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RBC And B+H Architects Announce Winners Of Evolve Sustainable Design Competition

University of Waterloo architecture and engineering students receive first prize

TORONTO, April 18, 2013 /CNW/ - RBC and B+H proudly announced today the winners of the 2013 Evolve Sustainable Design Competition. University of Waterloo students Renee Hum-Hsiao, Elaina Poleto, Keegan Steeper, Joanne Yau and Thomas Yuan received first prize for their design of an environmentally sustainable bank branch of the future. The winning team received $5,000 and an opportunity to meet with some of Canada's top architecture professionals at B+H.

In addition, the University of Waterloo student team of Alice Chen, Alan King Bowden, Andrea Ng, Alice Song and Mina Vedut received an honourable mention and a $2,500 prize.

The competition challenged architecture and engineering students to work together in interdisciplinary teams to design a net-zero energy and water-wise bank branch of the future that incorporates innovative yet practical concepts for achieving extreme energy efficiency, includes renewable power and minimizes the branch's water.

"The winning submissions used a great balance of technology and passive design - strategies that maximize the benefits of natural light, heat and ventilation - to meet the goals of the competition," said Douglas Birkenshaw, principal at B+H. "The dedication and quality of submissions by all of the students was inspiring."

"We were very impressed with how fluent in environmental sustainability all the students were," added Lawrence Spicer, vice-president, Channel Strategy at RBC. "It is clear that sustainable design is very important to them and we're glad to support their visions for the future with a competition like Evolve."

Winner - $5,000 Renee Hum-Hsiao, Elaina Poleto, Keegan Steeper, Joanne Yau and Thomas Yuan University of Waterloo

Design features include:

  • Near net-zero energy use: a combination of design strategies focused on increasing energy efficiency, coupled with on-site energy production, allowing the branch to meet 90 per cent of its own energy needs.
  • Hydronic radiant floors: heated floors powered by a geothermal system to heat the building, resulting in a simulated 28 per cent reduction in annual energy consumption.
  • Building-integrated photovoltaic (PV) cells: PV, or solar cells, integrated into windows generating electricity and also acting as shading devices to reduce the need for air conditioning.
  • Grey water filtration system: a combination of underground tanks, planters and permeable pavement that collects and filters rain water to be re-used in toilets.
  • Sunlight transport system: a system that distributes natural sunlight through fibre optic tubing to interior spaces.

Honourable Mention - $2,500 Alice Chen, Alan King Bowden, Andrea Ng, Alice Song, and Mina Vedut University of Waterloo

Design features include:

  • Building integrated wind turbines: wind turbines incorporated into exterior walls optimized to catch prevailing winds.
  • High-performance curtain wall system: south-facing wall made of alternating panels of windows with integrated PVs, or solar cells, produces energy while shading the interior.
  • Operable windows: windows that open and are purposefully placed to allow for optimal natural ventilation and increased occupant comfort.
  • Artificial wetland: designed for on-site water collection and filtration to help reduce storm water run-off.
  • A number of passive strategies, such as thermal mass flooring and high-reflectivity roofing system, to help regulate internal temperature and reduce urban heat island effect.

Submissions were reviewed by an expert panel of judges, including:

  • Douglas Birkenshaw, principal, B+H Architects
  • Lawrence Spicer, vice-president of Channel Strategy, RBC
  • Steve Kemp, energy modelling expert, Enermodal Engineering
  • Vivian Loftness, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture
  • Thomas Mueller, president and CEO, Canada Green Building Council
  • Lisa Rochon, architecture critic, The Globe and Mail

About Evolve Sustainable Design Competition Completed during the 2012 - 2013 academic year, the Evolve Sustainable Design Competition challenged architecture and engineering students to work together in multi-disciplinary teams to design a net-zero energy and water-wise bank branch. Students were asked to explore the design and function of a typical bank branch and develop ways to minimize its energy and water use, while providing a platform for employees, clients and the community to learn about how sustainable building practices can be made part of everyday life. Learn more about Evolve Sustainable Design Competition at

About RBC Community and Sustainability Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 49 other countries.

RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012 - 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC has been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers and one of Canada's 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations. Learn more about RBC community and sustainability at

About B+H and Sustainability B+H has been in the business of shaping the built environment for 60 years with award winning architectural, planning and interior design services delivering innovative sustainable design solutions to large scale, technically complex projects around the world. We believe in buildings that are intelligently planned, provide high returns for low cost, and focus on enhancing the relationship between, and the performance of, people and their environment. The work of our integrated global practice with offices in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Delhi, Dubai and Doha spans all major sectors - commercial, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, institutional, mixed-use, residential, retail, sports and transportation. Learn more about B+H and sustainability at


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