Case Studies

CIRS- University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability was established to accelerate sustainability by quickly finding effective solutions to the challenges of urban development. This living laboratory demonstrates the University of British Columbia's commitment to leadership in sustainability through research and innovation.

 

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The building actually improves the surrounding environment

The CIRS facility uses water from the sky and heat and cooling from the sun, ground, and neighboring buildings. Liquid waste is treated on site, and the building sequesters more carbon than was emitted during construction. Going forward, it returns more useful energy to campus than it consumes.

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A modular approach to the interior architecture provides future assurance

As the Centre’s needs evolve, Haworth furniture and walls can be reconfigured as needed, and new Haworth products will integrate seamlessly with the existing investment. This not only minimizes cost associated with change, but reduces waste as well. A raised-access floor enhances the flexibility by providing easy access to modular power and data while distributing air throughout the space. The user-friendly, ergonomic workstations and seating create a more comfortable, productive atmosphere.

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Calling the new Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) the “greenest building in North America” isn’t giving it enough credit. 

The building is designed to not only have as little impact as possible, but to actually improve the surrounding environment. The goal was to help make inhabitants healthier, happier, and more productive as they help shape public policy through new ideas.

The CIRS mandate is to accelerate sustainability through an ongoing commitment to more quickly develop solutions to the world’s environmental challenges.

In 2011, CIRS opened the doors on a concept that began taking shape seven years earlier with the idea to create a building that didn't just reduce people’s impact on the world, but actually helped restore it. The four-story building, which provides space for students, researchers, and partners to collaborate and innovate, is a showcase for experimental sustainability solutions.

For example, the CIRS facility uses water from the sky and heat and cooling from the sun, ground, and neighboring buildings. Liquid waste is treated on site, and the building sequesters more carbon than was emitted during construction. Going forward, it returns more useful energy to campus than it consumes.

 

The challenge, however, was finding the budget for high-performance features such as solar collectors, heat exchangers, and liquid waste treatment equipment. Even though these elements would clearly reduce the total cost of ownership throughout the life of the building, they require a greater up-front cost than traditional building systems and materials. Through careful planning, the budget was met and the building proceeded without compromising its goals. 

CIRS project management preferred an integrated design process that ensured partners were involved at the early stages for maximum efficiency and greatest outcomes. This meant that the Haworth team was able to form a strategic alliance with CIRS that would not only leverage our research and knowledge of new building practices, but allow us to test new ideas, monitor environmental quality and performance, and gauge the success of human factors associated with the project.

A modular approach to the interior architecture provides future assurance—as the Centre’s needs evolve, Haworth furniture and walls can be reconfigured as needed, and new Haworth products will integrate seamlessly with the existing investment. This not only minimizes cost associated with change, but reduces waste as well. A raised-access floor enhances the flexibility by providing easy access to modular power and data while distributing air throughout the space. The user-friendly, ergonomic workstations and seating create a more comfortable, productive atmosphere.

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"The old agenda of designing buildings that do less damage is not good enough; we need a net positive agenda - can we construct buildings that improve the biophysical and human environment?

John Robinson, Executive Director, UBC Sustainability Initiative

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Customer Profile

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) was established by The University of British Columbia in 2011 to accelerate sustainability by quickly finding effective solutions to the challenges of urban development. This living laboratory demonstrates The University of British Columbia’s commitment to leadership in sustainability through research and innovation. The Centre is driven by three criteria—to be smart, humane, and green.

Haworth Product

Systems Furniture: Compose®
Moveable Walls: Enclose®
Seating: Very®, Zody®, Hello®, SE04, Improv®
Tables & Conference Furniture: Planes®
Accessories: Jump®2Stuff
Access Floors: TecCrete®

Architectural & Design Firm: Perkins + Will – Vancouver, BC

General Contractor: Heatherbrae Builders – Richmond, BC

Flooring Contractor: Camino Modular Systems, Inc. – Vancouver, BC

Haworth Furniture Dealer: The Brooks Corning Company – Vancouver, BC