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The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre is the first project in Canada to be recognized by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as Living Building Challenge certified; billed as the most rigorous sustainability standard in the world. Designed by DIALOG for the Regional Municipality of York, the centre is LEED Platinum and ILFI Certified. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a building certification program, advocacy tool, and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. The world’s most rigorous standard for green buildings, a “Living Building” is free of toxic chemicals and runs on net-zero energy, generating the same amount of and sometimes more energy that it requires to operate. [1] 

Reclaimed Douglas Fir from a Toronto factory was used for the exterior cladding, while the interior is comprised of glulam columns and cross-laminated timber walls and ceilings, says Kevin Reese, the region’s program manager of forest conservation. Other natural materials, such as limestone for a hearth that links a classroom with a boardroom, were also used, he says. The centre replaces an outdated onsite administration building. 

Right from the start of the planning process the goal was to target both LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification by incorporating a host of environmental features, says Reese. An example is two rooftop solar panels that are designed to generate more electricity than the building consumes. Similarly, there is a target of net zero water consumption via a greywater roof recycling/harvest system that redirects rainwater and snowmelt into a storage tank. [2]


[1]     Canadian Architect. “DIALOG Shares Lessons of Designing Canada’s First ‘Living Building’.” Canadian Architect, July 18, 2018. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/dialog-shares-lessons-of-designing-canadas-first-living-building/.

[2]     O’Reilly, Dan. “Bill Fisch Education Centre Aims to Work like a Forest Ecosystem – Constructconnect.com.” Daily Commercial News, December 5, 2017. https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/projects/2017/05/bill-fisch-education-centre-aims-to-work-like-a-forest-ecosystem-1024221w.

Additional information

“The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre. Accessed May 20, 2021. https://www.cagbc.org/Archives/EN/CaGBC_Green_Building_Case_Studies/Bill_Fisch_Forest_Stewardship_and_Education_Centre.aspx.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” International Living Future Institute, August 29, 2018. https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-education-centre/.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” DIALOG. Accessed May 20, 2021. https://www.dialogdesign.ca/our-work/projects/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-centre/.

“Bill Fisch Education Centre Aims to Work like a Forest Ecosystem.” The Working Forest. Daily Commercial News. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.workingforest.com/bill-fisch-education-centre-aims-work-like-forest-ecosystem/.

Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship & Education Centre. YouTube. YouTube, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgDxyO5yc3g.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre (BFFSEC) by DIALOG.” Architizer, March 16, 2016. https://architizer.com/projects/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-centre-bffsec/.

Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre – Doors Open Ontario. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca/en/index.php/whitchurch-stouffville/hollidge-tract–york-regional-forest-headquarters.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Canadian Wood Council, n.d. https://www.cwc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Bill_Fisch_Ontario_WoodWorks_Case-Study_proof.pdf.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” FSC Canada. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://ca.fsc.org/fr-ca/marketplace/green-building-design/case-studies/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-centre.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Maipei. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.mapei.com/sg/en/projects/detail/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-centre-7220.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Whitchurch-Stouffville. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://whitchurch-stouffville.cdncompanies.com/other/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-centre-whitchurc/.

“Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Wood Design & Building. About the Author / Dovetail. Accessed May 25, 2021. http://www.wooddesignandbuilding.com/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-education-centre/.

“Bill Fisch Stewardship & Education Centre: DIALOG.” Rethinking The Future Awards, October 13, 2016. https://awards.re-thinkingthefuture.com/institutional/bill-fisch-stewardship-education-centre-dialog/.

Eren, Sunny. “Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre.” Local Guides Connect, May 16, 2019. https://www.localguidesconnect.com/t5/General-Discussion/Bill-Fisch-Forest-Stewardship-and-Education-Centre/td-p/1755258.

Evoke DIALOG | Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre | York Region, ON. YouTube. YouTube, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhgQ3RPBefk.

“Forest Stewardship Council Recognizes Forest Champions.” FSC United States. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://us.fsc.org/en-us/get-involved/fsc-leadership-awards/2017-leadership-award-winners.

Haeccity Studio Architecture. Accessed May 25, 2021. https://www.haeccity.com/.

Johnston, Stephanie. “Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Center.” Concrete Construction, October 11, 2017. https://www.concreteconstruction.net/projects/infrastructure/bill-fisch-forest-stewardship-and-education-center_o.

Lam, Elsa. “York Region and DIALOG Unveil Ontario’s First Living Building Challenge Facility.” Canadian Architect, October 20, 2015. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/york-region-and-dialog-unveil-ontarios-first-living-building-challenge-facility/.

“The Living Building Challenge: York Region Project Aims High.” Partners in Project Green, October 30, 2015. https://partnersinprojectgreen.com/news/the-living-building-challenge-york-region-project-aims-high/.

“New Bill Fisch Forest Centre Is Really Green.” YorkRegion.com. Stouffville Sun-Tribune, September 30, 2015. https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/5938088-new-bill-fisch-forest-centre-is-really-green/.

“News.” Canadian Architect, September 2018.

“York Region Home to Canada’s First Certified ‘Living Building’.” Building, July 13, 2018. https://building.ca/york-region-home-to-canadas-first-certified-living-building/.

Project Title: Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre
Artists:  DIALOG
Place: York, ON

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