Sustainability features of new building for Schulich School of Business: backgrounder


The new Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building, at York University’s Schulich School of Business, is one of the most environmentally sustainable academic buildings in North America and is targeting LEED Gold certification in the following ways:

  • A unique 27-metre-high glass solar chimney will drive passive natural ventilation of the building, as well as pre-heating of intake air. Open windows in classrooms ̶  especially in the spring and fall  ̶  will provide fresh air to the centrally located Social Hub of the building, with the solar chimney pulling the air upward.
  • The building will be naturally ventilated 40 per cent of the time it is occupied. The building has more than 200 automated computer-controlled and operable exterior windows.
  • The 67,000-square-foot building incorporates Thermally Active Building Systems radiant heating and cooling (active slab system) within the floors and ceilings, and panels to enhance climate control and classroom acoustics. More than 20 km of radiant heating/cooling pipe is cast into the concrete structure.
  • A number of strategies will be used to minimize the building’s energy footprint, including daylit interior spaces and extensive green roofs.
  • All exterior glazing on the building is triple glazed Low E energy efficient glazing with bird-friendly visual markers.
  • Energy use is modeled to be 71.4 per cent below Canada’s Model National Energy Code, representing a 67.4 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used to integrate hard and soft building technologies with architectural design objections. This enabled the unique folds and warps in exterior cladding of stone and fibre cement panels to be built at reasonable cost.
  • Interior space is designed to be flexible, seamlessly integrating small group interaction with a variety of large-formal classroom arrangements.