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With environmental concerns on the rise in many places, eco-friendly building is also gaining prominence. There are many excellent reasons why going green is crucial to the environment. Practices such as recycling and using renewable energy significantly contribute toward the reduction of carbon emissions that impact on the environment.

Some buildings in major urban centers contribute to environmental impact as a result of their heating and cooling requirements. However, new developments in the construction industry show that eco-friendly buildings can reduce ecological effects in many ways. Many impressive buildings in different cities across the world are friendly to the environment.

In Canada, the coolest building is the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS).  Established in 2011 in British Columbia, the building is a beautiful thing that cost thirty-seven million Canadian dollars. Sustainable living is the primary idea behind the creation of this magnificent building, and it also consists of amazing features.

Key Features Of The Centre For Interactive Research On Sustainability Building

The main idea behind CIRS from its onset is to showcase the significance of sustainable design in achieving a high-performance building. The design of the building includes the integration of passive design strategies together with advanced sustainable technologies. Different stages in the construction of the building followed sustainable practices.

Restoration and regeneration were the guiding principles from the beginning of the construction of CIRS. The whole process aimed at creating a positive impact on the environment in contrast to other methods that contribute to environmental degradation.

The lighting system in the building uses minimum resources, and the lights switch off if there is no motion detection. The system is useful in saving energy given that the users may forget to switch off the lights when they leave the building.

Other areas in the building have switches, and the lighting system consists of LED lights. These types of bulbs are energy efficient, and they save power, unlike other incandescent lamps. LED lights are also useful in that they are durable, so there is no wastage of resources in the long run.

The water system in the CIRS building uses minimum resources which contribute to sustainability. The heating system for water relies on renewable solar energy. The structure consists of several solar panels that line it and this help to create surplus energy every year.

The CIRS generates more power than it requires for its operations which positively contributes to sustainability in energy use. Apart from a positive impact on the environment, solar energy significantly lowers the costs regarding utility bills.  There are also more eco-friendly changes to the Centre that are coming in future. These changes aim to ensure that the building achieves zero environmental impact in the long run.

Sustainability At The Centre For Interactive Research On Sustainability

Many conventional office buildings are believed to contribute to environmental impact through various ways. For instance, heating and cooling systems in many buildings consume a lot of energy, and they also emit some substances that can impact on the environment.

However, the Centre for the Interactive Research on Sustainability building uses eco-friendly heating and cooling systems. The structure is commonly referred to as a “living laboratory” because of the cooling system it uses.

The building makes use of plants and other forms of vegetation to provide shade for the building during summer when it is hot. During winter, the same vegetation helps to retain heat thereby making the interior warm. Through this cooling system, the building drastically reduces the need for using air conditioners as well as heaters.

The cooling system is natural and it does not impact on the environment in any way. As such, the CIRS boasts of CaGBC’s LEED Platinum certification, and it also has many sustainability and high-performance awards. The building is unique in that it symbolizes ongoing research that aims at transforming the whole campus into a sustainable community.

The living laboratory stands as the basis for the stakeholders of the University of British Colombia to conduct research that helps promote sustainability.  The technologies created are applied at the campus to generate interest in sustainability issues. In undertaking various studies, the researchers take into account elements such as energy generation and distribution systems.

The hope is that CIRS development will go a long way in inspiring other communities to implement the initiative. The kinds of sustainability solutions currently taking place at UBC can influence other people to share its vision for “living laboratory.”

Through partnering other researchers and industrialists, UBC’s efforts seek to address sustainability issues at a commercial scale. For example, the steam to hot water conversion seeks to drive other living lab projects. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of other heating systems that are not eco-friendly.

The Building System And Infrastructure At CIRS

The planning, designing and building systems of CIRS constitute an ongoing research program that helps to promote sustainability in construction. CIRS consists of a viable network of sensors and controls to enhance proper monitoring of all functional systems.

The controls are also significant for tracking performance and reporting to ensure that all the systems are properly functioning. Continuous monitoring of the methods in the building also helps to collect data for other research projects that can promote sustainability.

The CIRS building is subject to ongoing study for 100 years to enhance design and innovation. The building is a process instead of a fixed product with a short lifespan of about 40 years or so. In other words, the CIRS structure helps explicitly to promote further research about eco-friendly buildings.

The other handsome features of CIRS design include expandability, flexibility, and adaptability. These features help to ensure that the building can adapt to new uses without necessarily undergoing extensive and costly renovations. The structure can also respond to future requirements without wasteful activities.

CIRS also has mechanical connections that help to join different structural components. These connections are vital since they can facilitate complete disassembly of its parts. The strategies also enhance the building’s resilience to change while at the same time maintaining its originality and value.

