A premier client, the OAA is Canada’s largest architect licensing and consulting firm. In 2017 the OAA’s existing mechanical infrastructure at their headquarters in North York was nearing the end of its lifecycle and needed to be replaced. OAA wanted to be leaders in environmentally sustainable buildings, through thoughtful design and renovation, instead of demolishing the building and rebuilding.
Our early conversations quickly revealed the OAA wanted an environmentally-friendly infrastructure that used leading green technology. Not only would these changes reduce operating costs, they would help achieve net-zero carbon emissions, as part of the 2030 Architecture Challenge they were taking part in.
First, we started underground, installing an advanced geothermal piping system. Geothermal systems transfer heat by pumping water or a refrigerant through pipes deep below the Earth’s surface, where the temperature is a constant 10° to 15.5°C. During the winter, the water or refrigerant absorbs warmth from the Earth, and the pump brings this heat into the building above. In the summer, the heat pumps can run in reverse, and help cool the building.
From the ground we moved on to the roof, where Plan Group installed solar hot water panels, and two types of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The PV panels are connected to a highly intelligent system run throughout the building. Motion-activated sensors in each room make sure the electricity captured by the solar panels is used only when needed, like when someone enters a room. Looking to the future, OAA hopes for their headquarters to use solar energy to power their building completely.
The OAA’s head office is leading the way in office space net-zero carbon emissions through sustainable, environmentally friendly retrofitting. Our Commercial Mechanical department are right next to them helping with ideas, recommendations, and installations. Way to go team!