SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7 Story Image 2022

Pictured here: Gordon Binsted

Building a sustainable campus that rights the future

York University’s new Markham Campus, slated to open in Spring 2024, is bringing the future of learning to York Region and furthering the University’s commitment to sustainability. Markham Campus will embed York University in the heart of one of the most diverse and dynamic urban communities in the province and country, offering academic programs and research that revolve around the core themes of technology and entrepreneurship. 

The campus is being designed and constructed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification awards points to building projects for sustainable actions taken in interior and exterior design and construction, operations, and management. Scoring between 60 and 79 points earns a GOLD-level accreditation, the second-highest distinction. 

“We have a unique opportunity with the Markham Campus to embed green building principles in the design and construction of the campus,” said Gordon Binsted, deputy provost for the Markham Campus. “The sustainability-driven approach we’ve taken is one of the ways we’re setting an example in the community and challenging the traditions of what a university campus can offer.”  

York has already met several LEED criteria and continues to work on others that will contribute to LEED Gold certification. Thanks to Diamond Schmitt Architects and sustainability consultant Footprint, the building’s design and construction incorporates demand and occupancy control ventilation and lighting as well as sustainable building materials.  

The heating and cooling plants for the campus are connected to Markham District Energy, enabling efficient, cost-effective energy management. The building will feature water metering, the installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures and outdoor landscaping that uses local plant species. 

The campus includes access to public and eco-friendly transportation options. Unionville GO Station is located six minutes away and several bus routes service nearby stops. Located along a bicycle network, the campus will include bicycle lockers for both long- and short-term storage, as well as showers. Electric vehicle charging stations will also be available. 

Greenery is a significant component of the campus’ vibrant aesthetic and tranquil ambiance. The campus common – a large, landscaped open space – will serve as an informal, outdoor assembly space and focal point. Four levels of the building will feature green roofs visible from higher floors. The structural planning and development of the building has been carefully considered to maximize natural lighting from the sun, effectively reducing energy costs by 26 per cent.   

The ecological features of the campus, combined with design elements like open spaces and curved walls, have a calming effect that facilitates learning and contributes to the overall well-being of students, faculty and staff. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, salvaged and recycled materials and natural stone are being used in the construction. The building’s interior will be outfitted with low-emitting, sustainable materials and furnishings. Interior spaces will feature low-mercury lighting and high-performance window glazing.  

With so many positive impacts for students, the community and the environment, the Markham Campus is an exemplar of York University’s dedication to making things right for the future.  

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