Gatineau is mindful of the importance of sustainable development, and therefore opted for a green building with a distinctive and contemporary architectural signature that was destined to become one of the city's visual and symbolic reference points. The building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
This certification is based on a North-American standards system for high environmental quality buildings. It is awarded only to those builders who introduce measures aimed at optimizing the building's energy performance and use of municipal water. These builders must also take air quality into consideration, and soundly manage the waste they generate during construction. As well, the site layout must be ecological, with careful management of runoff water and light pollution.
Of the building's total heating and air conditioning requirements, 80% are met through 92 geothermal wells. The choice of high energy yield equipment, and the installation of heat recovery and other control systems should cut energy use by more than 50%. A green roof further reduces heat islands.
Several measures have been introduced to curtail unnecessary use of municipal water. The water used to rinse the pool filters, for instance, is used to flush the toilets and urinals. Taps and showers are low flow.
Sustainable development is also evident in the landscaping, which is designed to minimize the need for irrigation. Retention basins are used to capture water from the roof and the site, and greenery is carefully chosen to require little water. All of these measures should reduce the Centre's consumption of municipal water by 30%.
The soil that was excavated for the construction was mostly recovered and used for a public area with a wooded mound, pathways and rest areas.
Gatineau is the fourth largest city in the province of Quebec with close to 285,000 inhabitants.