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The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium redefines the very essence of planetariums.
Photo: Espace pour la vie (Raymond Jalbert)

A space for all life

LEED Platinum CertificationWith its strong, distinctive identity, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is designed to be enjoyed not only by current generations but by generations to come. It is concrete evidence of the Space for Life’s commitment to sustainable development, as the building fully complies with strict LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) environmental standards and earned the LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum certification.

As an ecologically responsible building, the planetarium uses a plethora of resource management systems. Here are a few if the strategies implemented:

Reduced energy consumption

Ventilation throughout the building is natural, achieved via the movement of air. The envelope of the building itself is efficient because it offers a high level of thermal resistance. The effect of climatic variation is therefore reduced, meaning minimal energy consumption by equipment.

Reduced water consumption and drainage

Grey water is stored for use in the planetarium’s sanitary equipment, and low-flow toilets have been installed. Meanwhile, rainwater is collected in holding tanks and used for irrigation in a portion of landscaping work. The grounds contain drought-resistant plants, which require minimal watering.

This strategy reduces drainage into municipal sewers by 60% and consumption of potable water by 50%

Optimized lighting

The building’s design makes optimal use of natural lighting, while the outside lighting complies with Dark Sky standards, which seek to reduce light pollution.

Creating a green roof and landscaping

Plants grow on a large portion of the roof, allowing for the absorption and evapotranspiration of heat and therefore reducing thermal islands on the site. Visitors can stroll on and enjoy the roof in the warm weather.

The landscaping incorporates islands of greenery and trees.

Recycled and reused materials

Over 75% of the existing structures were recycled. The majority of the demolition concrete was used as filling material, while leftover amounts and reinforcement steel were sent to recycling centres. During construction, more than 95% of waste materials were saved from going to landfill through sound environmental management. Furthermore, 95% of the project’s permanent wood is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. The use of recycled materials was favoured at every stage, and the vast majority of materials were purchased locally.

Promoting public transport and hybrid vehicles

The planetarium is easy to access by public transport. A parking area for up to 30 bicycles can be used by employees and visitors alike. The employee parking lot offers electrical outlets for recharging hybrid vehicles. No spots were added to the underground car park.

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