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Green Building in Winnipeg

MEC's Winnipeg store opened in 2002. The site was occupied by three buildings, two of them too dilapidated for occupancy. They were carefully dismantled, and the materials meticulously inventoried and used to build new sections of the store. About 95% of the existing buildings were reused or recycled in some form.

Winnipeg Store


Almost 4,000 tonnes of material in the existing buildings were diverted from landfill. All structural materials in this building were reclaimed, including the brick and wood floor, joists, exterior masonry, and cast iron columns and steel beams. Construction used 20% of the energy that would have been required if we'd used all new materials.

To minimize consumption of new materials, the ceiling is exposed, the floors are uncarpeted reclaimed brick and hardwood, and the walls have the minimum drywall required by building codes. In addition to the ecological benefits, the weathered materials add beauty to the store.

All finishing materials minimize vapour emissions. The paints are Ecologo® certified, they and the adhesives are free of volatile organic compounds. Composite wood finshes emit very low levels of formaldehyde.


Industry analysts consider this building the most energy-efficient commercial outlet in Canada, and one of the most environmentally friendly in the world. We have been recognized by government and industry groups, including Gold Level Certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) NC Green Building Rating System. MEC Winnipeg was the second retail building in Canada to meet the national C2000 Green Building Standard – the first was MEC's Ottawa store.

Energy saving features in the building make it 65% more efficient than the standards of the Model National Energy Code and keep about 64 tonnes of greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere every year.

To reduce heat loss and energy consumption, exterior building walls are insulated to an R value of 30, more than twice the R12 called for in the building code.

The windows are highly energy efficient. Some are double-paned, others triple-paned, framed with fibreglass or aluminum.

C02 sensors ensure an optimal balance of fresh incoming air, so energy isn't wasted in heating or cooling.

High-efficiency light fixtures and motion sensors adjust or turn off lights in unoccupied areas. A central skylight reduces the need for artificial light.

A green roof provides evaporative cooling and helps insulate the building to reduce energy required for heating or cooling


Composting toilets provide fertilizer and "tea" that can be used in our rooftop garden. They reduce our waste water volume by more than 50%, saving 73 cubic metres of water each year.