Leading by example, the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is upgrading its headquarters (HQ) this year. By retrofitting its 25-year-old building, the OAA is moving toward energy efficiency in a few key ways:

Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems

Technology changes quickly. It’s been 25 years since the original heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system was installed, so the OAA is demolishing the mechanical system and replacing it with one that has an emissions-free, ground-source heat pump. The renovations will cost less than the utilities over a 25-year span of projected costs.

Consider newer, greener technologies that rely less on fossil fuels.

Creating energy to offset usage

To achieve zero net carbon, the building’s retrofit has to offset energy use with energy creation. OAA HQ will have a combination of photovoltaic, solar thermal, and Morgan Solar’s new translucent SPOTlight panels to provide free electricity and hot water.

Consider everything when it comes to energy. Today’s needs include a reliance on portable technology such as laptops, tablets, phones, peripherals, and charging stations. What are your energy generation options?

Harnessing daylighting

The OAA HQ has great daylighting. The design and positioning of our building on the site provides natural light from three directions. New LED fixtures with motion sensors and individual controls take advantage of what the building already has. Combined with dynamic windows by View Glass, this helps meet energy-saving goals.

Know your assets and put them to great use. Evaluate your options on reaching zero net carbon goals, instead of looking for a simple return on investment.

Open office arrangements for diverse uses

Energy will go further if floor plans can accommodate more people. The OAA is shrinking private workspaces and providing new, collaborative, quiet, and relaxing spaces for better efficiency overall.

Consider the infinite possibilities of your space before committing to internal structural arrangements. Flexibility allows for future needs that you may not be able to predict today. Find out your staff’s needs and wishes to plan for the future.


To learn more about the OAA HQ Renew + Refresh retrofit project and how you can benefit from using an architect to green your business, and improve your bottom line, visit www.oaa.on.ca.