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high performance building

The winning projects of 2021 Canadian Green Building Awards

We are pleased to announce the 10 winning projects of the 14th annual Canadian Green Building Awards, a program of Sustainable Architecture & Building [SABMag]. The winners, which include new and adaptive re-use projects, interior design and a technical award represent some of the best examples of sustainable, high-performance building design in Canada. We congratulate all of the winners.

Our special thanks to our 2021 Sponsors!


The Canadian Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute represents precast concrete manufacturers across Canada. It is the prime source of technical information about precast prestressed concrete in Canada, and has recently released its Wall Thermal Performance Calculator software, the Fifth Edition of the CPCI Design Manual, and the Architectural Precast Concrete Walls: Best Practice Guide. It has completed a third-party Life Cycle Analysis of its members` products, and has achieved third-party-verified Environmental Product Declarations. It also has implemented a Sustainable Plant Program to minimize the environmental impact of precast concrete at the manufacturing level, while creating a culture of sustainability within its industry.

For nearly 100 years the legacy companies of our national sponsor Masonite Architectural – which include Algoma™, Baillargeon®, Harring®, Marshfield™, Mohawk®, Graham and Maiman– have been building unique and differentiated capabilities in the architectural wood door industry. Masonite Architectural strives to be the most comprehensive resource for eco-friendly door solutions. Its doors have the ability to contribute to multiple LEED credits such as Recycled Content — Certified Wood — Environmental Product Declarations – and Low-Emitting Materials, to name a few. Masonite Architectural doors are third-party certified as low-emitting through SCS Global Services.  Masonite Architectural is committed to being a positive contributor to Green Building in Canada and globally.


Residential [Large] Award

Mixed Use Award

Commercial/Industrial [Large] Award

Thanks to our 2021 Jury!

The members of the 2021 Canadian Green Building Awards jury: Left to right:

  • Ewa Bieniecka, OAQ, PP-FRAIC, LEED AP BD+C – Project Manager, Decasult 
  • Drew Adams, BES (planning), MArch, OAA, RAIC  – LGA Architectural Partners 
  • Sean Ruthen, AIBC, FRAIC – Senior Project Architect, James KM Cheng Architects, Vancouver 

The winning projects of 2021

Institutional (Large) Award: Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, Humber College

  • Toronto, ON
  • Perkins&Will

This net-zero energy building is a first for Humber College and is targetting LEED Platinum certification. The facility sets a precedent for innovation in automated manufacturing and human-centred solutions, omitting classrooms entirely. Instead, flexible project modules provide space for fabrication and technical zones for students, faculty, and industry to explore, research and fabricate together.

Some of the products used include: Around the building exterior the ACO KlassikDrain  handles stormwater collection in an aesthetically pleasing linear trench drain. CBC Specialty Metals supplied the VMZINC® ANTHRA-ZINC® STRAT Interlocking Panels for some of the cladding. Adair natural limestone by Arriscraft  is used around the base of the building. Lochinvar by Aqua-Tech supplied two Crest Condensing Boilers Model FBN1751 for space heating and domestic hot water, and a GVC65JR Hot Water Generator c/w Double Wall Tube Bundle for indirect domestic hot water demand.

Jury: This project is significant for its innovative use of parametric software; not for abstract form-making, but for taking a first principles approach to passive design.  In many cases, the LEED Platinum and Net Zero ambitions for the project could have resulted in an uninspiring box-like form. Instead, the distinctive form can be considered a kind of ‘place and performance-based regionalism’. The flexible arrangement of learning spaces, the bright and colourful interiors and park-like accessible roof all enrich the experience of this building, within its bland suburban context. 

Commercial/Industrial (Large) Award : 80 Atlantic Building

  • (sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada Inc.)
  • Toronto, ON
  • BDP Quadrangle

Ontario’s first mass timber commercial building in a generation, 80 Atlantic sets an important precedent for the region and for this market sector. Located next to 60 Atlantic, a warehouse renovation and expansion by the same architect, the two projects now form the nucleus of a creative hub that is developing in Toronto’s Liberty Village.

