From green roofs to eco-friendly materials and environmental certifications, we take a look at structures that were built with sustainability as a priority

No discussion of eco-friendly spaces would be complete without mentioning the magnificent West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC). Nestled right on the water in downtown Vancouver, the VCC’s latest expansion has been around for about a decade, and is renowned for its double LEED® Platinum certification and unparalleled commitment to environmental sustainability.

The most noticeable sustainable feature is the roof, the largest in Canada at six acres. The lush green space is home to 400,000 indigenous plants and 240,000 bees in four colonies that provide honey for the convention centre restaurant.Green Building Profile: The Vancouver Convention CentreVancouver Convention CentreThe sloping design of the roof complements the surrounding area, creating an ecological bridge to Stanley Park, the Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains. But it doesn’t just look spectacular: the roof acts as an insulator to the rest of the centre, and is a fully functional habitat for the wildlife and vegetation that call the space home.

The interior of the West Building expertly blends stunning design elements with practical sustainability. Utilizing the surrounding seawater temperature, a heat pump system produces cooling for the building in the summer and heating during winter, resulting in 60 percent energy reduction.West BallroomVancouver Convention CentreAnother noticeable element inside the West Building is the stunning wood wall design in the core area, quintessentially West Coast and made with 9,300 square metres of hemlock wood panelling. The “stack of lumber” design, juxtaposed with the smooth surface of the perpendicular walls, create a bright, airy and clean space truly worthy of its many awards.