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Energy showcase takes shape in downtown Winnipeg

Work on the foundations for the massive new 600,000-sq.ft. headquarters for Manitoba Hydro is under way in downtow...


Work on the foundations for the massive new 600,000-sq.ft. headquarters for Manitoba Hydro is under way in downtown Winnipeg. The $188-million structure is to be a showcase for energy savings when it is complete in 2007. Built to fulfil a commitment made when Manitoba Hydro purchased Winnipeg Hydro, the building will house approximately 1,800 employees and will consolidate many office functions downtown.
The design team, headed by Smith Carter Architects & Engineers and Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, includes Earth Tech as electrical and mechanical engineers, and Crosier Kilgour & Partners as structural engineers. Wardrop Engineering are the civil engineers, UMA Engineering and Dyregrov Consultants are geotechnical engineers, and ND LEA is engineer for traffic, access and parking. Energy engineering consultant is Transsolar Energietecknik GMBH of Stuttgart, Germany.
The building covers an entire block south of Portage between Edmonton and Carlton Streets, from which the existing structures had to be demolished last year.
The new building design is a splayed twin office tower of 22 storeys above a three-storey podium. Special features for energy efficiency include a geothermal heat pump system and a solar chimney to enhance fresh air ventilation. The building’s overall form and orientation are designed to use as many passive ventilation, heating and cooling capabilities as possible, while three and six-storey atria located throughout the tower function as solar collectors and air exchangers. A double facade will allow for the windows to be operable and high floor to floor heights are intended to allow daylight to penetrate as far inside the floors as possible to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
The target is to reduce energy consumption by 60% and achieve a gold level LEED certification. Because the building can be run more efficiently, the savings are expected to save the corporation $15 million in energy expenses every year.