Some of the products used include: The buff-coloured Ceramitex® cladding rainscreen is adhered to the Elemex® Unity® Attachment Technology.

Jury: In a market where commercial buildings of this size and type were once common, this project sends a signal that mass wood construction is once again a viable and highly desirable option. The beauty of the exposed wood and high quality of interior daylighting contribute to a beautiful working environment. With its glass exterior, the building makes a striking and poignant complement to its historic brick and beam neighbour, reinforcing the idea that both aesthetically and technically, mass wood can be part of a more sustainable future.  

Tsawwassen First Nation Youth Centre

  • Mackin Tanaka Architecture
  • Institutional (Small) Award
  • Tsawwassen, BC

This community centre for young people and their families provides spaces for drop-in and scheduled programs and community gatherings. Located on treaty lands south of Vancouver, the waterfront site is part of a unique cultural and ecological area, the meeting place of cultures and ecologies.

Some of the products used include: The gymnasium on the second floor has a Sportec underlayment 4 mm overlaid with Sportec UNI classic 4mm. The Damtec wave 3D 17/8 was installed as a resilient layer over the entire second floor, with with Damtec estra installed as a de-coupler strip around wall perimeters. Sportec and Damtec supplied by Ideal Fit. 

Jury: With the growing concern for the embodied carbon in our built environment, this small building for the Tsawwassen First Nation stands out for its commitment to that cause. In fact, its use of wood and its projected low operating energy demand, may make the building carbon negative for a decade or more.  Its passive environmental strategies, together with its proximity to the Salish Sea and the Pacific flight path for migratory birds facilitate an approach to environmental education that is rooted in Indigenous knowledge.  

Prototype Laneway Housing, University of Toronto

  • BSN Architects
  • Residential (Small) Award
  • Toronto, ON

These prototypes are the vanguard of 40 laneway and infill homes proposed for the Huron Sussex Neighbourhood, a historic precinct adjacent to the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. The project advances urban intensification in a location well served by public transit and existing municipal infrastructure, while revitalizing and helping to sustain its immediate heritage context.

Some of the products used include: Guelph Solar (watch the video) installed LG 365 Watt solar panels for the U of T Laneway Houses. Thermally-treated ash cladding, supplied by CFP Woods  is left to weather naturally. Legalett provided three engineered GEO-Passive Slabs with ThermaSill PH thresholds, as well as sub grade preparation supervision.

Jury: The municipality, the University of Toronto and the design team are all to be commended for attempting this kind of gentle densification in a heritage district. The success of the project enables faculty, staff and other potential residents to benefit from the transportation, commercial and cultural infrastructure already in place in this neighbourhood. The resulting ‘livable lane’ environment and the remarkable achievement of net zero energy and near Passive House performance in such a tight urban context, takes Toronto’s laneway housing to the next level.

BNP Paribas Montréal

  • Provencher_Roy
  • Interior Design Award
  • Montreal, QC

The first project in Canada to be certified under Version 2 of the WELL Building Standard, the new headquarters for BNP Paribas , the French international banking group, exemplifies current best practice in employee-centred office design. To alleviate overcrowding and bring its 140 staff under one roof, the company chose to relocate and refit 140,000 sq.ft. of space spread over six floors of an existing 1970s office building.

Jury: At a time when the nature of work is in flux and the creation of healthy indoor environments an increasingly high priority, the transformation of six floors of rigorously repetitious 1970s office space into a dynamic, healthful and inspiring workplace provides cause for optimism. The space advances occupant wellbeing and provides open, collaborative spaces. Non-specific perimeter workstations flow through all levels, encouraging mobility and personal choice of working and relaxing environments throughout the day. Sit/stand desks, lighting programmed to support natural circadian rhythms and 20 living walls contribute further to psychological and physiological wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, it is a standout WELL Certified project. 

Residential (Large) Award: Skeena Residence UBC Okanagan

  • (sponsored by Inline Fiberglass)
  • Kelowna, BC
  • PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication

This new Passive House certified residence accommodates 220 students within five floors of light wood frame construction, above a concrete ground floor that contains common areas, amenity and service spaces. The building completes an ensemble of residence buildings encircling the central green space on campus – known as Commons Field.

