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.