Aug. 7, 2020

Schulich School of Engineering Expansion achieves LEED Gold certification

UCalgary now has 14 certified LEED projects on campus
Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex
Daylighting and student collaboration space inside the CNRL Engineering Complex. Riley Brandt

Imagine walking through the south entrance of UCalgary’s Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex. You may be surprised to learn that there is a roof under your feet. This green roof is 500 m² in size and sits above an underground Schulich School of Engineering lecture hall: ENG 60.    

“You could walk by this building 100 times and not know that you’re actually walking over a green roof to get into the CNRL building,” says Boris Dragicevic, associate vice-president, Facilities Development. “Most people would never know about the vegetative landscape that sits over this underground lecture theatre. It helps keep the theatre cool in summer and warm in winter and captures stormwater to ease the burden on downstream water systems.” 

Construction waste repurposed

This isn’t the only unique element about the building. The recent expansion eliminated building waste by creatively using components of the original Engineering Complex built in the 1960s. Significant portions of the original exterior concrete façades were incorporated in the expansion to add visual interest and honour the memory of the original building. This also helped reduce construction waste. Over the course of the project, approximately 88 per cent of project waste — more than 5,000 tonnes — was sent to recycling facilities where it was repurposed to help build the circular economy.  

In addition, the sustainable stormwater system was designed to treat and manage more than 6,000 cubic meters of stormwater annually, decreasing the amount of rainwater sent to the sewers. Landscaped areas provide a dual purpose and act as stormwater infiltration basins where rainwater can be retained while it seeps into the ground. In addition, the energy efficiency strategies incorporated in the building result in a reduction in utility costs of more than 44 per cent from a typical building. Finally, there is a 60 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic array installed on the roof that is expected to generate 66,000 kWh per year — enough energy to power 10 Alberta homes. 

Integration of stormwater and sunlight functions

“The sustainability leadership demonstrated by this project is emblematic of the Schulich School of Engineering's commitment to providing its students with an opportunity to make a difference in the world,” says Dr. Bill Rosehart, PhD, dean, Schulich School of Engineering.   

The culmination of these sustainable features resulted in the Schulich School of Engineering Expansion project being awarded LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council.  

“The LEED Gold certification of this expansion project brings UCalgary’s LEED project count to 14,” says Joanne Perdue, associate vice-president, Sustainability. “UCalgary now has over 150,000 m² of LEED-certified space that supports the health and well-being of our campus community and reduces our annual carbon emissions to the equivalent of over 3,000 cars off the road each year and annual potable water use by enough to fill over 30 Olympic size swimming pools. This project represents the innovation of the Schulich School of Engineering and UCalgary’s continued commitment to sustainability leadership.” 

Expansion supported an increase in enrolment

The Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex’s expansion added approximately 18,300 m² of new space to the Schulich School of Engineering so they can support an additional 400 students.  

To learn more about the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex, visit To explore more of UCalgary’s LEED certified buildings, visit  

The Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex’s LEED Gold certification supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15.  

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a roadmap for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability