worn south-facing exterior wall with new building-integrated photovoltaic cells (BIPVs). Instead of attaching solar panels, the building surface itself generates electricity when in direct contact with sunlight. The project was carried out by DSRA Architects, Dillon Consulting, BMR Structural Engineering, EllisDon, Grey Cardinal Management Inc., Able Electric and Markland.

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The $6-million retrofit project will provide approximately 100,000 kWh of clean energy to the campus annually, including 50 percent of the energy required by the Loyola building, lowering its carbon footprint.

Senior Director of Facilities Management Dennis Gillis said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to make an impact on the environment, to push the envelope and to show people that it is ok to do things a little differently—we must do things differently when it comes to the environment. We are hoping the recognition from this award will further encourage others to take similar steps to help in the area of climate change.”

Featured image: Representatives of Saint Mary’s University and Dillon Consulting Ltd. were presented with the 2024 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Engineering during a ceremony held at the Government House. (Government of Nova Scotia)

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