Canadian Consulting Engineer

DiscoveryGreen Building

August 1, 2007
By Shail Mahanti, P.Eng. and Paul Chu, P.Eng., Cobalt Engineering

The rising cost of energy and increased awareness of finite resources has meant that building designers and manufacturers are constantly striving to combine the latest lighting technologies with advan...

The rising cost of energy and increased awareness of finite resources has meant that building designers and manufacturers are constantly striving to combine the latest lighting technologies with advanced control systems to produce highly efficient designs. These solutions should benefit the end-user and owner alike.

Discovery Parks Trust is British Columbia’s leading developer of office and research space designed for technology and biotechnology companies. For their latest project, the DiscoveryGreen Building in Burnaby, B.C., the trust asked Cobalt Engineering to deliver a progressive office building that would enhance the quality of life for its tenants, while taking a lead in environmental stewardship. The 13,935-sq.m. (150,000 sq.ft.) building, located at 4200 Canada Way, near Broadview Park, is currently under construction.

Design targets were set to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification for the Core and Shell program as a minimum. (Leed-CS differs from Leed for New Construction because it recognizes the distinction between owner and tenant responsibilities for certain building elements. The CS program was tailored to cover the sustainability of the developer’s role, including base building elements and building level systems.)

Responsive to fluctuating demands

The degree of control ultimately determines the level of energy efficiency and comfort for the occupants. The importance of control and the flexibility to respond to fluctuations in demand cannot be overstated. The DiscoveryGreen Building blends innovation with sustainability by considering six degrees of control:

* Smart time scheduling — is used to control lighting on a preset system by switching it on or off according to the timer.

* Daylight harvesting — is combined with artificial lighting to improve the indoor environmental quality. Photo sensors monitor the amount of natural light streaming into the workspaces and automatically adjust artificial lighting levels by dimming to maintain an appropriate lighting level without any waste.

* Task tuning — is used to set maximum lighting levels to meet the particular task requirements of a specific space to eliminate over-lighting.

* Occupancy sensors — are installed to detect occupancy levels and automatically turn off or reduce lighting levels when a space is not in use.

* Personal control software — will be installed through desktop software. It enables individuals to control or dim the lighting levels in their personal workspace to suit their specific needs.

* Variable load shedding — automatically reduces the building’s lighting load and the air conditioning load to match the occupancy level at any given time.

Choice of fixtures

The highly intelligent lighting system at the DiscoveryGreen Building speaks for itself. The average office building power density is 1.0-1.5 Watts per square foot, while this design produced a lighting power density 0.6 Watts per square foot. The progressive lighting design will create energy savings of 50% to 75% compared to a standard building.

By carefully balancing increased efficiency with greater control, this lighting system will deliver substantial operational savings to tenants and create a healthy and productive workplace.

For the DiscoveryGreen’s standard office layout, a fixture manufactured by a local manufacturer was selected with an energy efficient source T5 lamp in a recessed fixture configuration. These 2 x 2 ft (0.6 x 0.6 m) recessed fixtures were installed in a standard T-bar ceiling grid. In other areas of the building, such as the main lobby, compact fluorescent fixtures and energy efficient metal halide fixtures were specified. Around the building perimeter, the outdoor lighting was selected to be low profile metal halide fixtures that respond to “dark sky” design.

Owner: The Discovery Parks Trust

Mechanical, electrical and LEED consultants: Cobalt Engineering, Vancouver.

Architect: Bunting Coady


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