CIRS represents a new approach to building design that has its core principles grounded in regenerative sustainability. There are many global sustainability challenges faced by environmentalists, and it is essential to inspire them to think beyond the net zero impact.

It is essential for people to focus on restoring and regenerating the atmosphere through the use of adequate resources. It is also crucial that people make an effort to capture the amount of carbon dioxide they emit during construction purposes. People should even think of measures they can take to be builders of their environment instead of degrading it.

Restorative sustainability aims to shift the mindset of the developers from assessing the impact of measuring the benefits of their development. Good development should also strive to achieve net positive results that are beneficial to the environment and the welfare of the people at large.

The Design Process Of CIRS

In designing a building, many factors require due attention. The design process of CIRS consisted of a series of sustainability elements and other factors that could help in restoring the environment.

Revised Design Principles

The process involved revision of sustainability goals and identifying the necessary strategies of implementing them. Indeed, recognizing the goals of sustainability is not an end since there are measures that relate to the aspect of implementation. When designing a building, it is important to note that some goals may appear to be impossible.

In revising its design principles, the developers sought to ensure the uniqueness of CIRS. In building other structures, the designers look at the basics, but CIRS incorporates all sustainability issues. As a result, the building cost more, but the value is worth the significance of the new structure.

Water supply

The other important element in the design of CIRS pertains to the water supply. The building uses rainwater harvesting as its water supply system, and it also has a portable treatment system of water. The system is easy to manage, and it also promotes the reuse of water as a way of minimizing the amount of waste that can impact the environment.

The use of rainwater harvesting promotes sustainability in building due to reliance on natural resources. These strategies do not cause any environmental impact as a result of eco-friendly treating and recycling methods. Other pertinent factors related to water supply include compliance with regulatory requirements, operational and maintenance needs.

Day-Lighting and Solar Shading,

The design process of CIRS also involved day-lighting and solar shading. During construction, daylighting strategies played an important role to ensure that the whole process was natural. From the onset, the building was earmarked to reduce environmental impact as much as possible. To achieve the goal, the construction process involved wood structures as well as preserving the pedestrian paths.

Energy Modelling

The other design process involves building ventilation as well as energy capacity requirements. Assessment of the impact of carbon emissions from different sources of energy is also vital to avoid any effect on the environment.

Representatives in the design team involved academic researchers, industry partners, UBC stakeholders, and external experts. The CIRS project is still ongoing since it is for continuous development of eco-friendly buildings in the environs of UBC.

What Are The Advantages Of Eco-Friendly Building?

The building is fantastic in that it is eco-friendly and it is also energy efficient. The major causes of environmental impact usually involve different sources of energy that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. For instance, fossil fuels significantly contribute to carbon emissions, and these are responsible for global warming and climate change.

The best thing about the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability building is that it uses renewable energy.  This kind of energy comes derived from natural processes, and it is abundant. Renewable energy replenishes at a rate faster than the consumption rate of power.

There are different forms of renewable energy that comes directly from the sun or heat that comes from within the earth. However, wind and solar energy are the fastest growing forms of energy in Canada. As such, the source of energy in the CIRS building is solar power.

The building consists of many solar panels that provide its energy for different purposes. Solar energy is eco-friendly, and it does not cause any impact on the environment. The energy that comes from the sun is abundant to power the whole building, and there is also surplus power generated. The advantage here is that solar energy is cost effective.

The other advantage of solar energy is that it does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that damage the environment. Apart from damaging the atmosphere, carbon emissions can also affect the health of people. Therefore, CIRS is safe to both the environment and the people.

It is also easy to maintain various operations within the building since they rely on renewable energy. The structure is also adaptive to different environmental factors, and there are no fears of costly renovations in case of climate changes. Renewable energy is cheap to obtain, and it is good for the environment.

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What Next?

CIRS helps to prove that it is possible to adhere to the principles of regenerative sustainability in building eco-friendly structures. People who seek to achieve a positive performance of buildings can operationalize the ideals of restorative sustainability to benefit their communities.

The success of the CIRS project is inspirational to the UBC since it helps to show that it is possible to achieve total sustainability in building. It is significant to conduct more research to make better sustainability goals than this pilot project. To accomplish this, people should change their mindset toward building projects.

However, CIRS remains a cornerstone for continuous research and development of eco-friendly buildings. The UBC can play a pivotal role in promoting the idea of regenerative sustainability to other members of different communities as a way of safeguarding the environment. The reason is that there are many benefits of constructing sustainable buildings in the long run.

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