Summer, 2017 

Director of Sustainability
U-Toronto — Canada

Summer, 2017

Paul Leitch is Director of Sustainability for the University of Toronto. He recently led the conversion of the old Exam Centre building in the heart of the city, to significantly reduce its overall energy use. The promising results thus far show what’s possible when existing infrastructure is repurposed to help contribute towards a cleaner, smarter and lower energy use future.

The project is particularly good at showing us what can be achieved relatively simply, when one stays true to a building’s existing strengths. Once dedicated to housing and storing exam papers from decade after decade of students, the Exam Centre was thus originally designed to be incredibly strong — Each floor capable of holding XXX tonnes of books and papers. As such it was a very logical choice to house a sizeable array of Xx solar panels on it’s roof. The building therefore, had less need to adapt to the new renewable technology choices being installed. In fact it’s own historical DNA made most of the choices for the team.

Such ideas of re-appropriation, re-purposing or even re-cycling by design, is already part of a larger global trend. Helpfully showing us that existing infrastructure offers a variety of unexpected solutions, in the efforts to generating cleaner energy. For example, golf courses in Japan, built originally in the 1980s to host important business meetings on their fairways during the electronics boom. Are now being repurposed as solar farms. Their primarily south facing slopes lending themselves perfectly to the application of electricity producing solar panels.
Interview to be continued...

“There is no cleaner fuel than energy efficieny.”

The Toronto
Exam Centre Roof.

XX solar panels 
cover an
area of XX 
Paul’s office.
Complete with it’s
own solar array.

The Sustainers — 21st Century Pioneers
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