Awards of Excellence — 2019 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Awards of Excellence — 2019 Recipient

Campus Energy Centre (CEC)
Award Category: 
Awards of Excellence
Green Building (Administered in partnership with the Canada Green Building Council)

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

Completion: 2016
Client: University of British Columbia
Architects: DIALOG

The Campus Energy Centre (CEC) is a state-of-the-art hot water facility that supports the University of British Columbia’s target of eliminating the use of fossil fuels on campus by 2050 and advancing clean energy research.

The $24-million, LEED Gold facility demonstrates leading-edge sustainable design strategies and plays a significant role in reducing the university’s greenhouse gas footprint.

Through its optimized spatial configuration and the predominant use of timber, the CEC uses almost 63 percent less energy and 31 percent less water than a baseline building of its type.

The 1,858-square-metre building houses all process equipment including three 15-megawatt natural-gas-fired high-efficiency boilers with capacity for expansion to a total output of 80 megawatts.  As the hot water heating plant and district hot-water distribution loop, it serves 130 buildings through 14 kilometres of underground insulated pipe.

Sited on a prominent and active corner of campus, the building also serves to educate the university community about daily energy production. It incorporates glazed boiler bays on the ground floor that allow pedestrians to see the inner workings of the plan and features interactive signage and displays.

The facility is constructed using Canadian-produced cross-laminated timber (CLT), a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel construction. The design enables natural ventilation and cooling and significant natural light.

Jury Comment(s): 

“This building redefines public interaction with utilities, exposes and educates about function, and is a both an operational and design contributor to the campus community.”

“For the University of British Columbia's Campus Energy Centre, there was an opportunity to both excel at the project’s specific building performance and send a clear message to how it interacts with the larger university campus.”

“One of its more compelling qualities, is how the building not only houses a state-of-the-art hot water facility that is part of a key infrastructure for UBC to eliminate its use of fossil fuels eventually but how it generously interacts with academia and the general public at large - didactically expressing its design and function.”


Daniel Pearl, MRAIC
Senior Architect and Partner, L’OEUF
Montreal, QC

Lisa Bate, FRAIC
Global Sustainability Lead, Principal, B+H Architects
Toronto, ON

Michael Green, FRAIC
Principal, Michael Green Architecture
Co-author, The Case for Tall Wood Buildings
Vancouver, BC

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Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter 

Photo: Ema Peter