A smart idea

Innovative design that's good for people and the environment: this is what SMART Technologies' new corporate headquarters and research centre is all about.

A pioneer in designing interactive whiteboards and other collaborative technology, the Calgary-based high-tech firm opened its new global headquarters and research centre in May. Situated within the University of Calgary's Research Park, the more than $60-million building is the culmination of five years of exhaustive planning by company co-founders David Martin and Nancy Knowlton. With GEC Architecture as prime consultant and project management by Dean Slater Consulting, the building was completed this past spring and brings the company's more than 750 Calgary employees together under one roof.


"We designed the building to meet the needs of our staff and the environment over the long term," says SMART executive chairman, David Martin. "It's all about the people, the human factor, and providing a good environment in which to work. Flexibility is the key word."

The approximately 211,000 sq. ft building was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification guidelines, an international standard for environmentally sustainable design and construction.

SMART's headquarters is expected to become one of only nine buildings in Canada to meet those certification criteria. The building's many environmental features encompass all aspects of green-friendly construction. Three multi-storey wings feature high windows, designed to flood all areas of the building with natural light. High efficient lighting and mechanical systems reduce energy consumption throughout the building.

SMART says the building produces half the greenhouse gas emissions than a typical office building.

Ultra-low-flow faucets with hands-free operation, ultra low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets and waterless urinals dramatically cut water consumption. There are also motion-activated, energy-efficient light bulbs; non-toxic paints, adhesives, and carpets; and a reflective roof that reduces cooling requirements during the summer. All windows are triple-glazed.

Also, there are sensors to measure external heat and automatically adjust the blinds to maintain a consistent air temperature.

The building features about 90 meeting and collaboration rooms, all equipped with SMART products that are integrated with other technologies.

With good access via car, public transit, bicycle and walking paths, the building is equipped with five levels of underground parking, an underground bicycle parkade, and shower and change facilities. A health club/staff wellness centre, cafeteria, dining area, and day-care centre.


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