This article by Kenneth Chan originally appeared in Daily Hive on 15 May 2019.

The University of British Columbia’s recently completed Campus Energy Centre (CES) has won national recognition for its leading-edge sustainable design.

CES has won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s 2019 Green Building Award, and it is the only building in BC to be recognized in this year’s Awards of Excellence.

Located at 6130 Agronomy Road within the science precinct of the academic campus, just across from the Life Sciences Institute building, the CES was completed in 2016 at a cost of $24 million to provide a critical function to the campus: the supply of hot water to 130 campus buildings through 14 km of underground pipe.

The 20,000-sq-ft state-of-the-art facility, which is LEED Gold certified, uses about 63% less energy and 31% less water than a conventional building of its type. Three 15-megawatt natural-gas-fired high-efficiency boilers heat water for the entire campus, and there is ample room for a capacity expansion to an exponentially higher total output of 80 megawatts.

And all of this is contained inside a building predominantly made out of timber, which is rare for an industrial-sized utility building of such importance. The building is constructed with cross-laminated timber — a low-carbon, renewable alternative to steel construction, and a design that enables natural ventilation and cooling.

Glass exterior walls fronting a plaza space at a prominent intersection corner allows passersby to view the inner workings of the facilities. This space is also accompanied by interactive signage and displays.