The new space exemplifies many features aimed at promoting sustainability, wellness, and energy efficiency, including ensuring the use of healthier materials, and emphasizing the importance of educating employees about the features of a greener work environment, while generating operational savings. WSP is an engineering consulting firm.
Spanning five floors and 9290 m2 (100,000 sf) in Calgary’s downtown core, WSP Calgary’s new offices meet the rigorous energy, materials, and holistic requirements of the LEED v4 rating system. With this certification, WSP has achieved, or is predicted to achieve strong results for energy and water efficiency, and waste diversion, including:
- 100 per cent of anticipated energy use offset by renewable energy certificates (RECs) for electricity and carbon offsets (for natural gas) for five years;
- 96 per cent of equipment and appliances are Energy Star certified;
- 87 per cent of construction waste diverted from landfill;
- 48 per cent lighting power density reduction vs. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-2010, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings, with 82 per cent and 34 per cent of lighting controlled by vacancy and daylight sensors, respectively; and
- 31 per cent calculated water savings vs. LEED baseline.
Additionally, the design team was able to achieve several of the more rigorous LEED v4 Materials & Resources credits: Environmental Product Declarations (Option 1); Sourcing of Raw Materials (Option 2); Material Ingredients (Option 1); and Low-Emitting Materials (compliance in five categories).
Employee health and wellness was also highlighted in this project through features such as:
- open-plan layout providing ample access to natural daylight;
- employee privacy features such as quiet spaces throughout the office and improved acoustics;
- sustainable and healthy purchasing policy drawing on both LEED O+M and WELL requirements for procuring food, office supplies, and cleaning products;
- low-emitting paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, flooring, and composite wood and furniture to minimize exposure to potential toxicants;
- access to indoor bicycle parking and showers; and
- motorized sit-stand desks for all employees.
Biophilic design was also a major contribution to improving health, wellness, and productivity. The office incorporates a variety of natural elements, stimuli, and patterns throughout the space, including:
- full-height wall graphics and images showcasing Alberta’s natural landscapes;
- a variety of vegetation, including a living wall and potted plants;
- accent colours in rich, warm, and natural tones reflective of regional geography and changing seasons;
- finishes incorporating natural materials, such as stone and wood, and patterns evoking natural elements such as fractal geometry; and
- peaceful spaces for refuge such as phone rooms, collaboration huts, wellness rooms, and a quiet room.
These strategies helped the project achieve a LEED v4 Innovation point using the “Designing with Nature” pilot credit.