New EY office building in Waterloo one of the 'greenest' in Canada

25 May 2018

The evolv1 office building in Waterloo, Ontario – slated for completion this summer – was awarded the first ever zero carbon certification by the Canada Green Building Council. The building, designed by Edmonton-based engineering and design consultancy Stantec, will produce more energy than it consumes. Accounting and consulting firm EY will be the anchor tenant of the 9,300 sq m building.

Other multi-tenant buildings will be green with envy over how eco-friendly the forthcoming evolv1 complex in Waterloo is projected to be. Located in the ‘IdeaQuarter’ north of the University of Waterloo, evolv1 – a project of real estate developer Cora Group – will be the first multi-tenant building of its kind established with goal of achieving a net positive carbon output.

Designed by Canadian design and engineering consultancy Stantec, the building was awarded the first zero carbon certification by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). The building design utilizes a number of cutting-edge technologies to create more energy than it consumes. The ultra-green building will be anchored by accounting and consulting firm EY, with other tenants including TextNow and evolvGreen.

The building’s energy efficiency is achieved through a combination of energy-saving and creating design elements. The building is very effectively insulated throughout its walls and roof, reducing heat loss in the winter and AC loss in the summer. Windows are triple-glazed and incorporate solar shading to prevent heat gain in the summer. The building also utilizes a solar wall that passively heats air pumped into the three-story building, as well as a geothermal cooling and heating system. A three-storey green wall and an array of solar photovoltaic panels round out the building’s eco-design elements.

New EY office building in Waterloo one of the 'greenest' in Canada

“We are proud of how evolv1 expands the definition of sustainability,” said Stantec Principal Richard Williams. “This project advances the business case and economic model for sustainable design in a multi-tenant building.” Ostensibly, the hyper-efficiency of the building balances some of the higher design and construction costs.

“[evolv1] is setting a tangible example for building owners and policymakers across the country that zero carbon buildings are technically feasible and economically viable right now,” commented CaGBC President and CEO Thomas Mueller. “The shift to zero carbon buildings is a critical step in reaching our climate change goals in Canada. Through innovative projects like evolv1 the building industry can lead the way in the fight against climate change.”

The 100,000 sq ft, three-story office building will be situated in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park, within Waterloo’s Idea Quarter. The building will feature bike lockers, electric vehicle charging stations, and ample parking space. Evolv1 is conveniently situated near an Ion Light Rail Transit stop.

Over the first year of operation, evolv1 will closely monitor its performance in order to uphold its zero carbon building certification. Cora Group CEO Adrian Conrad hopes that other developers will follow suit in building zero carbon projects.

"It's replicable," said Conrad in an interview with the Waterloo Chronicle. "A big part of this was proof of concept — we're a private developer and Region of Waterloo-based, and the vision back in 2013 was to take the sustainable buildings we've done in the past and take them to the next level.”

The building’s construction is set to be completed this summer.


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French tech consultancy Axionable opens AI research lab in Montreal

11 April 2019

Paris-based Axionable, a consulting firm specializing in enterprise data and artificial intelligence strategy, has announced the opening of a research lab in Montréal. The lab will hire 50 new employees over the next two years.

"Opening a facility in Montréal was a natural choice for us," Gwendal Bihan, Axionable CEO, said at the World Summit AI conference in the Quebec metropolis. "The city is now one of the top global centres of artificial intelligence (AI) research. We are eager to work alongside the world's most renowned researchers and to be part of a booming ecosystem that includes industry leaders as well as promising start-ups."

Axionable was founded in 2016, and has approximately 50 employees across offices in Paris and Lille. The firm provides high-demand consulting services in data analysis and AI, with expertise in image and video analysis, natural language processing, and prediction. Axionable also delivers a full range of support services, from needs identification to performance-improving AI solutions. The firm supports clients across financial services, media, distribution, and industrials, and has worked with notable organizations such as Michelin and Crédit Agricole.

French tech consultancy Axionable opens AI research lab in Montreal

"We are undertaking this international expansion phase not long after the company was founded, and it would not have been possible without the support of organizations like Montréal International, Investissement Québec, and Business France,” Bihan said.

Montréal is a burgeoning hub for AI, with firms such as McKinsey’s advanced analytics company QuantumBlack recently moving into the city. Montreal’s world-class AI research is centred around McGill University and l’Université de Montréal, as well as the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms which was cofounded by the two educational institutions.

"Quite a number of foreign companies are investing in the area,” Hubert Bolduc, president and CEO of Montréal International, the city’s economic development agency, said. “The team has supported over 30 AI projects in the past two years, totalling $500 million. Montréal stands out not only due to its concentration of deep learning researchers, but also by how much consideration it gives to the social and ethical impacts of AI."

Axionable has already started the recruitment process for its Canadian AI lab, searching for experts in automatic learning, deep learning, information technology, and communication. The lab will work on defining and implementing AI and data strategies for clients in North America and Europe.

"This new lab will provide further stimulus for the technological revolution taking place in Québec and create a great many highly specialized jobs,” Pierre Gabriel Côté, Investissement Québec president and CEO, said. “We are proud to have played a role in showcasing the advantages of choosing Montréal for this key player in the AI industry and to have provided help and guidance with investing here."