Reimagine Magazine | Issue 8
Project Profile

The Reimagine Architects team is never one to shy away from a challenge, so when the opportunity came up to design a new student building on Northern Lakes College’s High Prairie campus in 2018, principal Vedran Škopac and his project partners jumped at it.

“The proposal call was heavily weighted on the design component, which we loved says Škopac, Reimagine Architects Principal and team lead for the NLC’s High Prairie Campus Building project. Unusual for Alberta public institutions, NLC included a paid design competition in their procurement projects. “We brought a 3-D model to the interview, and we had Google glasses available so we would slide the model into them and allow clients to walk through and up and down the stairs.”

The project was publicly funded, and exploring the feasibility of net-zero was a priority of the college’s president. When Alberta Infrastructure’s Technical Services groups got involved in  reviewing the project, they were impressed that this project was well  on its way to a full net-zero design,” ex-plains Škopac.

To fit net-zero readiness a building is de-signed and built with materials and systems to generate its own energy, from clean and renewable sources, to compensate for its own energy use. In this case, the building’s design allows it to harness the power of the ground and the sun by incorporating both geothermal energy capture and more than 1,000 photovoltaic panels to attract solar power through the roof. “The geothermal system is something that uses the differential of the ground temperature. It helps your mechanical system by allowing it to work less, explains Škopac. “The implications are quite huge ... Photovoltaic panels not only cost money, but they also consume area. Our task was to design a net-zero ready building so that the PV (photovoltaic) component can be added and you basically plug them in and they perform.”

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