CIRS is a space for multidisciplinary education and research, and though it’s one of the greenest buildings on earth, living within the resources and energy flow available on the site and surroundings, its goal is to become the baseline which future buildings will surpass.
Rather than simply reducing its environmental impact, CIRS enriches its environment by making use of resources that would otherwise go unused. CIRS sources energy from the ground and scavenges heat from neighbouring buildings, generates electricity from the sun, obtains ventilation from the wind and harvests its water from the rain. Utilizing new technologies, CIRS also returns energy and water back to its surroundings.
With its sustainable wood structure, large glass windows and living green walls and roof, the stunning four-story CIRS exterior blends harmoniously with the west coast beauty of the UBC campus.
It is a short walk from trails that meander down forested cliffs to the ocean and beaches. It sits on Sustainability Street, one of the first “green” corridors to intersect the campus between public spaces; just down the street from the CK Choi Building, one of the first green buildings in North America, and the Lui Centre for Global Issues, another innovative sustainable building.
CIRS represents technology and aesthetic aligning to demonstrate the impact of environmental advancement and design. Visitors and inhabitants of the 58,000 square foot building step through the main doors into the Science and Technology Commons, a light and airy space full of activity and innovation, and connect immediately with the building’s green features, like its vegetated wall with deciduous plantings changing with the seasons, its photo-voltaic cells, and its large solar collectors capturing energy for the hot water system.
The life pulse of the building is reflected upon entry through four large screens forming a video wall, displaying the building’s real-time energy and water consumption and production, and information on CIRS’ partners as well as activities taking place in the building. The screens also display campus and regional sustainability indicators.
Research in the building is beginning to explore how people interact within the space, and with the building itself. Research is ongoing in the building to find urban sustainability solutions that work locally, and that can be replicated across the globe. The CIRS building is the starting point of a visionary experiment that will lead to massive strides in advancing sustainability.
To see construction photos, visit the CIRS photo gallery.