The federal government announced today that George Brown College's "The Arbour" building will get $4.1 million in funding for construction. It will be a new, mass-timber, low-carbon institutional building with a net-zero carbon emission- the first of its kind in Ontario.

The Toronto development, which will cost a total of $134 million, will be 10-storeys tall and will use approximately 3,000 cubic meters of wood. The Arbour is set to become the base for George Brown’s School of Architectural Studies, as well as The School of Computer Technology. According to the college, students will learn in and learn from a flexible and futuristic facility.

This project is the first to have received funding from the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program. The initiative was announced in 2017 as part of the Government of Canada’s budget, and will offer $39.8 million in funding to support projects that use wood as a green building material in future projects.

GCWood encourages building with to be constructed with wood instead of traditional materials in projects such as multi-story buildings, low-rise non-residential spaces and even bridges. The program strives to position Canada as a worldwide leading force in tall-wood construction and the creation of a low-carbon economy.

According to Rick Jeffery, the Interim President at the Canadian Wood Council, “today’s GCWood Program announcement is about diversifying options for builders and architects in Canada, and providing them with the science, research and funding to support the advancement of wood in construction”.

Many current residential and commercial buildings in Canada continue to contribute to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but switching to low-carbon materials such as wood, would signal a massive change in favour of the country’s climate change objectives.

Anne Sado, the president of George Brown College, said that the new college building will be designed as an example of how we can “incorporate sustainability into all aspects of our lives, including where we learn, work and play”.

Marianne Berube of Ontario Wood WORKS! also adds that it will “stand as a clear, inspiring demonstration of what can be achieved with modern wood construction. The example set by The Arbour will help drive advancement in sustainable wood construction and lead the way for additional wood projects in the Greater Toronto Area and also the country.”

On top of all the environmental benefits, the new George Brown building will be absolutely beautiful, with designs showing floor to ceiling windows and of course, lots of exposed wood. Construction of the will begin in 2021 at the southeast corner of Queens Quay East and Lower Shelbourne Street.

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