Perkins+Will and UBC’s LEED Platinum certification

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation in green building performance from the LEED rating system and the first for the University of British Columbia.

Designed by the architecture firm Perkins+Will, CIRS is a living laboratory where students, researchers and partners test and demonstrate designs and technologies to advance our understanding of sustainable building and community practices. The Platinum certification, awarded by Canada Green Building Council, recognizes UBC and Perkins+Will’s commitment to sustainable design, construction, operation, and maintenance.

“There are only 108 LEED Platinum buildings across the country and we are absolutely delighted that CIRS now stands among them,” says Ray Cole, the director of CIRS and a professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC.
Adds Susan Gushe, managing director of the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will, “This certification marks the culmination of over 10 years of our firm and UBC working together toward a shared vision,” “It is a true testament to the collaboration and outstanding efforts of a dedicated project and consultant team.”

Designed to promote research and innovation in sustainability, CIRS reduces UBC’s carbon emissions, utilizes waste heat from a neighboring building, and harvests rainwater as a source of potable water. Made primarily from wood, the building stores over 900 tonnes of carbon. Some of the ongoing research at CIRS measures how the indoor environment impacts behaviour, human health, and happiness.

“As an innovative example of regenerative sustainability, the CIRS building will help us understand how buildings can offer positive benefits for both the environment and their inhabitants,” says Cole. Adds Kathy Wardle, the director of research for the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will, “CIRS represents an important milestone in the green building industry. Not only has it attained the highest level of LEED certification, it will be one of the first projects in Canada to achieve Living Building Challenge petal recognition, the most rigorous green rating system in the marketplace.”

Since 2008, all new and renovated UBC buildings must meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification. UBC’s Vancouver campus currently has five Gold certified buildings, eight buildings awaiting certification, and six more under construction.
This is the 10th project for the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with four additional projects awaiting notification of their Platinum status. The firm’s Earth Sciences Building, which opened in 2012 at UBC, is also awaiting certification from the Canada Green Building Council at the Gold level.


Serving its community for 29 years, the Vancouver office of Perkins+Will is a multi-disciplinary design firm known for design excellence and innovation, approaching the challenges of architectural, interior and urban design with a global vision and unmatched resources. Led by a strong leadership group who provide a range of expertise and diverse perspectives, Perkins+Will Vancouver is able to maximize its clients’ vision, transforming ideas into built excellence, on time and on budget.

Founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance society, the office is deeply connected to its community, donating one percent of its design services to local, non-profit organizations every year. Committed to the 2030 Challenge, the firm is ranked among North America’s leading green practices with an in-house research department and one of the largest portfolios of completed, deeply sustainable buildings, interior spaces and urban plans.

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