Cooling the Sidewalks

Alumnus Tells Concordia to Shut its Doors

Is this building up to green code? Kind of… Photo Riley Sparks

Despite the MB building, home of the John Molson School of Business, being certified as having an environmentally friendly design, one passing Concordia alumnus spotted a crack in the structure’s environmental façade.

On Aug. 31, James Dufault wrote an email to Concordia warning that the Arouch restaurant on the ground floor of the MB building was leaving its large doors open during a heat wave, venting the building’s air conditioning onto de Maisonneuve Boulevard.

With the MB building lauded for its energy saving ventilation system and solar panels, the “leak” through Arouch nullified the building’s environmentally friendly credentials.

“I find it irresponsible and wasteful to keep the doors open while using AC,” wrote Dufault. “I certainly do not want my donations going into the general stream of Concordia’s expenses so that I can pay to change the climate.”

Chris Mota, Concordia’s media relations director, responded to Dufault two days later.

“[Facilities Management] looked into the matter and contacted our tenant Arouch Inc., to remind them that their doors must be closed whenever the air conditioning is running,” Mota wrote.

On Sept. 3, a representative for Arouch contacted Dufault.

“This issue was brought to my attention yesterday and I quickly ordered [the staff] to stop the AC system. However, our thermometer does not have any on or off button. So we decided to bring the system up to 30C to prevent the system from blasting cool air,” said the representative for Arouch.

On Sept. 4, The Link went to Arouch to confirm that the restaurant’s AC was turned off. It was.

However, the restaurants large doors were open and an internal door with the MB building was open. The draft caused by the two open doors still pulled cold air onto the sidewalk.

In August 2008, New York City outlawed the air conditioning of sidewalks, telling businesses that they needed to close their doors. The city found that keeping the doors of 1,000 businesses open created the annual carbon emissions of 425 cars.

With the lowest level of award under the Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program, Mota told The Link that the university had applied for a higher silver level of LEED.

The building’s LEED level should be determined before the end of the year, Mota said.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 04, published September 7, 2010.