The Insectarium, the first LEED Gold-certified curtain-wall greenhouse in Québec!

The Insectarium received LEED Gold certification in June 2023
Credit: Insectarium de Montréal (Marie-Ève Gagnon)
The Insectarium received LEED Gold certification in June 2023
  • The Insectarium received LEED Gold certification in June 2023
  • The Insectarium
  • The Great Vivarium
  • Gallery imitating the habitat of an insect at the Insectarium
The Insectarium, the first LEED Gold-certified curtain-wall greenhouse in Québec!

The project for the new Insectarium began more than 10 years ago. Specialists from every field and from around the world were invited to reflect on what the insectariums of tomorrow would be like. A vision and some observations emerged from that consultation. The new Insectarium had to guide people to transform their relationship with insects by inviting them into immersive experiences that awakened the emotions and the senses. Loyal to its tradition of innovation, the museum also had to be a driving force in the ecological transition and a source of inspiration in efforts to reach a sustainable future for all. LEED certification, which recognizes buildings of high environmental quality, is one of the key actions of that approach.

In June 2023, the Canada Green Building Council awarded LEED Gold certification to the new Insectarium de Montréal, making it the first LEED Gold-certified curtain-wall building in Québec – a real accomplishment for a northern country!

Energy management in a few figures

The achievements in energy management speak for themselves. For example, at the level of energy savings, we get:

  • a 32 percent reduction in energy consumption;
  • a 21 percent decrease in energy consumption linked to artificial lighting;
  • a 46 percent drop in drinking water consumed inside the building;
  • and a diversion of at least 80 percent of waste from landfill sites during the construction phase.

Efficient heating strategies

The success of the project is rooted in various sustainable-development strategies. For instance, thanks to a cutting-edge geothermal system, the building is roughly 75 percent self-sufficient in energy production devoted to heating. In addition, a weather station installed on the roof allows for fully automated regulation of humidity and temperature in the museum. Shade cloths are deployed to cover the glass roof, air is propelled to cool the greenhouse, and windows are opened for ventilation – though without allowing insects to escape!

Water management

The Insectarium chose to install low-flow fixtures in restrooms and at drinking fountains to reduce the consumption of drinking water.

Ecological site management

The building was designed in such a way as to use the natural features of the site: solar orientation, prevailing wind, accumulation of rain water in a holding pond, and so on. During construction, particular attention was paid to preserving the maximum number of trees, in addition to protecting existing ones.

Moreover, there is a large parking area for cyclists, while preferential parking bays for car-pooling and for electric vehicles have been introduced. There’s no denying that these alternative means of transport are contributing to improved air quality, among other things.

A biophilic innovation

Biophilia is defined as the inherent human tendency to connect with nature and to feel its physical and mental benefits. In architecture, biophilia is the imitation of nature in a building’s design. The architecture of the Insectarium is largely inspired by nature to integrate the glass building with the Jardin botanique. When visitors arrive on the site they can immediately sense a close relationship with the outdoors and the surrounding park – something that fosters well-being in them, the more so given that the relationship is not just visual, but olfactory and aural as well. The route through the museum is itself inspired by the habitat of insects.

About the certification

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a rating system recognized around the world as a symbol of excellence for sustainable buildings, adopted in more than 132 countries.

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3 Comment(s)
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Harley Wright

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