October 26, 2010 Kleinburg, ON

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is proud to announce it has achieved the Silver rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification under the Canadian Green Building Council’s system, LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009; one that represents an ongoing commitment by building operators to continuously assess the environmental performance of their buildings.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the only LEED® Certified art gallery in Canada. This is a remarkable feat, especially since it was built in 1952 as a pioneer-style home. Built of fieldstone and hand-hewn logs, the original home of Robert and Signe McMichael has since expanded to 13 exhibition galleries that feature floor-to-ceiling windows which overlook inspiring Canadian wilderness landscapes amid the 100 acres of conservation land surrounding the McMichael. Over the decades, wise investments have been made to become more efficient, such as the solar capture system installed on the south-east corner of the gallery building. Over the years, renovations and upgrades have improved operational performance immensely. And now, achieving LEED certification is a big milestone to add to the wonderful history of this renowned cultural facility.

The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture, stated, “This reflects a priority for the province of Ontario and its people. We are proud of and applaud the McMichael – one of our cultural agencies – for taking a leadership role in becoming the first Canadian art gallery to achieve this significant status.”

The Silver rating was achieved with the assistance of LEED® consulting firm, Enermodal Engineering. The Canadian Green Building Council granted 58 out of a total 110 points to the McMichael gallery and grounds across all key areas. In the category Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance, the gallery achieved 12 out of 18 possible points. Water Efficient Landscaping scored very high (4 out of 5 points), as well as Indoor Plumbing Fixture & Fitting which has reduced water use by 31 percent. Efforts in sustainable purchasing, solid waste management and green cleaning were also credited. One big hurdle was choosing green products, everything from paper (all types) to chemicals and cleaners. “It wasn’t difficult finding a ‘green’ company,” explains McMichael’s Facility Manager, James Felice, “but verifying it was in fact green by LEED auditors was difficult. It took time, but was certainly necessary with the issue of greenwashing today.”

The McMichael remains committed to moving forward with improvements, putting the gallery in great shape to achieve the two more points required to reach the next level of a Gold rating, and hopefully ultimately achieve LEED’s highest-level Platinum rating. For the art gallery, formalizing operational procedures was the largest task. “When you are the first on the path, it’s not always easy to travel, but you continually strive to reach your desired destination,” says Felice.

McMichael’s newly installed Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting system also makes it the first art institution in North America to use this type of lighting in gallery spaces. Replacing incandescent lamps with LED lamps has reduced the cost of electricity for lighting the galleries by at least 60 percent. Not only is there sustainable benefit to the environment and operating costs, but to the artwork as well, since LED lighting does not emit harmful UV radiation and heat that adds to the deterioration of paintings. Partners in this LED project were PowerStream, the second largest municipally-owned electricity distribution company in Ontario which delivers power to more than 325,000 customers residing or owning a business in communities located immediately north of Toronto and in Central Ontario, and OSRAM SYLVANIA, which sells lighting products for homes, businesses and vehicles, and is a leader in lighting solutions that feature innovative design and energy saving technology.

About LEED

The Canadian Green Building Council is the leading national industry organization advancing green building practices for livable communities. It represents more than 2,300 member organizations involved in the design, construction and operation of buildings. The Council owns the Canadian license for LEED and implements four LEED® Green Building Rating Systems nationally.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:

  1. sustainable site development
  2. water efficiency
  3. energy efficiency
  4. materials selection
  5. indoor environmental quality

The LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance 2009 rating system helps building owners and operators measure performance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts.


For further information or to receive images, contact:

Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210

[email protected]