The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation incorporates leading-edge energy harvesting and conservation technologies and techniques. At 96,000 square feet, the $54-million centre is Hamilton's first zero-carbon institutional building, and one of the largest in Canada.
What is a Zero Carbon building?
In May 2017, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) was the first Green Building Council to launch a dedicated Zero Carbon Building Standard, making carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance.
The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation was selected by the CaGBC as one of 16 national pilot projects to demonstrate the new standard. Within this standard, a zero-carbon building is defined as one that is highly energy-efficient and produces onsite, or procures carbon-free, renewable energy in an amount sufficient to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with operations.
The Joyce Centre’s building envelope is designed to be as air tight as possible so that heating and cooling systems work a minimal amount of the time – if at all. The roof was also designed to increase thermal performance, with green (planted) areas and surfaces that reflect heat from the sun.
The Joyce Centre is designed to take advantage of an important source of free energy: sunlight! There are a total of 1,980 solar panels installed as part of this project, projected to generate 730,000 kWh of energy annually. That’s enough to power 67 homes for a year! The Centre also uses no natural gas onsite – the all-electric set up allows for the easiest route to low carbon for most buildings.
The Joyce Centre generates its own renewable energy using a geothermal system. Energy is generated and stored in 28 geothermal wells drilled to a depth of 605 feet. A geothermal system takes advantage of our unique climate by storing heat extracted from the building during cooling season into the ground and by drawing that heat from the ground during heating season for use in the building.
Let the light in! The Joyce Centre uses natural light to reduce energy needed for lighting. Large, insulated windows allow sunlight to illuminate classrooms, labs and hallways. A specially designed central light well allows natural light to flow through five floors. Sensor-controlled LED lighting detects sunlight and will dim, or turn off, when there’s plenty of sunshine available.
The Joyce Centre reduces water by using smart water conservation technologies. Two underground cisterns capture 228,000 litres of rainwater runoff. This water is then used in wastewater plumbing and landscaping systems. By capturing and reusing rainwater, The Joyce Centre is helping to manage storm water and reduce clean water consumption.
The Joyce Centre is carefully built to maximize efficiency and reduce heat and water waste. The average Canadian uses 251 litres of water each day. About 30% of this water is used to flush toilets. Older toilets can use up to 13 litres of water for each flush! To reduce wastewater, The Joyce Centre uses low-flow taps, toilets and urinals.
A Sustainability Learning Hub
The Joyce Centre is a sustainability-focused learning hub, featuring seven storeys of labs, student study spaces and collaboration areas:
- The building houses a cutting-edge Digital Creativity Centre and labs specializing in digital health, avionics, renewable energy testing, sustainable design, energy and power management, physics and metrology, industrial automation, and cyber security.
- Two main floor lecture halls are used by students from across the college.
- Outside the 150 and 200-seat lecture halls is a cafe and gallery that hosts college, community and industry events.
- The Centre for Climate Change Management is housed on the fourth floor, supporting regional action on climate change and serving as a nexus for industry, community, government, and academic partners to drive collaboration and research.
A Living Lab
Learning is not limited to The Joyce Centre’s labs:
- Students have access to every level of the building, from the solar thermal array on the roof to the mechanical room and the sub-basement water room. Students get hands-on learning in how to operate, monitor and maintain a zero-carbon building.
- The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation also serves as a demonstration site for industry partners looking to adopt zero-carbon technologies into commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Partners work alongside students and faculty on applied research projects, with a special focus on the generation, distribution and storage of renewable energies.
- Digital dashboards and signs are located throughout The Joyce Centre. Use them to learn about the building’s sustainability features and how you can participate in making this a sustainable space.