Vibrant, full of natural light, inclusive, and student-centered were a few of the required attributes for the NorQuest College expansion. The new space also needed to support consolidation of several facilities into a single, environmentally responsible downtown campus that would provide an exceptional learning experience for the thousands of students who attend the college each year.
The Singhmar Centre for Learning, NorQuest College’s first major capital project in over 40 years, marks a new chapter in the college’s history. The LEED® Gold, four-story building sits in the heart of downtown Edmonton and demonstrates the college’s commitment to providing its students with a first-class college experience while preparing them for the local workforce. The center’s features include a combination of 50 classrooms and teaching labs, a library, child care center, Indigenous student center complete with a ceremonial room and much more.
A large central atrium allows natural light to filter to the deepest parts of the building, including inner classrooms which have windows facing the atrium. The Singhmar Centre for Learning is a bright and spacious building that was truly designed for students—giving them the classrooms, study space and student services they need to thrive throughout their studies.
A double façade system along the west elevation assists with temperature management. In the winter the vents are closed to trap solar energy and provide supplementary passive heating, while in the summer the vents are opened to provide passive cooling which works in conjunction with shading and cooling systems. Additional green features include water harvesting, low volume fixtures, a high-performance building envelope, low environmental impact products and materials, and key program adjacencies such as locating heat generating computer labs away from the building exterior to reduce cooling loads.
The project exceeded its initial target of LEED® Silver and achieved LEED® Gold certification. During construction, PCL achieved the following measures which assisted the team in surpassing its goal:
- 83.80% of construction and demolition waste diverted from landfill;
- 95% diversion rate for green wood, white wood, metals, drywall/gypsum and concrete/asphalt;
- 34.45% water use reduction over the baseline fixture performance requirements;
- 44% energy cost reduction over the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Baseline Building; and,
- High albedo materials cover 98.46% of the effective roof area.
Exceptional collaboration between all project partners helped NorQuest College achieve its vision of a sustainable, expanded downtown campus.