Award Winner 2011:

Enermodal Engineering Headquarters

Kitchener, Ontario

For their new headquarters Enermodal Engineering wanted to create a healthy, attractive work environment for its employees in a building that uses less energy than any other office in the country. After a year of operation the project has an extremely low measured energy use of only 21 k/btu/ft2 (69 kWh/m2) which is 82% less energy than a conventional office building in Canada. The buidling is the first in Canada to achieve triple LEED-Platinum certifications (NC,CI and EBOM).

The project’s site overlooking the Grand River is a reminder of the importance of water stewardship. Drought tolerant native plants, a rainwater cistern and low-flow fixtures have led to measured water use that is 89% less than a standard building.

Enermodal takes great strides in encouraging staff to embrace sustainability in their lives. Employees may use plots in front of the building for planting gardens, and they are reimbursed for transit, purchase of high-efficiency vehicles, and the purchase of low-flow showerheads, compost bins, and rain barrels for their homes.

Outstanding Features

The building’s HVAC system has been zoned using small areas, providing better occupant control and energy efficiency. The system uses energy recovery, and also earth tubes for pre-conditioning supply air. All HVAC and lighting systems are controlled by occupancy sensors. Automated exterior blinds control solar gain and glare. A rooftop photovoltaic array offsets up to 5.5kW of electrical use. Locally sourced materials were specified, including salvaged stone from two demolished buildings.
For more information view the project submittal (pdf) >>

Survey Results

The occupant survey administered one year after occupancy showed that employees were overwhelmingly pleased with their workspace, and the survey scores for all but one category put the building in or above the 95th percentile. The score for acoustics was good, in the 70th percentile, but the Enermodal management decided to improve on this by installing sound masking in open office areas, and has encouraged employees to hold all meetings and conference calls in meeting rooms. Enermodal is conducting another survey to learn if this strategy was successful.
View the survey results (pdf) >>

Jury Comments

"This project team just got it. From the onset they had a goal, they put priorities in place to maximize strategies and did so in an eloquent way. Ninety-nine percent of folks are happy with that space."

""This project has very impressive energy statistics and very high user satisfaction scores, with the energy being the best of the eight finalists. The central skylight is a nice feature for this climate, the long thin building promotes daylighting, and obviously this company cares about sustainability."

Project Team

Owner: Enermodal Engineering Ltd.
Architect: Robertson Simmons architects inc.
M/E Engineer: Enermodal Engineering Ltd.
Civil/Structural Engineer: MTE Consultants
Contractor: Melloul Blamey Construction
Landscape Architect: Roth and Associates
LEED Consultant: Enermodal Engineering Ltd.

Additional Information

Article in Canadian Consulting Engineer

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The project site overlooks the Grand River.

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Night view of entry elevation.

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All interior areas have ample views and daylight. Images courtesy of Enermodal.