By Shreyas Parasuram

Green Rehabilitation of the Wellington Building


          Located across from Parliament Hill, the Wellington Building was constructed in 1927 and substantially enlarged in 1959. Acquired by the Crown in 1973, the Building was completely rehabilitated from 2010 to 2016 to accommodate Parliamentary functions. The estimated cost of rehabilitation works is $425 million. Following the significant rehabilitation project, the Wellington Building was unveiled in 2016. The Building will now house 70 members of Parliament, 10 committee rooms and a library for years to come. The works to rehabilitate the Wellington Building included exterior restoration (doors, windows, masonry, copper roof and entrance canopy), the replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems, seismic reinforcement, new security system, interior fit-up and new furniture and information technology systems. The interior features a new, central, multi-level atrium. It houses a resource library, committee rooms and an entrance lobby. A glazed skylight allows natural light to fill the space. A dramatic ceiling mosaic is displayed in the lobby of the Wellington Building's main entrance. The mosaic was created by American muralist Barry Faulkner in 1927 for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Experts from the Canadian Conservation Institute performed preliminary studies and trials and determined that the mosaic was in relatively good condition. However, cracked and crumbling mortar led to some unstable or missing tiles. Fortunately, cleaning trials showed that the mosaic could be restored without damaging it further. Mosaic conservation specialists performed the treatments like cleaning, consolidating (reattaching) and stabilizing loose tiles, replacing missing tiles etc. The Wellington Building was also rehabilitated with the intent to help green government operations by reducing Parliament's environmental footprint. Sustainable and energy efficient measures incorporated into the Building include a green roof complete with a rainwater collection system to water the plants, sensors to turn off the lights when no one is in the office, a light well to filter natural light and reduce artificial lighting costs, a green wall of plants to absorb carbon dioxide and air recovery units to recycle heat in the building to heat. Construction crews have reused or recycled 97% of the non-contaminated waste at the site. This means that approximately 21,800 metric tons of material did not head to the landfill! The project is Green Globes certified. By improving energy efficiency, the project earned a very high eco-rating of four Green Globes. This designation indicates leadership in energy and environmental design practices.