February 7, 2005

St Thomas branch is first LEED-certified credit union building in Ontario

A local credit union building in southwestern Ontario has become the first building of its type in the province to be certified to the LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. The newly-opened branch of the St Willibrord Credit Union boasts nearly 30 environmentally friendly and energy efficient features.

The project received over $10,000 in funding from the Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP), an initiative established by the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) in Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to encourage energy-efficient designs of new buildings. To be eligible for CBIP funding, a building design must demonstrate a reduction in energy use of at least 25% compared to the requirements of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB). The new St Willibrord Credit Union structure is expected to be at least 50% more efficient than a building built to MNECB standards.

Among the design and construction features of the St Thomas Branch are: extra insulation in roofs and walls; high-performance window frames, along with argon-filled, low-e, insulated glass in clerestory style windows which provide high, natural light to interior; high-efficiency lighting fixtures, together with energy-saving lighting controls; water-conserving toilets and faucets; a ground source heat pump system with a heat recovery unit; use of low-VOC, water-based paint; and use of ceiling and carpet tiles containing recycled and/or recyclable materials. The linoleum flooring is a 100% natural product and standard vinyl chloride wall coverings have been eliminated.

Adding to the building's heritage value is the use of locally reclaimed wood beams in the public lobby and locally reclaimed brick for exterior cladding. Roof rainwater is collected in a cistern for re-use in landscape irrigation, while parking lot rainwater is collected and diverted to a stormwater management pond. Native species and drought-resistant plants have been used in site landscaping. To promote sustainable transportation, the building is located on all four of the St Thomas public transit bus routes, and a bicycle rack is available for staff and customers. Last but not least, the branch has been built on an urban infill site, avoiding the use of existing farmland.

More information is available from Harry Joosten at the St Willibrord Credit Union, 519/672-0130, ext 322, E-mail hjoosten@mycu.com.

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