June 3, 2020

Edmonton Convention Centre begins harnessing its own renewable energy

Environment Week marks the completion of the Edmonton Convention Centre atrium revitalization project.

With its sloping glass atrium built into the banks of the North Saskatchewan River Valley, the Edmonton Convention Centre is an iconic part of Edmonton’s downtown skyline. Now, Edmontonians have something new to marvel at with the completion of the atrium revitalization, a project spearheaded by the City of Edmonton that sees Canada’s largest building-integrated photovoltaic array installed on our atrium roof.

All 696 glass panels on the venue’s atrium have been replaced, with photovoltaic panels replacing approximately 50 per cent of the existing glass.


With an average of 2,344 hours and 325 days of bright sunshine a year, Edmonton is the second sunniest city in Canada. That’s why the south-facing slope of our atrium is the ideal structure to harness the sun’s powerful energy.

The completed installation means we are now producing our own clean, renewable energy right on our roof—like the cherry on top of an already sustainable building. In fact, approximately 200 megawatt hours of electricity are anticipated to be generated by the installation each year, with a reduction of nearly 150,000 kg of greenhouse gas emissions.

“With the shear size of our building, it should be no surprise that the largest percentage of our greenhouse gas footprint comes from the procurement of energy—nearly 70% of our total emissions,” said Melissa Radu, Sustainability Manager, Edmonton Convention Centre & Edmonton EXPO Centre. “Generating renewable electricity onsite, while also becoming more energy efficient, is one of the best ways to make real progress towards slashing emissions.”

The Edmonton Convention Centre’s solar installation complements the venue’s impressive sustainability program that includes the Responsible Meetings Program and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. As we see a global shift towards sustainable business planning, its also a huge step towards positioning the venue as an attractive destination for even more national and international business.

The new photovoltaic panels allow the sun to pass into the atrium brighter than before.


“Across the world, event organizers are asking to host their events in cities and venues that can showcase this type of environmental accountability,” said Radu. “Our sustainability program and solar roof now set us apart as the ideal location for organizers and businesses who also wish to reduce the environmental footprint of their events.”

Within the installation’s 696 glass panels, project architect DIALOG has left behind a powerful message about the city’s commitment to sustainability and the centre’s home in Edmonton’s river valley. Imprinted in Morse Code is an excerpt from the poem Gifts of a River by former Edmonton Poet Laureate E.D Blodgett. The artistic installation can be best viewed from the south side of the river.

The view of the Edmonton Convention Centre’s new atrium installation from across the river valley.

Translated to English, the Morse Code poem reads:

beginnings just appear
so like a drowsy eye

suddenly awake
where a river wells up

uncoiled from the ice
where snug behind the land

it lay dreaming at
our feet in quiet sleep


Read more:

Rehabbing and retrofitting buildings generates energy, conserves money in Edmonton.

Let the sun shine down: Six things to know about solar at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

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