evolv1, Canada’s First Zero-Carbon Building, Officially Opens Its Doors

evolv1, Canada’s First Zero-Carbon Building, Officially Opens Its Doors

Photo of people cutting a ribbon

EY, TextNow to collaborate with leading research & industry partners in sustainable living lab project

Joined by partners, tenants and more than 200 members of the community, Cora Group, officially opened the doors to evolv1, the first-ever zero carbon office building in Canada, right here in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park! The building’s tenants include globally leading professional services firm EYTextNow, a graduate of R+T Park’s Accelerator Centre and one of North America’s fastest growing tech companies, as well as, the evolvGREEN partnership comprised of Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Accelerator CentreWilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Waterloo.

“We are thrilled to officially open the doors of evolv1. Years in the imaging, planning, and making, we have set a new benchmark for green building design and construction,” says Adrian Conrad, COO of Cora Group. “Today, we celebrate and acknowledge the collaborative efforts of The Cora Group and our many partners and stakeholders who made this vision a reality.”


Located here in the heart of Waterloo’s Idea Quarter district, evolv1 is uniquely positioned to allow these leading organizations to easily tap into the talent, startups, and research capabilities of Canada’s most innovative university.

In that regard, it was also announced that evolv1 will be home to a new R+D Lab for Borealis AI, one of Canada’s leaders in artificial intelligence. Borealis AI is an RBC Institute for Research dedicated to achieving state-of-the-art machine learning advances. The new Borealis AI lab will be led by Professor Pascal Poupart with the aim of seizing opportunities to lead AI research and application in emerging areas.

“R+T Park has always been home to world-class leaders looking to tap into the research insights and talent emerging from the University,” says Mike Pereira, Manager of R+T Park. “Evolv1 is the perfect expression of the collaborative, forward-thinking approach our tenants take to building a better world, and we’re thrilled to have partnered with Cora Group to help make it a reality.”

evolv1 has already proven to be a leader in sustainability. Designed and engineered by Stantec, and targeting LEED Platinum status, the project generates more energy than it consumes through an innovative geothermal well system and over 2,000 solar panels. The 110,000 square foot building has been the recipient of prestigious awards, certifications, and accolades, including being the first building to earn the Zero Carbon Building – Design certification by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and capturing the first-ever Zero Carbon award, also from the CaGBC.

But the building was truly designed to put people first, offering spaces filled with natural light, a 3-story living wall to clean and filter air, creative collaboration spaces, a coffee shop, ample free parking, more than 20 EV charging stations, and close proximity to the Region’s new light rail transit system and extensive trails network.

“As TextNow grows, it is important we are in a space that reflects who we are as a company,” says Derek Ting, Co-Founder and CEO of TextNow. “evolv1 is not only a cool workspace, it is the perfect place for us to collaborate with other growing Waterloo companies that share our values of taking risks and building cool stuff together.  The icing on the cake: we can feel good about being in a building with a zero carbon footprint.”

The new evolvGREEN innovation space within that building, will house a community of local startups, government officials, academic institutions, and industry partners that are committed to supporting a sustainable economy and workplace wellness, as well as accelerate the growth of entrepreneurs looking to make waves in the clean tech space.

Plans are underway for evolv2, which will be built across the road from evolv1 next year. It will be slightly larger than its 110,000-square foot sibling, “and maybe will have a new twist,” Conrad said.

evolv1 FACTS

  • The living wall in the atrium is 40 feet tall and consists of approximately 4500 individual plants that will help clean the air in evolv1.
  • The solar array has over 2000 solar panels that were made in Sault Sainte Marie, Canada. The array displaces 110 tons of C02 annually, the equivalent amount produced by 130 cars a year.
  • evolv1 has 28 electric vehicle charging stations.
  • The building is designed to be net- positive. Giving more energy back to the grid than it takes by producing 108% of its energy needs on site
  • evolv1 incorporates Solar Wall technology, which uses solar radiation to preheat incoming fresh air to warm tenant spaces.
  • The building includes a 40,000 liter cistern for rain water harvesting
  • The new ION stop is 80 meters away from the building
  • The Geo-thermal well is 160 meters deep and pumps up to 800 gallons per minute
  • Laurier psychology researcher Manuel Riemer received nearly $1 million in funding to study sustainable behaviour and a culture of sustainability in evolv1
  • TD Bank Group (TD) provided a $1 million contribution to develop of the TD Sustainable Future Lab, Waterloo Region’s first dedicated CleanTech accelerator, in partnership with the Accelerator Centre.
Photo of people inside the evolv1 office