ESCB – Environmental Science and Chemistry Building

The Environmental Science and Chemistry Building is the new home for the Department of Physical and Environmental Science at UTSC.

The facility provides state of the art research and teaching laboratories facilities that enable discovery and provide an outstanding platform for the next generation of undergraduate and graduate students in a world class teaching and research environment.

The building has continued the expansion and animation of Military Trail as outlined in UTSC's Master Plan. The building will be built with sustainable technologies and methodology that are targeting LEED Gold designation.

Building Statistics and Performance

The ESCB houses the Department of Physical and Environmental Science which enrolls over 1100 undergraduate and 150 graduate students. In comparison to 2010 enrollment, this represents a growth of 25% in undergraduate students and a doubling of graduate students. The space planning of the ESCB encompasses 11,200 GSM, 5,277 NASM with new academic spaces including highlights of:

  • 1,838 Sq.M of Research Laboratories
  • 1,052 Sq.M of Teaching Laboratories

The ESCB has been built with a number of energy efficient design features which reduces its energy consumption. The ESCB achieves an annual energy reduction of 54% in comparison to a building that was constructed to a marginally compliant standard.


Exterior Green Features

Interior Green Features

Earth Tubes

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Earth tube technology takes advantage of the constant temperature of the earth beneath the surface. Even in the coldest or hottest times of the year, the ground temperature stays constant,varying between [2 and 5] degrees. When air is drawn through these tubes, it is partially conditioned, meaning the building systems don’t have to work as much (or spend as much energy!) to condition the building.

The design of this system was more complicated that originally anticipated! After conducting computational fluid dynamic modeling, the design team realized that the system’s effectiveness could be greatly improved by adding a series of baffles inside the concrete tubes.

Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground Source Heat Pump

Beneath the building is a ground source heat pump loop consisting of over 60 boreholes, extending 210 metres deep. Refrigerant is cycled throughout this field, and passes through a heat exchanger located in the building’s mechanical room. During the summer, the heat exchanger transfers heat from the building to the ground loop, helping to cool the building. During the winter, the system draws this stored heat, helping to heat the building. This reduces the amount of energy consumed by the building, resulting in lower operating cost.

High Performance Lab Ventilation

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Because of the large number of fume hoods, a custom ventilation strategy had to be designed in order to meet the needs of the occupants as well as the equipment. Fresh, conditioned air is introduced to the administration wing of the building. It is then circulated through the atrium to custom air handling units, which add additional fresh air and supply this mix to the lab wing. This air is then exhausted out through the fume hoods, along with any chemicals or pollutants, ensuring that the ventilation for the occupants is of the highest quality.