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Manitoba Hydro Place: The New Precedent
August 05, 2010 | Environmental Design and Construction Magazine
The New Precedent
by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects
July 29, 2010

"Manitoba Hydro -- the major energy utility in the province and the fourth largest energy utility in Canada -- offers some of the lowest electricity rates in the world. Owned by the provincial government, nearly all of its electricity comes from self-renewing water power. Its new headquarters tower, Manitoba Hydro Place, is the first of the next generation of sustainable buildings integrating time-tested environmental concepts in conjunction with advanced technologies to achieve a “living building” that dynamically responds to the local climate.

Located in downtown Winnipeg, the city is known for its extreme climate, with temperatures that fluctuate from minus 31 F up to 95 F over the year. The 695,000 ft² tower is targeting less than 100 kWh/m²/a compared to 400 kWh/m²/a for a typical large scale North American office tower located in a more temperate climate. The architectural solution clearly responds to the client’s vision and relies on passive free energy without compromise to design quality and, most importantly, human comfort.

The street address, 360 Portage Avenue, encapsulates the 360-degree approach of the formal Integrated Design Process (IDP) mandated by the client to achieve the objectives of 60 percent energy savings, supportive workplaces, urban revitalization, signature architecture and cost effectiveness. The site was strategically selected because more than 95 percent of the bus routes pass this address, including routes to suburban Winnipeg where 80 percent of Manitoba Hydro employees live. The IDP process was greatly enhanced by extensive computer modeling using local wind, sun and temperature data to evaluate design options. The building is already projected to outperform its original energy goal by 64 percent or greater."

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