Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) Investigative Services Branch building

To accommodate an increase in police staff and meet the requirements of police and forensic services, the Region of Waterloo built a new Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) Investigative Services Branch building, including a forensics laboratory and vehicle examination garage, meeting rooms, office space and ancillary support rooms. Located next to the existing headquarters facility in Cambridge, Ontario, the 4,148-square-metre building received LEED Gold certification for environmental sustainability.

The project used four strategies to achieve exceptional energy efficiency results: load avoidance, heat recovery, use of renewable energy sources and installation of high-efficiency equipment. Innovative features include energy recovery ventilators, a condensing boiler and domestic hot water heater, demand-controlled ventilation, extra building insulation, high-performance windows, efficient lighting design and indoor water conservation fixtures. Rainwater is collected in an underground cistern and used for non-potable requirements such as toilet flushing. Outdoor stormwater management features and native plant species encourage wildlife and eliminate the need for pesticides and irrigation. The region chose furniture and equipment to minimize off-gassing, and developed a green housekeeping program for the building that sets a standard for the future.


Environmental Economic Social
  • 161.5 tonne reduction in annual GHG emissions (compared to conventional building)
  • 52% reduction in energy consumption
  • 64% reduction in indoor water use
  • 84% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • 30% recycled content in building materials
  • $47,600 in annual energy savings (compared to conventional building)
  • 34% of building materials sourced and manufactured regionally, benefiting local economy
  • Capital costs offset by reduced utility costs and increased building longevity
  • Increased public safety and improved investigative capacity, including new forensic identification service facility
  • High indoor air quality and healthier environment for occupants and construction team
  • Enhanced working environment with natural daylight and manual window vents


  • It was difficult for the building designers to understand the specific government regulations for the forensic laboratory portion of the building, and changes had to be made to the building design once third-party specialists reviewed the plans. Expectations should have been clarified through closer collaboration in the design stage.
  • Heat recovery from the ventilation system was challenging to install in the laboratory, where it is critical to avoid cross-contamination between exhaust air and supply air. Separate ductwork was required, with filtration of both incoming and outgoing air.

Lessons learned

  • Use an integrated design process to ensure that the individual systems work together holistically, with all the disciplines at the table and information fully disseminated to all team members.
  • Target LEED certification rather than simply asking for a building that meets LEED standards, to ensure that goals are met and to verify results through third-party review.
  • Choose contractors who are experienced with LEED certification requirements, be clear about expectations and ensure that pictures are taken to document LEED compliance measures.

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Charles Allen
Manager, Facilities Engineering
Region of Waterloo, Ontario
T. 519-575-4050

Want to explore all GMF-funded projects? Check out the Projects Database for a complete overview of funded projects and get inspired by municipalities of all sizes, across Canada. 

Visit the projects database