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LEED Spotlight: Prairie Architects Inc. Winnipeg Office Achieves Commercial Interiors LEED v4 Platinum Certification

“LEED was the best fit for Prairie and an affordable option for achieving third-party verification for their office project.”

In 2017, Prairie Architects Inc. moved its offices into a main floor commercial condominium on Market Avenue, a heritage warehouse conversion in the heart of Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange District. Giving new life to a heritage warehouse space embodied Prairie’s passion for green building and aligned perfectly with the firm’s founding values. The company has always promoted and celebrated LEED buildings and having the opportunity to showcase their own space as Manitoba’s first Commercial Interiors LEED v4 Platinum certification, while also saving money on their energy and water bills, made perfect business sense.

Prairie Architects set high standards for their project from the beginning. The company knew that reuse would be a large part of their strategy to achieve Gold or Platinum certification, so maximizing their reuse of elements in the space would benefit them in the LEED ID+C rating system. As their first LEED v4 project, they knew there would be a learning curve to incorporate the newer aspects of the rating system into the project. They worked closely with their contractor to ensure that they met all the standards they were targeting.

Prairie has been working with LEED since it first became available in Canada. They have watched it evolve into the world-class program it is today, providing a proven framework and strategy for green building projects in Manitoba. While there are other systems, LEED was the best fit for Prairie and an affordable option for achieving third-party verification for their office project.

Emphasis on reusing materials & diverting construction waste from landfill

The primary goal of the project was to reuse as many materials as possible. To this end, Prairie maintained the existing exposed brick walls, wood floors, and ceilings. Prairie also reused furniture from their existing office, and 40-year old Eames chairs they acquired from another project. As a result, 61 percent of all their furniture is considered reused, with an additional 20 percent (by cost) made of reclaimed elm and grain elevator wood.

Many of the products they used are considered reusable or recyclable, have high-recycled content, and low VOC with emissions testing. Prairie also considered whether manufacturers participate in take-back programs, have Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and various certifications. LEED also provides double credit weighting for regional content contributions which Prairie took advantage of when choosing materials for the renovation. Finally, over and above the company’s reuse strategies, 84 percent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill.

Healthy & transit-oriented office space

Providing their employees with a healthy indoor workspace and access to all the amenities of a thriving downtown location were also key requirements for this project. The location of the new office provides staff with access to several bike routes and is a short walk to a public park space along Winnipeg’s Red River. The building also includes access to secure bike parking,
a shower and a private gym.

Large south facing windows provide natural daylight for employees and views to the active street outside. Prairie also focused on achieving optimal energy efficiency and water-use reduction strategies. High-efficiency LED fixtures and a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heating and cooling system keep the space comfortable in all seasons and contributes to 40.9 percent energy use reduction. New, ultra-low flow fixtures reduce potable water consumption by almost 43 percent.

Building Green for nearly 40 years

Prairie Architects has been building green for nearly 40 years. While they use LEED as a tool, sustainability is inherent in their practice. The opportunity to renovate their new office to LEED standards and optimize several reuse strategies made sense and will help them further promote green building and LEED in Manitoba.

Data on the energy/water/other savings that
the building has led to so far?

As of May 2019:

  • Current Source EUI 0.79 GJ/m2 (Canadian National Median 1.55 GJ/m2)
  • Current Site EUI 0.40 GJ/m2 (Canadian national median 0.99 GJ/m2)
  • Current Water Use intensity is 0.1 m3/m2
  • ENERGY STAR Score of 98/100

Project team

Project Owner/Developer

Prairie Architects Inc.


Prairie Architects Inc.

LEED Consultant

Prairie Architects Inc.

Mechanical Engineer

SMS Engineering

Electrical Engineer


Project Manager

Prairie Architects Inc.


StreetSide Developments

Commissioning Authority

Integrated Designs Inc.


Lighting Designers:
RD Sales

Energy Modelling:
SMS Engineering


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Also in this issue:
Green Building Programs
LEED Spotlight: Prairie Architects Inc. Winnipeg Office Achieves Commercial Interiors LEED v4 Platinum Certification
Ask the Expert: Learn from Green Building Pioneer, Roland Charneux
New ECCC Government Report Supports Deep Retrofits, Disclosure and Standardization
LEED Certified Projects - April 2019
Conference and Events
CaGBC Honours Canada's Green Building Leaders at BLC 2019
Member News and Updates
WorldGBC's Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment Surpasses 50 Signatories
New Global Initiative for City-Based Climate Efficiency Trading
National Media Partners' News: ConstructConnect
New Members - April 2019
There's Still Time to Apply to the Greenest School in Canada Contest
Join Us for the Making the Case for Building To Zero Carbon Webinar
Featured On-Demand Course: Engaging Tenants in Sustainability
LEED Strategic Practices (LSP) Program Course 4: Energy and Atmosphere Credits
Meet Our First-Class LEED Strategic Practices Program Instructors
CaGBC On-Demand Summer Sale: Up to 25% Off Courses Until July 31
Course Calendar - June 2019
Canada Green Building Council
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