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The Lassonde Mining Builidng, one of U of T’s oldest buildings, was recently recognized for an eco-friendly attic renovation (Photo: Sara Collaton).

Tucked away in one of the University of Toronto’s oldest and most historic buildings, there’s an attic. This attic isn’t a place to store your grandmother’s old photo albums or records, it’s home to the Goldcorp Mining Innovation Suite – an eco-friendly design space for mineral and civil engineering students that was recognized this month with a Canadian Green Building Award.

Located within the Lassonde Mining Building in U of T Engineering, the previously unused attic underwent renovations in 2010 that incorporated advanced sustainability and energy efficiency methods. Architects and engineers worked with the century-old structure of the existing building to integrate the addition, which accommodates 100 undergraduate engineering and 24 graduate students.

Mining Building Interior“We have transformed a previously unused space into a central hub for our students, while still maintaining the integrity of the original building,” said Professor Brent Sleep, chair of the civil engineering department. “The outcome is the perfect mix between old and new.”

The Canadian Green Building Awards, in partnership with Sustainable Architecture & Building (SABMag) and ecoHouse, recognized the building for its excellence in eco-conscious design and execution.

Highlights of the Goldcorp Mining Innovation Suite – made possible through significant support from Pierre Lassonde and Goldcorp – include:

  • automated “smart blinds” that control temperature fluctuations that come from direct sunlight, known as solar gain – a particular challenge of historic buildings made from stone and brick
  • thermal buffer zones, some which act as passive solar chimneys, helping to naturally vent warmer air from the space without HVAC systems
  • skylights that allow for natural daylight through the space using specialized light-diffusing material that eliminates glare and promotes uniform light distribution

Read more about the renovation in SAB Magazine.

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