By Sarah Klein
Manitoba Hydro Place is still under construction in downtown Winnipeg, but when complete, will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its size in North America. The $278 million project has some extraordinary features in an effort to be green, including some very modern features.
“The building responds and interacts with the climate to optimize environmental benefits such as maximizing day lighting, maximizing solar thermal gain, etc. The solar shading is an integral component of this system,” Scott Powell of Manitoba Hydros tells ChrisD.ca. “All of the solar shading devices on the east, west and south side of the building are automatically controlled by a computer. The computer program contains all data related to the annual sun path. As the sun follows its daily path around the building the solar shading reacts based on the angle of the sun’s rays to maximize natural lighting and to reduce glare. In addition a weather station on the top of the building measures the external lux levels. If it is an overcast day the blinds will open to recognize the reduced light levels. The solar shading is also used to reduce overheating. If it is a very sunny and hot day, as measured by the building temperature sensors and weather station, to prevent overheating the solar shading is closed. It should also be noted that even when the solar shading is closed, the top of the system is left open to act as a light shelf to ensure that the sunlight can still enter the space. The solar shading can also be controlled individually by occupants to suit their specific needs, however every 3 hours the blinds are corrected to the climatic conditions by the central control system.”
Manitoba Hydro employees began moving into the new headquarters located at 360 Portage Avenue on December 22, 2008.