Energy Management Case Studies

421 Downey Road, Saskatoon

Table of Contents


This technologically advanced 3 storey mixed occupancy building with full basement, is located at Innovation Place Saskatoon. An integrated design process guided the project teams' decisions from conception to completion. The process allowed for the selection of energy efficient and flexible building systems to accommodate changing tenant needs. The building provides space for offices and laboratories that are classified respectively as group D and group F Division 1. Design and construction protocols employed by the team ensured the building processes were always systematically applied.  Rigorous quality control strategies were instituted to verify design parameters were effectively implemented.  For example, the continuity of the exterior building envelope air barrier was deemed to be critical performance characteristic. Testing of the air barrier was conducted during the construction phase with thermograph and air sealing equipment. Any deficiencies in air barrier performance identified were corrected and re-tested to verify specified design standards were achieved. To ensure design objectives were achieved at no extra cost the team did not hesitate to make tradeoffs between architectural, mechanical and lighting systems. This flexible approach was exemplified in how the team addressed the challenge of satisfying disparate needs of office and laboratory occupancies, while at the same time maintaining an environmental friendly and productive workspace.

421 Downey Cres. 421, Downey Crescent
Innovation Place, Saskatoon

The design minimized environmental impact, emphasized the importance of occupant health, comfort and functional performance of the building. The direct and indirect lighting systems were integrated with double and triple glazed low e, spectrally selective glazing. Load reductions were achieved through effective envelope construction, efficient lighting, building orientation, sunshades, heat-recovery, and the installation of high performance windows, which enabled the designers to select smaller more efficient and economical mechanical and electrical systems. Designers placed emphasis on indoor environmental performance. A high level of indoor air quality was achieved with the provision of operable windows and a mechanical ventilation system that provides 100 % outside air system equipped with an energy recovery wheel, which is 75% effective at recovering sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air. The low maintenance exterior was designed and constructed for longevity using block, brick, and limestone. The design was predicated on the expectation that building-operating costs would be reduced providing competitive rental space.

Building Design Objectives

The building has 52,600 sq.ft. gross area and 42,400 sq.ft. net area on three storeys. Total 57,000 net sq.ft. The building with office and laboratory space designed and constructed in accordance with advanced building design principles. Project qualified for Commercial Building Incentives Program (CBIP) $80.000 grant.

The main objectives of the project were to provide:

  • Environmentally friendly and productive workspaces
  • Flexible spaces to accommodate a variety of tenant requirements including laboratory space.
  • Accommodation that uses 35% less energy than the Model National Energy Code (MNECB).
  • All of the above objectives with no additional capital cost.

Building Information Summary

  • Building type: laboratory/office building
  • Floor area: 69,700-sq. ft.
  • Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • Completed: August 2001
  • Owner: Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation, Innovation Place
  • Project Manager/ Design Integrator: Integrated Controls, Murray Guy
  • Builder: PCL
  • Architect: Kindrachuk Agrey Architects - Reg Squires
  • Mechanical Daniels Wingerak Engineering Ltd. - Darren Wingerak
  • Electrical Engineers: Paley White & Associates - Ken Wilms
  • Building Cost: $5,000,000

Building Performance Highlights

  • 35% more efficient than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) Published September 1997.
  • Annual Operating energy consumption - will be provided when data is available.
  • Design lighting levels - 0.75 w/sq.ft
  • Ventilation rate: 1.5 ac/per hour

Building Systems Summary

  • Ventilation & Air Quality Variable air flow 100% make-up air system with a heat recovery wheel.
  • Operable windows
  • Plumbing - Sensor controlled water faucets and urinals, low flush toilets.
  • Heating & Cooling - Variable flow hot and chilled water infrastructure to accommodate radiant cooling or fan coil units.

Superior Building Envelope

The key to the success of an advanced building project is to construct a quality building envelope.

  • Building was oriented with the longest side facing south to maximize day lighting and minimize solar heat gain.
  • Walls were insulated to R20 and the roof insulated to R30.
  • Dual glazed low e, spectrally selective glazing installed on the East, West, and South exposure.
  • Triple glazed low e, spectrally selective glazing installed on the north exposure.
  • Punch windows provide the appropriate amount of day lighting and help to minimize solar gain.
  • Thermal photography and air sealing testing used to verify that the building envelope was tightly sealed.

Productive and Flexible Work Environment

Top priority to provide a healthy and productive work environment.

  • Office spaces ventilated with 100% outside air at 2 air changes per hour.
  • Opening windows provide additional ventilation and a link with the outside environment.
  • The building footprint was developed to provide for maximum day lighting.
  • Light shelves installed on the exterior of the building to direct light into the space and reduce glare on the South side of the building.
  • A high quality window system installed to ensure that when exposed to extreme temperatures the comfortable work environment would not be compromised.
  • Paints, carpets, and wall covering were selected with low off gassing emission characteristics to minimize contamination of the indoor air quality.

Flexibility to Accommodate Lab Facilities

  • Building systems designed to accommodate lab space for approximately 60% of the building
  • The fan system has the air flow capacity to deliver 6 acph for 60% of the building
  • The roof structure designed to accommodate additional roof top units.
  • Utility shafts sized to accommodate additional supply and exhaust ducts.
  • The central energy system supplies chilled water, hot water, and steam.

Lower Operating & Maintenance Costs

The design and construction of a superior envelope and an energy efficient lighting system allowed for selection of smaller more efficient and economical mechanical and electrical systems. Building operating costs will be reduced thus providing more competitive rental space and protect against rising energy costs.

  • Spectrally selective glazing allows natural light in while minimizing solar heat gain.
  • A tight and well-insulated envelope helps to lower building heat and cooling loads.
  • The 100 % outside air system is equipped with an energy recovery wheel, which is 75% effective at recovering sensible and latent heat from the exhaust air.
  • Single lamp fixtures will provide lighting with a reflector. (Approximately 30% more light per watt)
  • Sensors will be used to control lighting zones based upon occupancy and available daylight.
  • The main fan and pumps installed with variable speed drives.
  • A power monitoring system installed to monitor electrical energy consumption.
  • Building designed with a tempered chilled water infrastructure to enable the use of radiant cooling panels.
  • Fan coil units used in areas with higher cooling load requirements.
  • To ensure that building systems perform as intended the building fully commissioned by a specialist.

Sustainable Design

421 Downey Road was designed and constructed with a low maintenance exterior that is expected to provide a long service life. The primarily block, brick and limestone building includes a cornerstone marked with the year 2000 and a time capsule filled with memorabilia marking current events. Building systems accommodate a variety of building uses, which will help to ensure the facility will remain an economically attractive investment into the next century.

For more information regarding the 421, Downey Crescent, Innovation Project contact Murray Guy P. Eng. Tel; 1-306-241-5572.