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Montréal Space for Life Announces LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum Certification for Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan

Montréal, October 15, 2015 - 

Montréal Space for Life is proud to announced that the Canada Green Building Council has awarded LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum certification to the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. In the LEED® system, the Platinum level is the highest distinction for green buildings, whether they are new constructions (NC) or major renovations. The LEED®system is both a design guide and a certification tool aimed at improving the well-being of building occupants and buildings’ environmental performance and operational efficiency.


Aiming ever higher

“The Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan is a key piece in Montréal’s architectural heritage. This signature building not only meets the city’s sustainable policy for municipal buildings, but it also marks Montréal as a UNESCO City of Design and a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. All these new buildings must be certified at least Gold for their design methods, building practices and sustainable operations. The Planetarium surpasses these requirements. Its esthetically bold architecture is also exemplary in terms of ‘green’ resource management,” says Manon Gauthier, Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for culture, heritage, design, Space for Life and the status of women.

“The shows at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan combine science, art and emotion to reinvent the way we present astronomy. The elegant architectural creation, in perfect harmony with its surroundings, contributes to the Montréal Space for Life experience. We are proud that this achievement has received official recognition with LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum certification. It encourages us to dream even bigger for our future plans,” says Montréal Space for Life Director Charles-Mathieu Brunelle.

A winning combination

With a score of 55/70, the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan is the 4th building in Quebec to receive LEED® NC 1.0 – Platinum certification and the 2nd one in Montréal, after the Saint-Laurent Borough’s du Boisé library.

“Green” resource management means:

  • Reduced energy consumption: The building’s envelope provides increased thermal resistance, improving energy efficiency; the Planetarium benefits from the Biodôme’s highly efficient energy-recovery and transfer systems, which meet its air conditioning and heating needs, while the geothermal system reduces energy consumption considerably. The hybrid natural ventilation system also helps to reduce these needs, in addition to enhancing indoor air quality.
  • Reduced drinking water consumption, less wastewater and less erosion: Rainwater is collected and used for watering the outdoor gardens, while another holding tank supplies the toilets. During construction, the excavated soil was used for landscaping, including for the green roof, which helps absorb heat and moisture and breathe. The drought-resistant plants require minimal watering. The landscaping reduces the heat island effect.
  • Abundant natural daylight: The natural lighting is the first thing visitors notice, and they greatly appreciate it – as do employees. The Planetarium is bathed in natural daylight, even the underground level, thanks to the windows onto the outdoor spaces under the Olympic Park slab. 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. The centralized control system optimizes operating schedules, and outdoor light pollution is reduced, to comply with Dark Skies standards.
  • Recycled and reused materials: Over 75% of the existing structures were recycled. For instance, the concrete was used as fill, the steel was reused and more than 95% of waste materials were diverted from landfill. In addition, 95% of the wood is FSC certified and most materials were locally sourced.
  • Transportation: No additional parking spots were added, and a bike parking area was provided for visitors and employees. The site is also easy to access by public transit.

A new application for exploring Montréal Space for Life and the Planetarium’s LEED elements

Planetarium visitors will soon be able to follow a tour route with commentary on some of the LEED elements as part of the new Montréal Space for Life app. In keeping with the mission of Montréal Space for Life, i.e. “to help people enjoy nature to the fullest,” it’s an original and free way to make learning fun. Available soon at the App Store and on Android.

A place for discovery and learning

Since it opened on April 6, 2013, the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan has had nearly 770,000 visitors. As a place for discovery and learning, the Planetarium offers visitors a fascinating immersive experience of the Universe. Its two telescope-like cones each house a distinctive theatre: the Milky Way Theatre, with its exceptionally clear sky, takes visitors on a captivating voyage to the stars, while the Chaos Theatre invites them to embark on a sensory, artistic and dreamlike odyssey. There is also a permanent exhibition on life in the Universe.

Competitions and awards

The Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan was designed by Cardin Ramirez Julien + Ædifica, the Montréal firm that won the international architecture competition organized in collaboration with the city’s Bureau de design. It is one of the city’s leading tourist and architectural attractions. The building has received a number of prestigious Quebec, Canadian and international awards, for its design and architecture as well as for its technical innovation and sustainable development in the areas of climate engineering, business, culture, museology, tourism and communications.

For further information, visit our website

Photos, press release and fact sheet – Montréal Space for Life App.:

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Contact our team

Nadine Fortin
Communications Co-ordinator
514 868-3053

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