evolv1 is truly unique in Waterloo’s commercial real estate landscape, in that it was designed to not only maximize energy efficiency but also to actually create more energy than it consumes. It’s the first office building to receive the Zero Carbon Building Design Certification from the Canada Green Building Council, which means the project demonstrated a design that could operate with a zero-carbon balance and onsite renewable energy systems.

evolv1 is more than just a building, however. It’s designed to motivate, inspire, and educate the public about sustainable design, all within the context of a competitive commercial real estate marketplace.

The Background

GHG emissions from buildings are growing faster than from every other source except transportation. Although a focus on energy efficiency and sustainable building design has become more prevalent, commercial developments often still rely on traditional design and construction processes. evolv1, however, disproves the old and outdated notion that ‘building better’ is not financially feasible.

Read more in the Feasibility Study that provided the foundation for this project

The Idea

The concept of evolv1 was developed through an innovative and collaborative process based on four key principles:

Regenerative: The building gives back to its environment and is designed to have a net-positive impact.

Scalable: The design and construction is financially viable, making the business case to inspire other regenerative buildings across Canada and around the world.

Innovation & Collaboration: Through its development and operation, the building will advance sustainable solutions and deepen Waterloo Region’s role as a sustainability leader provincially and nationally.

People: Working with a team of leading behavioural psychology researchers, we’re seeking to foster a culture of sustainability in the evolv1 building by embedding a contextualized engagement strategy.

The goal was to design a building using a highly integrated design process. This ensured alignment among everyone involved, from the building owner to the architectural and engineering teams and sustainability consultants, to the contractor and sub-trades.

The Team

Owner, Developer: The Cora Group

Key Partners: The Cora Group, David Johnston Research & Technology Park, EY, Sustainable Waterloo Region and the University of Waterloo

Sustainability Consultant, Architect and Landscape Architect: Stantec

Civil, Electrical, Energy and Mechanical Engineer: Stantec

Commissioning Authority: CFMS-West Consulting Inc.

Contractor: Melloul-Blamey Construction Inc.

The Outcome

evolv1 received its ZCB-Design certification in April 2018 and its first annual ZCB-Performance certification in April 2020. It also achieved Platinum certification under the LEED Canada for Core and Shell Development 2009 rating system.

In addition to EY, Sustainable Waterloo Region and the University of Waterloo, tenants also include the Accelerator Centre, Borealis AI, TextNow, and Wilfrid Laurier University. Read more about the collaborative work being done at evolv1 on the evolvGREEN page.

evolv1 Project Supporters

This project was made possible through the generous support of the following: