The Energy House was completed in April 2011 after construction began in November 2009, thanks to $7.8 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments. It was built to LEED Platinum standard, which is the highest in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building rating system, using “low-emitting materials” and mostly construction waste diverted from landfills. 

“Receiving LEED Platinum certification for Energy House is a very proud achievement for Northern Lights College,” says NLC’s Regional Facilities Manager Murray Armstrong. “Earning Platinum status involved the hard work of dozens of people at the College to create and execute the plan to build Energy House.” 

The multi-use facility produces all of its electricity and heating needs through a wind turbine, solar panels, biomass, and geo-exchange systems, among other features like a permanent carbon dioxide monitoring system and automatic lighting controls. The wastewater generated by the building has been reduced by 92 per cent, and a recycling system is in place. 

“Platinum status is more than just building a good structure,” adds Armstrong. “It also involves changes and shifts to cultural norms around the College, such as having smoking areas a minimum 7.5 metres away from entrances, windows or air intakes, and includes such things as having designated car pool parking spots.” 

There are six categories evaluated when assessing a building’s process, and a minimum of 52 points is required for Platinum status. The Energy House received 56.