Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

Environmental Science and Chemistry Building – Scarborough, ON

Institutional [Large] Award

Jury comments: This building has a particularly innovative approach to solar shading, creating a dynamic façade and animating interior spaces. This approach carries through to the other environmental systems which  are exposed to view, not simply to celebrate the technology, but to monitor performance, facilitate research and identify potential improvements.


As befits a new building for the study of environmental sciences and chemistry, this facility, located on the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto, is strongly rooted in sustainable design solutions. The facility features collaborative learning opportunities while providing flexible lab space that ensures adaptability for the ever-changing nature of research and teaching methods.

The 10,000m2 building connects laboratories and academic offices around a sky-lit atrium designed to encourage collaboration and exchange. Thematically, the Environmental Sciences and Chemistry Building is inspired by nature to reflect not only the academic pursuits of these disciplines but also its setting on the edge of a wooded ravine.

The building incorporates many unique and progressive systems that combine to achieve a significant reduction in energy consumption in a process-energy-driven facility. These include geo-thermal boreholes beneath the building and earth tubes. These systems are complemented by a high-performance building envelope including innovative solar shading. The project also features storm water capture and recycling, and a solar renewable-ready Tremco green roof.

During design and construction, material selection and performance was approached as a collaborative effort to balance functionality and performance with sustainability. The design of the building envelope involved the architectural team, energy modeller, building science professional, material and system manufacturers and suppliers, as well as construction personnel in order to achieve the durability, thermal, and aesthetic performance targets for the project. This collaborative process resulted in a cladding system and innovative vertical solar shades that minimize thermal bridging through the vertical shading fins, allow for maintenance and replacement both for the fins and curtainwall, and ensure air and water tightness throughout.


  • Owner/Developer University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Architect Diamond Schmitt Architects
  • Structural Engineer RJC Engineers
  • Mechanical/Electrical engineer Smith + Anderson
  • Civil Engineer WSP [formerly MMM]
  • Commissioning Agent JLL [formerly HFM]
  • Energy/Environmental Consultant Footprint
  • LEED Consultant/General Contractor EllisDon
  • Acoustics Consultant HGC Engineering
  • Landscape Architect Janet Rosenberg & Studio
  • Photos Tom Arban, Michael Muraz, Nithursan Elamuhilan


  • Energy intensity 661 kWh/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2007 48%
  • Potable water consumption from municipal sources 4,428 L/occupant/year
  • Reduction in potable water consumption relative to reference building 35%
  • Regional materials content [as defined by LEED] by value 32%
  • Reclaimed and recycled materials by value 20%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill 87%

The vegetated roof uses a system supplied by Tremco. Water-conserving products by SLOAN, and drinking water stations by Elkay.

See the 2018 Canadian Green Building Awards Winning Projects.