Insulated precast concrete façade contributes to energy savings in landmark building
Simon Fraser University’s new, five-storey Sustainable Energy and Engineering Building (SE3P) in Surrey, BC represents the University’s first major step in expanding beyond its Central City campus to become a distinct academic precinct within Surrey’s growing and revitalized City Centre neighbourhood.
By: Venelin Kokalov
Funded in part by the Federal Government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), this distinctive 16,000 square metre (173,000 square feet, excluding single-level underground parkade) facility is purpose-built to house the new Sustainable Energy and Engineering (SEE) program which offers an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to energy engineering education to support the clean tech, renewable and sustainable energy sector.
With a building program organized around a light-filled central atrium and sweeping staircase punctuated with trees at varying levels, SE3P comprises teaching and research labs; collaboration and study spaces; faculty, graduate and administrative offices; recreational rooms; undergraduate and graduate lounges, student services, and plant maintenance facilities. When fully operational, approximately 515 students and 60 faculty and staff will use the building. Its 400-seat lecture hall, situated on the southwestern portion of the ground floor, will serve the full SFU Surrey campus as well as the broader Surrey community.
The project’s fast-track delivery method necessitated a significant overlap in the design and construction phases. Utilizing prefabricated precast concrete elements for the façade became a key consideration, not only for ensuring long-term durability and reduced maintenance, but because it also enabled the building to be closed in quickly to meet the tight construction schedule.
As a result, SE3P’s compelling architectural expression is a unique façade composed primarily of framed alternating strips of energy-efficient, undulating precast concrete double wythe insulated panels and reflective glazing. Drawing inspiration from the geometric pattern of electrical circuit boards, the precast concrete panels also symbolize the technological subject matter that will be taught within the building.
By fabricating the exterior finish, thermal and moisture protection, and interior finish off-site as a single pre-assembled system, the project’s schedule, performance and energy-saving goals were maintained while mitigating on-site construction noise and debris. The heavier precast concrete elements with reflective glazing help to animate the façade and are juxtaposed with the transparent glazing at the building’s ground plane which extends the outdoor public realm into the interior public space, engaging the local community.
Venelin Kokalov is Design Principal at Revery Architecture Inc.
- Owner Simon Fraser University (SFU)
- Architect Revery Architecture Inc.
- Structural Engineer WSP
- Mechanical Engineer The AME Consulting Group Ltd. (AME Group)
- Electrical Engineer AES Engineering Ltd. (AES)
- Building envelope Morrison Hershfield Ltd.
- Precast Concrete Engineer Kassian Dyck & Associates
- Contractor Bird Construction
- Precast Concrete Supplier and Installation SureClad a subsidiary of Surespan Structures, a member of the Surespan Group
Photos Courtesy of Revery Architecture. Construction photos by Surespan Construction Ltd.
Variable air volume (VAV) units, diffusers, registers and grilles were provided by E.H. Price (Price Industries). Other HVAC equipment, namely split air conditioning units, fan coil units, and chillers were provided by Daikin.
The building uses CES light sensors, manufactured by PLC Multipoint, Inc. of Everett, Washington. The sensors measure the amount of daylight in each space so that the building’s Energy Management System can minimize the use of artificial lighting, saving energy and money while creating optimal work environments.