Ontario Construction News staff writer
Trinity College is the first post-secondary institution in North America to secure a labelled Green Loan for its new residence and academic building – the Lawson Centre for Sustainability.
Arranged by BMO, the Green Loan will be used to finance the construction of Trinity College’s new mass timber, zero carbon, LEED platinum multi-use building in Toronto.
“This new flagship facility is the most significant building project Trinity College has undertaken in 100 years – something made possible by the generosity of our alumni who have given unprecedented levels of support to the Living Trinity Campaign,” said Professor Mayo Moran, provost and vice-chancellor of Trinity College, a university federated with the University of Toronto.
Currently under construction, the multi-use facility will add 14,450 sq. m. of residential, academic, social and dining spaces for the community. Residential capacity on the Trinity campus will increase from 450 to 800 beds, responding to the need for more student housing and allowing more students to take advantage of the collegiate experience.
A construction update highlighted progress from October to December 2023 that was focused on excavation, foundation work and concrete structures:
- Concrete structure for stairs on eastern side takes shape
- Bulk excavation, shoring and foundation work and detailed excavation continues
- Concrete columns and foundation walls poured
- Third floor of eastern stairwell core started
- First delivery of mass timber arrived in December
“BMO’s Climate Ambition is to be our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net zero world,” Jonathan Hackett, the bank’s head of sustainable finance, said in a statement. “As a leader in sustainable finance, we are proud to arrange the first labelled Green Loan to a North American university.
“Helping clients like Trinity College make progress towards their ESG goals, which include supporting sustainability education and practices, is a great example of the way we partner with organizations to create new and effective sustainable solutions.”
Sustainability is at the core of the Lawson Centre’s design and construction, as well as operation and maintenance. The mass timber building will use geothermal heating and cooling as well as rooftop photovoltaics, triple-glazed windows, an underground cistern for rainwater collection and reuse, and locally sourced materials, including limestone and bricks.
The landscape plan includes unique native species ecology zones, two new courtyard spaces and open green space for a variety of activities, along with the George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm.
Scheduled to open in 2025, the site is expected to receive LEED Platinum certification and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Design Standard.
It will also aim to achieve the WELL standard to address the broader sustainability goals of the project and the United Nations sustainable development goals.