Green Thinking and its Impact on the New McGill University Health Centre

Proposed McGill University Health Centre. Image Source: McGill University.

The growing awareness of just how important green thinking is when it comes to new buildings is very encouraging. This article was written in The Montreal Gazette yesterday: Green ideas are being integrated at every level.

The article describes how a LEED certificate from the Canada Green Building Council has been a way to measure the thoroughness of eco-friendly planning and construction in the new McGill University Health Centre super-hospital. The co-chair of the MUHC’s environment committee, Cathy-Ann Barr, has gone on the record to say that “green” thinking will be present throughout the building, “from the depths of the underground parking garage all the way up to the hospital’s roof.” This is wonderful stuff!

Here are a few of the things MUHC is doing to minimize their environmental impact and reduce carbon emissions:

–       There will be lots of ways for patients, staff and visitors to get to the hospital without having to drive. This includes the provision of bike paths, bike parking and an accessible transit service.

–       Most of the provided parking will be underground, therefore reducing the square metre coverage of the site and reducing the “urban heat island” effect.

–       A green roof will keep heating and cooling costs down and, again, to reduce the heat island effect.

–       The hospital has been built with products from local suppliers, whenever possible, to reduce the need for building materials to be transported over long distances.

–       Environmentally friendly internal fixtures, such as low flow toilets, will be used wherever possible.

–       The hospital will be well insulated to keep heating costs down.

–       The hospital will use environmentally-friendly cleaning products where possible, and will always buy in bulk to reduce unnecessary packaging.

The Canada Green Building Council has the following mission statement: to lead and accelerate the transformation to high-performing, healthy green buildings, homes and communities throughout Canada. They are guided by their vision of a transformed built environment leading to a sustainable future. This super-hospital from McGill University Health Centre certainly seems to embrace this mission and vision; it is due to open in 2014 and will hopefully live up to all the green expectations that surround it!


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