EvolvGreen’s collaborative workspace brings clean, sustainable development to the business world

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Photo by Yitian Cai

Waterloo Region’s work force and growing economic infrastructure was recently introduced to a new clean economy work centre in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park.

EvolvGreen had its grand opening event on Friday, Feb. 1, unveiling the project which has been in the works since Evolv1, Canada’s first ever zero-carbon building.

Evolv1 was designed specifically to innovate modern work environment standards with a ecologically-friendly, tech-savvy layout and is home to a wide variety of tenants, including TextNow and EY. Its construction began in April of 2017 and was opened for use in November of 2018.

“EvolvGreen was part of the original vision for the Evolv1 project. The idea was to create a sort of hub for clean economy development within Waterloo Region,” said Tova Davidson, executive director at Sustainable Waterloo Region.

“So not only is the building an example of ‘how do we transition to sort of a different way of thinking about what business can do?’, but also the EvolvGreen centre is intended to be a collaboration that brings together partners, to be able to build a cleaner economy in Waterloo Region and to leverage some of the economic benefits.”

“It was an opportunity to allow people to see what’s happening there, so what start-ups are there, there were some [demonstrations] of the work that they’re doing — and they’re all clean-tech start-ups, as well as tours of the space,” Davidson said.

Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR), an organization focused on supporting other local organizations with their sustainability, economically and environmentally, was the operationalizing organization for this project. They worked to convene several partners for collaboration, including the Accelerator Centre, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Together we are all co-located [in EvolvGreen] for the purpose of using all of the programs that we offer and accelerating and pushing forward more clean economy development in Waterloo Region,” Davidson said.

EvolvGreen is the main hub within the Evolv1 building, taking up the majority of the ground floor, which has approximately 14,000 square-feet of space for various commercial tenants to occupy.

“It’s where SWR has their offices, the Accelerator Centre is hosting the TD Sustainable Futures Lab, the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) is there … as well as the Wilfrid Laurier University Viessmann Centre [for Engagement and Research in Sustainability],” Davidson said.

At the grand opening event, EvolvGreen was introduced to Mayor of Waterloo, Dave Jaworksy, alongside several elected officials within the region. The organizers and partners also took the time to thank all of their funders, some of which were represented, as well as unveiling EvolvGreen’s sponsorship wall, dedicated to their generous support.

“It was an opportunity to allow people to see what’s happening there, so what start-ups are there, there were some [demonstrations] of the work that they’re doing — and they’re all clean-tech start-ups, as well as tours of the space,” Davidson said.

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