Jury: Not only does Passive House certification take this building beyond Code in terms of energy performance; it achieves this while still addressing issues of context and community. The relationship to its surroundings is carefully considered, as is the design an organization of its common spaces. Making successive cohorts of students aware of the superior quality of a Passive House environment – and so raising their expectations, may be the most significant contribution of this project. 

Technical Award: Indigenous Ecological Knowledge: A Blanket of Warmth

  • Star Blanket Cree Nation SK
  • MacPherson Engineering Inc.

To address the mould issue, MacPherson Engineering partnered with universities, industry leaders, psychologists, Knowledge Keepers, engineers, and businesses. The project needed to be affordable, ecofriendly, incorporate Indigenous knowledge, and create positive social values of inclusion, cooperation, and respect.

Jury: This simple, affordable and highly transferable design solution to the substandard indoor environmental quality in much of the First Nations housing stock across the country, is notable for its collaborative approach and the inspiration it takes from traditional Aboriginal structures. The transition from forced air to radiant heat brings multiple benefits, with a payback period of less than 10 years. 

University of Victoria District Energy Plant

  • Commercial/Industrial (Small) Award
  • Victoria, BC

The new University of Victoria district energy plant (DEP) replaces and centralizes three outdated boilers and the supporting infrastructure, which were scattered across campus. It provides increased capacity to the campus heating system, and services 32 buildings. The DEP was built on an existing parking lot in the southwest corner of the campus, adjacent to a forest, publicly-accessible botanical gardens, and an interfaith chapel.

Jury : Rehabilitating and repurposing an existing parking lot on the university campus and simultaneously reducing overall campus energy consumption by 10%, this project provides an important showcase for the University’s energy reduction strategy. By engaging students through visibility and transparency, it creates a sense of connection and elevates concern for the critical infrastructure that supports all of our communities.   

Le Grand Théâtre de Québec

  • Lemay + Atelier 21
  • Existing Building Upgrade Award
  • Quebec, QC

Famed for its brutalist architecture by Victor Prus and entwined with its historic, sculptural mural by Jordi Bonet, the Grand Théâtre de Québec is a prized cultural icon for all Québecers, inaugurated for the Confederation Centennial in 1971. Designed by prominent architect Victor Prus in the Brutalist style, prefabricated concrete interior and exterior walls are the defining architectural elements of the building. In addition, nearly 60% of the interior is covered with an integrated mural by sculptor Jordi Bonet.

Jury: A sophisticated resolution of what had originally seemed an insurmountable technical challenge; that of conserving a deteriorating Brutalist concrete masterpiece and the built-in sculptures it contains. The glass veil preserves the character of the original building with a lightness of touch that is both respectful and refreshing. Given the nationwide challenge we face in remediating and reusing so many buildings of this type, this project inspires us to embrace the challenge and simultaneously enrich the urban narrative. 

North End Landing + James North Baptist Church

  • (sponsored by Enbridge Gas Inc.)
  • Invizij Architects Inc.
  • Mixed Use Award
  • Hamilton, ON

A shared vision of what makes a ‘home’ brought together the James North Church community and Indwell, a non-profit housing provider, to redevelop an under-utilized urban site in Hamilton, ON. The project remediated and transformed a run-down commercial plaza and parking lot, replacing it with a four-storey, mixed-use building, that includes space for the growing congregation with three storeys of affordable housing above. The project has quickly become a neighbourhood landmark and a social hub for the community.

Some of the products used include: The central atrium is flooded with natural light through the Kalwall Skyroof®. Sobotec Ltd. supplied and installed the complete rain screen wall assembly, including A/V membrane, thermally-broken sub-framing, insulation and aluminum composite panels. The brick cladding was supplied by Thames Valley Brick & Tile.

Jury: The growing number of underused churches in our cities has created significant redevelopment opportunities. That this brownfield site has been transformed into a valuable community asset including Passive House certified social housing and a food bank, is admirable and (we believe) widely replicable. The orientation of the church kitchen and café to the street and the uplifting character of the day-lit atrium, speak to the sensitivity of program organization.