The LEED Gold certification has been awarded by the Canada Green Building Council to the new Montreal Insectarium, making it the first building comprising a LEED Gold-certified curtain-wall greenhouse in Quebec.
From the initial design stages of the international architectural competition (won by the consortium of architecture and engineering firms Kuehn Malvezzi, Pelletier De Fontenay, Jodoin Lamarre Pratte architectes, Dupras Ledoux and NCK) to the careful construction of the building by qualified workers, the project’s success is based on a number of sustainable development strategies, following an integrated design process (IDP). Some of these include:
- optimizing natural ventilation in greenhouses;
- combining passive and active energy management with an automated system;
- efficient lighting (natural and artificial light);
- the use of long-lasting materials;
- responsible water management.
More than just energy management
This project is not only an example of energy management, it also illustrates the integration of all systems. The building links bioclimatic elements to architectural form. For example, the compact layout and the sloping floors were designed to take advantage of the site’s natural components, including solar orientation, prevailing wind direction, and a retention basin holding water flow during heavy rain.
Using a state-of-the-art geothermal system, the new museum has tripled its number of wells to ensure that the building is 75% self-sufficient. Thanks to a weather station installed on the roof, the building can regulate humidity levels and ambient heat to the decimal point and in a completely automated way, by having air blown in to cool the greenhouse in the summer, deploying canopies to cover the glass roof, and even opening windows… without any insects leaving!
From its museology to its architecture, the new Insectarium is innovative through and through.