Niagara-on-the-Lake is a historic town in southern Ontario, Canada, sitting proudly on the shores of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Niagara River. 

The region’s unusually rich soil allowed for acres and acres of vineyards to take shape, enabling the local wineries to produce some distinctly unique signature wines, known both in the country and across the world.

Photo credit: Steve Brown, Flickr ©

Among the region’s top wineries is another source of local pride - the Stratus Vineyards facility, the world’s first winery and Canada’s first building to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, standing as evidence of the role steel can play in the environmentally conscious construction industry of tomorrow.   

Built on strong steel produced at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton, the 1,870m2 (22,000 sq. ft.) facility was recognised by the Canada Green Building Council shortly after its opening in 2005. 

The winemaking area and barrel cellar were built in a pre-engineered Flex-Sys steel building system designed and fabricated by Behlen Industries, ArcelorMittal’s long-time partner. A smaller glass and site-framed steel retail area is attached. 

Hot dipped galvanised steel, supplied entirely by the Dofasco unit, was used throughout the main structure framing to avoid the use of paint and accommodate the humid atmosphere. The exterior cladding is Behlen’s AWR profile 46mm (.0179”) unpainted Galvalume™ covered with cedar siding to create a ‘barrel feel’, and an energy saving thermal roof system incorporates a AWR profile 61mm (.0239”) unpainted Galvalume Plus™ standing seam roof.

When discussing the building’s uniqueness, Les Andrew, the architect that designed the complex, points out the 18-tonne dual pressure vessel hoist in the barrel cellar used to facilitate blending wines. “Steel’s strength allows us to do that and to have 28-metre (92-ft) clear spans in the production area,” Les said.

What is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognised green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

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