The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium has earned LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum certification, the highest distinction in the LEED® system for green buildings, aimed at improving the well-being of building occupants and buildings’ environmental performance and operational efficiency. Two features stand out among the various criteria considered: the Planetarium’s energy synergy with the Biodôme and the building’s natural daylight, both of which contribute to “green” resource management.
What makes the energy system at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium unique is that it was designed to operate in synergy with the one at the Biodôme. Their complementarity makes it possible to take advantage of the two buildings’ different thermal capacities. As just one example, the Biodôme’s geothermal heating and cooling system offsets the Planetarium’s air conditioning needs.
In fact, the Biodôme’s energy-saving program was awarded international first prize by ASHRAE, a worldwide organization that promotes sustainable development through technical advances in climate engineering. ASHRAE saluted the performance of the Biodôme’s innovative design. The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium’s energy system stands out for its efficient energy management and enhanced air quality. Its hybrid natural ventilation system helps reduce the demand for air conditioning, along with its green roof that reduces the heat island effect. The building’s external envelope also contributes to its energy efficiency.
The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is bathed in abundant natural daylight. Even the underground level enjoys natural lighting, thanks to the windows onto the outdoor spaces under the Olympic Park slab and the greenery-filled inner courtyard. This is one of the first things visitors notice, and they greatly appreciate all the light – as do employees. In addition, the lighting design, high-efficiency lighting fixtures and motion detectors all make it possible to cut consumption to nearly half that of a reference building.