United we stand – this motto rings true in many aspects of our world. With this in mind, eight environmental organizations have joined forces in order to strengthen their mission, and gathered under one roof: the Maison du développement durable (MDD, or the Centre for Sustainable Development). This achievement became a reality in the fall of 2011, after 10 years of hard work and continuous efforts. Having set up shop in the heart of Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles, the MDD building is a perfect example of green architecture: it is the first LEED platinum commercial building in a downtown Canadian city, with one of the best energy-related performances. Every aspect of the construction has been carefully planned, from the materials chosen to efficient energy, water and waste management. The 65,000 square feet of the MDD building is made from sustainable material and utilizes many eco strategies, even boasting a beautiful vertical garden and green roof.
The five-storey building has raised floors, machine roomless elevators (MRL), outer shell with triple windows and two low-emissivity films in particular, heating and air conditioning operated by 28 geothermal wells and efficient lighting which all make it one of most energy-efficient office buildings in Canada.
More than a physical location, the MDD is a hub of ideas and daily battles for the benefit of people and the environment – it hosts eight social-driven organizations : Amnesty international, the Early childhood centre Le Petit réseau, Montreal’s regional environment council, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Équiterre, Option consommateurs, the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec and Vivre en Ville.
These founding organizations have decided to come together in order to influence real-estate decision-makers and the general public towards environmentally positive choices. Everyone agrees that environmental issues should be a high priority in this day and age – as such, the MSS aims to “build the future without jeopardy”. This union has been made possible through with the goodwill and the mobilization of various dedicated business partners, who provided vision, ideas, financing and business networking for their common goal.
Together, these organizations aim to make the MDD a place where reflection, education, innovation and meetings on sustainable development can thrive. The MDD aims to create new educational tools for the benefit of citizens, companies and governments, as well as a comprehensive green building research tool for Canadian researchers.
In our current situation where climate, energy and economy crises abound, the opening of the MDD represents great news for all of us. The MDD will allow its inhabiting organizations to become stronger, to have a greater collective impact and to benefit from more ideas and resources.