Centre Block Rehabilitation Project: A green and sustainable Parliament Building

Backgrounder

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is restoring and modernizing the buildings and grounds of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct, including the iconic Centre Block. This heritage building will be carefully restored and modernized to serve a modern parliamentary democracy and be accessible to all Canadians.

Centre Block will also be transformed from one of the government’s least-performing buildings, with one of the highest energy usages and greenhouse gas emission rates, into a carbon-neutral facility.

Centre Block, with its open courtyards, weathered building envelope and fatigued building systems, consumed a significant amount of energy per square metre to operate and maintain occupant comfort. In fact, Centre Block was the largest energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter per metres squared in the PSPC portfolio. Several factors contributed the building’s energy inefficiency, including:

  • lack of insulation in the masonry walls
  • very little insulation in the roof
  • inefficient and leaking single-pane windows
  • lack of proper ventilation in approximately 60% of the building
  • lack of cooling in approximately 70% of the building
  • century-old and inefficient mechanical systems that needed to run continuously year-round

To make Centre Block energy-efficient, the building will undergo modern upgrades. To start, the building’s existing windows will be replaced with new, energy-efficient windows that also conserve its heritage character. Insulation will be added to key areas of the walls and roofs, and air infiltration will be reduced to improve the energy efficiency. The courtyards will be covered with glass roofs, decreasing the exterior wall area by more than 33% and significantly reducing heat loss.

As a key efficiency measure, the building systems will be adapted to draw on a renewed District Energy System, delivering clean energy to Parliament Hill from the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant as part of the Energy Services Acquisition Program. This will provide the building’s heating and chilled water needs. The new building systems will enhance indoor air quality and thermal comfort while improving reliability and minimizing ongoing maintenance costs. As well, a network of geothermal wells will store excess heat energy from the building to be reused when needed, increasing the overall efficiency and lowering the energy demands of Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre.

For more information watch: Centre Block project construction update.

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