The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), a net-positive living lab, opens at the University of British Columbia today. Built in response to the global challenge of creating a more sustainable society, CIRS is one of the most innovative, high-performance buildings built in North America today, demonstrating leading-edge green building design technologies, products, and systems. CIRS is a state-of-the-art "living-lab" in which researchers from leading academic institutions worldwide can conduct interactive research on and assessment of current and future building systems and technologies. Partners from private and public sectors share the facility, working with CIRS researchers to ensure study conducted is connected to real world needs of the community, industry, and policy makers. The outcome of research, product and policy development manifested from CIRS will play a fundamental role in accelerating the path to sustainability.
Designed to exceed LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge standards, CIRS is one of the few commercial buildings constructed primarily of certified wood and beetle-killed wood (currently B.C.'s largest source of carbon emissions). Its wood structure locks in more than 500 tonnes of carbon, offsetting the GHG emissions that resulted from the use of other non-renewable construction materials in the building, such as cement, steel and aluminum. Other net-positive qualities include reducing UBC's carbon emissions, powering itself and a neighboring building with renewable and waste energy, and providing water for inhabitants with rainwater while waste water is treated onsite.
This 5,700 SM facility houses highly flexible classrooms, laboratories and office space in addition to lecture theatres, a public atrium, exhibition spaces and a cafe.