Home » Industry » A Leading Canadian Engineering Practice Helps Forward Thinking Clients Drive Green Solutions

Employee-owned, solution-oriented, and ambitious, Morrison Hershfield has been in engineering communities for over 75 years. Sustainability, community resilience, innovative technology, and highly collaborative, forward-thinking clients are the driving force behind their many successful projects.

Start with green thinking

Morrison Hershfield believes that creative green design at the outset of a project is good for the environment and can create significant operational efficiencies for owners and operators. Edmonton Transit Service’s (ETS) Centennial Garage, for example, is a LEED Silver-certified state-of-the-art transit facility that delivered on ambitious energy efficiency goals, showcasing the firm’s sustainable design capabilities and resulting in streamlined operations and energy savings for their client.

The energy-efficient building envelope minimizes thermal loss and capitalizes on alternate power sources, such as a solar wall to preheat make-up air. The design and engineering features lean heavily on the use of natural light and high-tech systems, which has led to increased productivity and a reduction in reported absenteeism. In short, employees want to work here.

Designing with the community in mind

It’s good business to support the communities in which organizations, such as transit providers, operate. Transit facilities are industrial in nature, operate 24/7 and occupy significant acreage. Due to their potential impact on surrounding communities and the environment, early and active community engagement is needed to address concerns related to new transit facility infrastructure investments.

Morrison Hershfield worked with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on the design and build of the McNicoll Bus Garage. This facility was built to Toronto Green Standard requirements and has set a benchmark for future TTC facilities. The primary goals of the project were to develop a community-sensitive and energy-efficient design. Community input impacted the facility’s striking design and site landscaping and contributed to alleviating additional concerns like traffic, air quality, noise, and vibration.

An underground stormwater retention system was built on-site to retain up to three million litres of water, reducing the strain on local municipal infrastructure. The building boasts the largest green roof in Toronto, and the low-maintenance landscaping includes over 350 planted trees and a preserved, historically significant Vimy Oak. The facility’s strategic location reduces the distance buses travel for maintenance and storage, resulting in operational efficiencies and reduced emissions.

The future of transportation is now

Governments and transit authorities across Canada are committed to zero-emission strategies and the electrification of bus fleets. The Edmonton Transit Service’s 40 electric buses were one of the largest purchases of electric buses in Canada. Electrification of our transportation system will reap significant benefits. Each traditional bus replaced with an electric bus produces 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and reduces maintenance costs by 30 percent.

To accommodate the future of public transit, Morrison Hershfield worked with ETS to develop innovative in-depot overhead charging stations, the largest of its kind in Canada. These stations provide a quicker charge, which, combined with the buses’ larger charge storage capacity, means customers can enjoy a better experience with fewer stops to recharge.

The move to the electrification of transportation fleets is an ever-present reality in the world of public transportation — with forward-thinking solutions and expert advice, the transition from diesel to electric is an attainable and realistic next step for transportation systems in Canada.

With forward-thinking solutions and expert advice, the transition from diesel to electric is an attainable and realistic next step for transportation systems in Canada.

As a leader in the transportation industry, Morrison Hershfield seeks to advance public transportation. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn, connect and share ideas with other transit industry professionals during Morrison Hershfield’s interactive Transit Facilities Webinar series.

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