SAIT shows off Calgary’s first net-zero commercial building

SAIT shows off Calgary’s first net-zero commercial building

Photo by Elizabeth Cameron

To step into SAIT’s brand-new Green Building Technologies (GBT) Lab and Demonstration Centre is to step into the future – a future where buildings produce as much energy as they consume.

The hands-on research facility is Calgary’s first net-zero commercial building, meaning the energy it uses is roughly equivalent to what it produces. It produces most of its power through solar panels on the roof, reports Metro.

Students from multiple disciplines will have access to the latest green technology, renewable energy and climate-friendly building materials that will be part of everyday life someday – perhaps sooner rather than later, according to the general manager of the GBT research division at SAIT.

“I think this is an example of future buildings, today,” said David Silburn as he led a tour of the 590-square-meter structure. “All buildings will eventually be zero-carbon and net zero-energy … (This) is a great way to teach our students on how to make those buildings that we will need in 2030, 2050.”

Students from multiple disciplines helped design and build the center, which features a solar and electric vehicle charging port outside near the main entrance. Inside, a living wall offers a breath of fresh air and a spacious kitchen overlooks the Canadian campus.

“You can see (the student’s) handiwork all around the building, from the electrical system on the roof, to the structural frame, to some of the actual carpentry itself,” Silburn said.

Students will be able to cultivate their own sustainable ideas, too – there is space dedicated for testing materials and construction staging, as well as electrical, plumbing and carpentry workshops. 

SAIT president and CEO Dr. David Ross said the center, which sits on the northwest corner of campus, will place the polytechnic at the forefront of green innovation.

“It really will set the stage for the future, in terms of building capacity and net-zero residential technology that we can take advantage of,” Ross said. “It gives us a platform, I think, to do some very interesting things over the years ahead.”


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