The Atrium's LEED Design: Good as Gold

The Atrium joins an exclusive club of buildings with LEED Gold certification.

The Atrium has achieved gold-level certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program for new construction. The announcement yesterday by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is just the latest in a string of accolades and achievements for the two-year-old commercial building at 800 Yates in Victoria. With this certification, the Atrium, developed by Jawl Investment Corporation and designed by D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism, officially joins the small vanguard of commercial developments to achieve this standard.
“The Atrium’s environmental achievements have been vetted by independent third party reviewers over a number of months, and their confirmation means we’ve achieved what we set out to do,” says architect Franc D’Ambrosio. “Our example adds credence to the case that green buildings can be successful in the economic framework of the commercial market.”
Gold-Level certification under LEED verifies that the Atrium’s environmental performance significantly exceeds that of conventional construction. In particular, the Atrium’s energy costs and water consumption are projected at 42 per cent less than those of a conventional office building its size. Careful construction practices kept a whopping 98 per cent of the project’s construction waste out of landfills. And over 94% of work spaces in the building provide views to a day-lit atrium or to the outdoors, visual relief which is proven to support occupant well-being and productivity.
The seven-storey central atrium not only provides a spectacular entrance hall and urban room for public events, it forms an integral part of the building’s high-quality indoor air system. Instead of the conventional system of forcing over-conditioned air down from the ceiling through stale air that accumulates there, the Atrium’s system quietly delivers fresh air at occupant level, and then uses the air’s own heat-gains to exhaust it passively through the atrium’s upper volume. This results in better air for less energy.
A series of street-edge rainwater gardens, a first for private development in Victoria, constitutes one of the Atrium’s most delightful environmental innovations. These gardens, planted with stoic types of trees and grasses, not only soften the streetscape, they catch and clean street run-off, reducing the impact of rainstorms on downstream waters and habitat.
“In view of the need to reduce the environmental impact of building,” says D’Ambrosio, “construction to this standard needs to become normal. Don’t say it can’t be done!”
The Atrium’s achievement of gold-level LEED certification complements the project’s receipt of the Capital Regional District’s EcoStar Award for Integrated Watershed Management, and the Wood Design Award from the Canadian Wood Council.
D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism is an award-winning firm providing architecture and urban design services at a full range of scales. The firm’s body of work emphasizes meaning and beauty, durability, and good environmental fit.
All images courtesy of silentSama / D’Ambrosio Architecture + Urbanism