Wychwood Barns StackArtscape Wychwood Barns enhances the traditional concept of a park as “pleasure ground” by combining heritage preservation with current best practices in green technologies and environmental management. The Artscape Wychwood Barns project embraces environmentally sustainable design by responding imaginatively to the issues of brownfield redevelopment, water/energy conservation and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also the first designated heritage site in Canada to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Canada certification.

Some of the Artscape Wychwood Barns’ LEED features include a geo-thermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with ground source heat pumps; a storm water harvesting and reuse system; energy efficient lighting and appliances and water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

Through the use of green energy and energy efficient resources, Artscape Wychwood Barns is an environmental quality improvement project that provides significant and positive contributions toward improving the environment in the community, helping to improve air quality and championing clean water initiatives. Not-for-profit environmental organizations with new homes in the Artscape Wychwood Barns will provide thousands of schoolchildren, adults and area residents with environmental programming, such as naturalization and monitoring projects.

Artscape Wychwood Barns LEED Features

Stormwater Harvesting

Underneath the floor in Barn 2 is a 90 cubic metre cistern. This cistern collects rainwater which is captured from the building roof. The water collected is used for flushing the site’s 40 water closets, and for park irrigation.

By reusing stored rainwater in combination with low flow fixtures and waterless urinals, the site will reduce the consumption of municipal potable water compared to a typical building of the same size by 67%. It is estimated that the building will save a total of 7,745.90 litres per day or a yearly volume of 2.8 million litres.

These water use reductions help protect the natural water cycle and save water resources for future generations.

Potable Water Use Reduction

Canadians currently use approximately 340 litres of fresh water per person per day. Out of the total amount of treated potable water that is distributed to all buildings, only about 3% is used for human consumption.

By implementing ultra low-flush water closets that work at 3 litres per flush instead of the conventional 6 litres per flush, and by using waterless urinals in place of urinals that typically use 3.8 litres per flush, the Artscape Wychwood Barns will substantially reduce the site’s overall water consumption.

Low-flush water closets also reduce the amount of waste water entering the City’s sewage treatment facility, thus decreasing the impact on the facility and reducing energy consumption required to treat the sewage.

White Roof

The Artscape Wychwood Barns roof system is a single ply, highly reflective, white PVC membrane covering approximately 28,000 square feet. This roofing system helps reduce the heat island effect and the cooling load of the site during the summer months.

The term heat island effect describes urban developed areas that are hotter than adjacent rural areas as a result of solar retention on constructed surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt and buildings.

Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.

White roofing systems can reduce the heat island effect by reflecting solar heat rather than absorbing and transferring it to the building. It is estimated that the white roof system installed on the Artscape Wychwood Barns should reduce the indoor temperature during the summer months by up to 3 C.

Indoor Air Quality

Canadians spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Many of these pollutants are from compounds in the paints, adhesives, sealants and cleaning products used on site.

These compounds (volatile organic compounds or VOCs) contribute to smog generation and air pollution indoors as well as outdoors. These VOCs can have an adverse effect on the health of the building occupants, causing respiratory irritation, asthma, and/or chronic health problems to individuals who are exposed to them over a long period of time.

The products and installation methods used on the Artscape Wychwood Barns all meet the low-VOC levels specified by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Ground Source Heating/Cooling

Canadian commercial and institutional buildings are responsible for approximately 37% of Canada’s primary energy consumption. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels used to create this energy has helped increase the amount of green house gases released.

The ground source energy system, located under the park land on the west side of the site, consists of 48 bore holes, each running 120 meters (400 feet) deep. This system accounts for a substantial reduction in the amount of energy that would have been consumed if the site had used conventional heating/cooling methods.

The system works by utilizing the ground as both a source and sink for energy. During cooling seasons compressors are energized in the heat pumps creating cooling for the occupants but also creating heat from the compressors which must be rejected. This heat energy is transferred from the compressors to the ground via the ground loop system.

Alternatively during winter season, the stored energy in the ground is absorbed into the ground loop and used by the heat pumps to warm the spaces. This system only requires the burning of fossil fuel when the loop temperatures drop to a point where the compressors require supplemental heat into the loop. In the conventional or baseline system, fossil fuel would be burned throughout the heating season to heat the spaces.


The siding panels that run along Benson Ave. are made of 100% recycled plastic. The plastic supply comes from industrial runoff from Kingston, ON and is manufactured into polyboard in Toronto, ON. This polyboard is waterproof, UV resistant and contains no asbestos, fibreglass or toxic resins. The 93 sheets used on the Artscape Wychwood Barns diverted 8,556 pds of plastic from landfill.