Building Achieves Canada’s Highest Certification for Environmental Sustainability at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
The view of Canada’s first Platinum LEED building from the waterfront. © Parks Canada
When Gulf Islands National Park Reserve was established in 2003, Parks Canada saw the perfect opportunity to build the most environmentally-friendly federal building in the country.
Located in one of Canada’s most endangered natural regions, the Strait of Georgia Lowlands, the Operations Centre at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is the Canada Green Building Council’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified building.
When designing the building, Parks Canada and its partners took extra steps to make use of natural resources already available on site. The Operations Centre is heated by an ocean-based heat-pump system, and 20% of the building’s energy needs are supplied through solar power. Natural light and ventilation, energy-efficient lights, and exterior sunshades are just a few more of the features that contribute to making the energy consumption at the Operations Centre 75% lower than that of a regular building.
A view of the inside of the environmentally friendly Operation Centre. © Parks Canada
While achieving LEED Platinum Certification is quite an achievement in itself, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Operations Centre has also won the Canadian Wood Council’s Award for High Performance Buildings for wood design that reduces energy and resource use and minimizes pollution. The high performance building with the low environmental impact serves as a visible reminder of Parks Canada’s firm commitment to the environment.
The entrance area to the Gulf Islands Operation Centre at dusk. © Parks Canada